3 January 2010

Amazing Musical Kites

The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts announces that the 3rd Cambodia International Kite Festival will be held in early January to celebrate the 2010 Victory Day (a day to commemorate the fall of the Pol Pot regime).

On 6th and 7th January, local kite flyers from all of Cambodia will flock to the southwest province of Koh Kong with contestants from PR China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, France, Italy and Sweden to compete in the kite flying games.

Cambodia is no stranger to the medal podium of kite flying competitions. In 2007 and 2008 Cambodia won the 2nd runner up in the Chinese and Indian competitions. In 2009 the Kingdom proudly took the championship.

Kite flying is a traditional sport in Cambodia to play in dry season with best wind after rice harvest (in January).

Tradtional Klèng Ek

Among all Khmer kites, Klèng ek (the musical kite) is the most distinctive. Once used in religious ceremonies, the paper or silk made klèng ek is equipped with a bow made from rattan, bamboo or palm leaf which vibrates in the wind, it can produce a distinctive musical sound of four to five different notes.

Kite flying culture was brought down by the Khmer Rouge but in recent years the Royal Government has been working hard to revive it. To learn more about the Khmer kite history and renaissance, the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and the Drachen Foundation (USA) have informative publications which may be a good start, please check out the hyperlinks at the end of this blog entry.

Cambodia Post has joined the revival effort as well. In 2001 a set of 5 stamps was released to promote kite flying culture, it is an exciting issue which most collectors miss the significance. Five of the many kinds of traditional Khmer kites are featured:
  • 300r - khleng chak (tatoo kite)
  • 500r - khleng kanton (pouch kite)
  • 1000r - khleng phnong (i.e. kleng ek, musical kite)
  • 1500r - khleng kaun morn (chicken kite)
  • 3000r - khleng me ambao (butterfly kite)

Next time when you are in Phnom Penh, do visit the National Kite Museum within the National Cultural Centre and greet the majestic Khmer kites.
Please click here for information.

Extent reading:
Ben Ruhe, An Expanding Asia Kit Scene Bringing Kites Back to Cambodia, Kite Journal Issue 7, the Drachen Foundation, 2001.

Sim Sarak and Cheang Yarin, Khmer Kites, Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, 2002.

1 comment:

  1. sound beutifule amazing !! where can i buy one ?