Tro Khmer

Toul Tompong, Phnom Penh

Toul Tompong, Phnom Penh

Just after 6AM on Khmer New Year holiday and there is barely a soul on the street. As I walked past an old hole-in-the-wall workshop I heard the beautiful sound of the Tro Khmer. I stepped back and looked in and the gentleman above smiled while I listened.

Traditional Khmer instruments are notoriously difficult to play, and so something must have been lost in translation when I asked how long had he been playing. “One month,” he said.

As is the way, it was dark in there, I had the wrong lens on the camera and I didn’t want to bother him by changing it. So the photo is not what I hoped it might be.

A special moment nevertheless as I’ve never heard anyone playing the instrument purely for pleasure rather than at a festival or as a busker on the street.

You can hear the Tro Khmer Here


3 thoughts on “Tro Khmer

  1. Are his fingers creating the different tones? I don’t think I saw any strings; this reminds me of a cross between a sitar and a violin. Would that I could play an instrument like that in only one month! Quite beautiful.

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