In 1996, the Parallel World label released the LP “Cambodian Rocks”, a collection of Cambodian psych and garage music from the 60s and early 70s (probably), compiled by an American tourist named Paul Wheeler from some cassettes he bought in Phnom Penh.
No information on the songs were provided, no artist names, no song titles, and no recording dates. Four years later, Parallel World reissued a compilation on CD with a few extra tracks, but still without any identifying information. Unfortunately, it is more than likely that many of the featured musicians, showing a definite Western influence in their music, were murdered by the Khmer Rouge regime which took power in 1975.
Ros Serey Sothea (1948 – 1977) was a famous Cambodian singer during the nation’s thriving cultural renaissance. She sang from a variety of genres but romantic ballads emerged as her most popular works. Despite a rather short career she is credited with producing hundreds of songs and even starring in a few movies. Details of her life and fate during the Khmer Rouge is relatively unknown but it is generally accepted she did not survive.
This song was later recognized as “I’m Sixteen” attributed to Ros Sereysothea.