Master Kong Nay Awarded Arts and Culture Prize of the Fukuoka Prize

Mr. Kong Nay, Master of Chapei Dang Veng (a long-necked, stringed instrument) of Cambodia, has been selected as an awardee of the Fukuoka Prize 2017 of Arts and Culture.

Japanese Ambassador to Cambodia H.E. Hidehisa Horinouchi yesterday sent a congratulatory to Master Kong Nay, saying that his receiving of this award will promote the Asian people's understanding of Chapei Dang Veng, and its long tradition.

This year during the KIZUNA Festival, a Japan-Cambodia cultural exchange event, I had the chance to see the performance of Chapei Dang Veng for the first time. Its rhythmical sound and interesting lyrics were welcomed by all the audience regardless of nationality. I was touched with the profoundness of the lyrics and I realised its potential to flourish again in the future, said H.E. Ambassador.

According to H.E. Hidehisa Horinouchi, the prize was established in 1990 by Fukuoka City of Japan, which has been very keen to promote cultural exchanges with Asian countries, including Cambodia. The prize is awarded to individuals in Asia, who have outstanding achievements in the area of academy, arts and culture, including the late Mr. Cheng Phon, former Minister of Culture and Fine Arts and profound dramatist, awarded in 1997, and Mr. Ang Choulean, leading ethnologist and scholar in Khmer studies, awarded in 2011.

Born in 1944 in a small village in Kampot province, Master Kong Nay lost his eyesight at the age of four due to smallpox. When he was 13 years old, he began to learn how to play the Chapei under his uncle's tuition, which led him to become a musician. He is one of few remaining heirs to the tradition of Chapei musical performance, handing on this legacy to a new generation.

Chapei Dang Veng was inscribed on the UNESCO's'List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding on Nov. 30, 2016. Its repertoire includes traditional poems, fork tales and Buddhist stories. The performances are often comic in nature with the lyrics aiming to amuse the audience.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press