“Kekomike” and “Balliam Baliao”- This is the songs on the flip side of Chum Kem’s Italian and French language 45 EP, released in 1962 on the French Barclay label. It is a curious album – a Cambodian singer, singing in (mostly) Italian, recorded and released by a French production company.
Students of Cambodian oldies know something about the amazing life of Chum Kem. After his years spent in Europe, he would return to Cambodia and popularize the new American “twist” dance that was sweeping across the western world. Years after rising to fame, he was imprisoned together with members of the royal family for an alleged plot to overthrow the Lon Nol government. It seems that he was still in prison when the government fell to the Khmer Rouge in April of 1975.