The Psychedelic Surf Rock Sound that Inspired "Cambodian Rock Band"

Beth Fhaner
 | Mar 02, 2018
Dengue Fever

​Dengue Fever.

Playwright Lauren Yee found herself drawn into the Cambodian music scene when she participated in SCR’s CrossRoads play-commissioning program a few years ago. In an earlier interview with SCR, Yee noted that that the Cambodian music scene was her main source of inspiration for writing Cambodian Rock Band and that the band Dengue Fever was her gateway to Cambodia’s wild and vibrant musical past. While Yee was attending graduate school in San Diego, she attended a music festival and it was there that she first heard Dengue Fever’s music—what she describes as psychedelic surf rock, and she was hooked.

“It felt fresh, electric, but also, so very familiar. I immediately went home to delve into their catalog and discovered the actual Cambodian oldies of the ’60s and ’70s their music draws inspiration from,” Yee recalls.

“And with this music, I learned not only about Cambodia’s incredible music scene, but also the tragic fate of so many of those musicians once Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge took over the country for four terrifying years,” she explained.

The result of Yee’s immersion into the Cambodian music scene culminated in her thrilling new play, Cambodian Rock Band, which has been described as part comedy, part mystery and part rock concert. Don’t miss the world premiere on the Julianne Argyros Stage from March 4-25.

For more information on Cambodia’s psychedelic rock scene, check out this South China Morning Post article.

Listen to the Spotify playlist here.

Learn more about Cambodian Rock Band and buy tickets.