Flower Dance (ផ្ការាំ) is a Cambodian folk song about the movement of the flowers floating in a lake. Vocals are performed by composer, singer, and musician Yorn Young. The music video, crafted with young viewers in mind, was created by Andrew Benincasa, who mixed his visual style with Cambodia’s history of shadow puppetry.
This modern take on the tale was produced by Elena Moon Park and Rob Friedman for Unhurried Journey, “an album of songs for all ages that celebrates the beauty of taking our time to appreciate every moment of our individual and collective journeys.” In an email with TKSST, Park explains:
“This is a Cambodian folk song that I re-imagined & arranged with an added section in English. I learned it from my friend Yorn Young, a vocalist who I met through the OneBeat global music diplomacy program that my nonprofit, Bang on a Can’s Found Sound Nation, leads. I was participating in a second exchange program with Yorn in Singapore when he shared this song with me. I was immediately drawn to the catchiness and joy of the song, and felt that it would fit so well with a folky, fiddling style.
“I also love the topic of the song, how flowers grow and actually dance, and how we can dance along, learning from them along the way. On the site, Yorn teaches some Cambodian hand motions for dancing along to the song, and those motions celebrate a cycle of life: growing, blooming, falling. I love that Andrew’s joyous video hints at a cycle as well.”
The collection of songs on the album, “with influences ranging from Mexico to Indonesia to [Park’s] own diverse roots,” weaves together an unfinished story of a journey. There are also activities that go with each song.
Previously from Park and team on TKSST: Diu Diu Deng, a Taiwanese folk song animated.
Previously from Benincasa for Harvard’s Fundamentals of Neuroscience open online course: Odyssey of the Ear, an animated tale of sound.