Cambodian New Year Festival 2009

Cambodian New Year Festival 2009 – Silicon Valley Bay Area, Northern California

New Year celebration is the biggest and most significant event for Cambodian community and Cambodian society everywhere. Most importantly, the celebration of “Khmer New Year” is a symbol to remind us of our culture and heritage. The Cambodian New Year Festival showcases the richness of Cambodian life in our community. The treasured folk culture and history of Cambodia delight the senses in colorful display of art, fashion, music, and dance. The cultural diversity in the Bay Area makes it one of the best places to live in the world. Cambodian-Americans are certainly significant pieces of that cultural tapestry. The preservation of the Cambodian culture is, therefore, vital. It is paramount not only to the collective community, but also to the Cambodian community, and the individual Cambodians themselves.

Mr. Sovandy Hang (MC): Born in Cambodia, Sovandy was aised in the East Bay. A volunteer with the Youth Cultural Dance Program working with at-risk youth and low income family in Oakland area since 1996 and he has been involved in many community cultural events.
Mrs. Thana Robertson (MC): Growing up in San Jose and having witnessed the many changes in the Cambodian community. As a married woman with a 7 year-old daughter, I find that it is important to pass the Cambodian culture and the wonderful and rich customs of our people to her, and that is why I remain active in the community.

Kara UyDavy Chea

Miss. Davy Chea
: has been involved in community organizations and events for many years, earning her the “CARA Award” for her dedication and outstanding contribution to the communit. Ccurrently employed as Billing Representative at a law fi rm in Palo Alto. Passionate about the heritage and tradition of her culture, Davy is also a member of the San Jose Cambodian Dance Troupe.
Miss. Kara Uy: Born in Cambodia and currently resides in San Jose. One of her greatest attributes is her dedication to the community. For almost a decade, she has been a Domestic Violence Family Advocate at Asian American’s for Community Involvement. She is an active volunteer to organizations that believe in positive change, including acting as a board of director for Santa Clara County Cambodian Women’s Association. In the fall of 2009, Kara will begin pursuing a doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology.

Mr. Kevlin So: born in Khum Svaypor, Srok Sangker, Batt ambang Province, Cambodia. He was National Police Inspector until the fall of Phnom Penh in April 1975 when the Khmer Rouge took over the country. He is presently a tech specialist at Rockwell Collins. Mr. So has been involved with the Khmer New Year committ ee for many years.

Chuck Reed
 is the 64th Mayor of San José, California. Elected on November 7, 2006. Chuck is committed to improving the quality of life in the City, boosting the public’s trust in local government, and fixing the City’s structural budget deficit. Chuck and his wife, Paula, have been married for over 35 years. Paula manages a medical clinic specializing in the care of cancer patients. .

Robam Tihvea Prapey (Good Day Dance):
A group of young children dance while the lyrics speak of a holiday celebration honoring the good days of Cambodia. This is part of the classical dance repertoire. Performed by: Jocelyn Tran, Catherine Boun, Nyah Ea, Vida Boun, Mollie Boun, Aimee Boun, Erica Seu, and Sara Boun.

Robam Buong Suong (Payer Dance):
This dance is performed to pay respects to the heavenly deities when there is drought, poor harvest season, war or social unrest in the nation. Hand movements and footsteps are in a form to induce rain for, fertility to the land, peace and prosperity for the whole kingdom. Historically, it was a part of sacred ritual intended to please the ancient gods and their earthly representatives, the ancient kings. In modern times, it is more a ceremonial in nature like welcoming foreign dignitaries during their visits. Performed by: Lily Ngar, Jenny Vann, Carolyn Keo, Jessica Boaz, Sam Cheng, Davy Chea, Jennifer Tran, Cheng Sim, Erica Seu, and Savary Dean

Khmer Singing Competition
This year’s talent contest program is organized by Miss Kara Uy. “1963, a young Cambodian woman won a singing contest in her village, an event that would propel her into stardom and into the everlasting memory of an entire people…” Will we discover another Ros Serey Sothear during this competition? Although a winner will be selected, this competition is mainly a channel for contestants to share their passion for music and singing with family, friends, and community. Host: Sampeth Khieu. Contestant Show Judges: Mrs. Tep, Sivind, Mrs. Vinita Kylin, Mr. Kas Thon. Score Collector/Keeper: Chanthoeun To

Cambodian Language School
The Cambodian School is a community group that is run by a team of Cambodian teachers, parents, and volunteers. This School is dedicated to providing services that bridge the intergenerational gap between Cambodian parents and children of recent refugee/ immigrant families. Our projects are designed to assist them to overcome their language and cultural barriers and to strengthen their families.

Fusion Dance
A dance fusion combining modern movements of Japanese, Cambodian, and Indian. Performed by: Charya Burt and company

Robam Kuos Ang Reh – Pestle Dance: This folk dance represents the happy time of Cambodian peasants after the harvest season. It is a tradition that right after harvest time peasants typically celebrate to thank the heaven for giving them their crops. The celebration is also to have fun after the hard work. Wood pestles are used to manually extract rice. For this dance, two long wood pestles are clapped together as the dance instruments. They fi rst begin with the folk song describing the happiness of being born as Cambodian peasants. Performed by: Sam Cheng, Lily Ngar, Jennifer Tran, Aimee Boun, Erica Seu, Cheng Sim, Jocelyn Tran, Jenny Vann, Jeremy Sabate, Rocky Taporco, Michael Gambol, Sambo Ouch

Robam Kuos Tra-Lauk – Coconut Shell Dance:
The coconut dance is a routine that Cambodian people traditionally perform after working hard in the fi elds and on occasions such as New Year and sometimes at weddings. This dance, originally from Svay Rieng province, stages a ritual harvest celebration, when all the rice paddies are cut. It is highly rhythmical and punctuated with shouts and the rapping of coconuts.

Polynesian Dance
This performance is derived from dance movements of the Polynesian islands called Kingdom of Otea. This type of dance is the most spectacular of all Polynesian dances, and includes basic elements of a famous dance called Hakka. The girls from the San Jose Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe and their newest members want to share this special dance which refl ects the multi-culture in the valley. Performed by: Lily Ngar, Carolyn Keo, Amber Scott , Jennifer Tran, Jocelyn Tran, Cheng Sim, Eric Seu, Aimee Boun, Sam Cheng, Jenny Vann, Michael Gambol, Rocky Taporco, Jeremy Sabate, Cheng Bun

Social Dance
Social Dance accompanied by Miss Molyna and Mr. Sampeth Khieu with Starland Band


Based on the U.S. Census 2000, Cambodian-American population in the Bay Area – San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose – totaled approximately 10,500, but mostly concentrated in Oakland and San Jose. Among those in the region celebrating Cambodian New Year Festival 2008 are doctors, lawyers, engineers, college professors, teachers, small business owners, CEO/president of corporation, and military officers. This represents a small but integral part of society. Many contribute their talents and their times to organize and coordinate during event planning and preparation. Others contribute financial by taking part as event sponsors. This year the San Jose Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe will be collaborating with Khmer Angkor Dance Troupe from Oakland to put a full schedule performance during the evening program. And for the first time, the evening entertainment will include traditional Cambodian ensembles from Angkor era apparel to modern fashion.