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02 novembre 2007

DPA supports Real World in Cambodia

Cambodia - DPA Microphones has donated a pair of 4091 omnidirectional instrument mics to Studio CLA in Phnom Penh. The studio, set up by US producer Scot Stafford in conjunction with the Cambodian Living Arts project, documents and records the repertoire and skills of Cambodia's master musicians for the next generation of musicians. The project is supported by Peter Gabriel's Real World organisation, which arranged the donation of audio equipment as well as sending experienced recording technicians to assist on key projects.

Real World became involved last year when Gabriel's studio and monitor engineer Richard Chappell visited Cambodia and met Kong Nay, one of Cambodia's few surviving master musicians. Kong Nay subsequently performed at last summer's WOMAD festival, followed by a UK tour organised, booked, promoted and engineered by Chappell to raise funds for the musicians' cause.

Chappell then returned to Cambodia to deliver the mics and other equipment to the studio. They were put to work recording music for a rock opera, Where Elephants Weep, which combines traditional Khmer music with Western styles to create the first-known contemporary Cambodian opera. The recordings are for a CD to support the opera when it opens in Phnom Penh next year.

The score, by Russian-trained Cambodian composer Sophy Him and co-producer Scot Stafford, draws on classical western, ancient Cambodian, and contemporary popular American music. Sophy Him worked together with an instrument designer to 'reinvent' some traditional Cambodian instruments, called a Gong thom chromatique and Roneat aik chromatique, which have both Cambodian and Western scales.

"These are twice the size of normal Cambodian instruments so it was great to have the DPA omnis, as they gave us a much larger pickup area due to their sensitivity," says Chappell. "We used them as the main recording mics for both instruments, the optimum position being as left and right overheads. The sound of the capsules is very open and uncoloured; a great way of representing something which has such a unique sound. When it came to recording the kick drum, I found that a single 4091 was a great addition. Sophy was very excited with the representation of his instruments, and with the help of DPA Microphones, Studio CLA is being brought right up to date."

Jim Evans

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