Ho Chhim Chan
Cambodian pin peat
In Cambodian culture, a complicated and classical form of music named pin peat accompanies classical dance, masked dance, shadow plays, and Buddhist ceremonies. In the aftermath of the war that engulfed Cambodia in the 1970s, these arts have become key elements in helping survivors to find beauty and identity and to cope with their struggles, especially in this country. Ho Chhim Chan, who began his musical career playing the kong thom (gong) in his village in Cambodia, is the only master of the sralai, a quadruple-reed oboe, living in California, and he is an expert on several other instruments essential to pin peat.
In 2002, Ho was a master artist in ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program with apprentice Sokheartha Chimm. Their apprenticeship focused on improving Sokheartha’s skills so that they might continue to play pin peat together to accompany classical Cambodian dance and other performance arts essential to the Cambodian communities of California.