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performance at Orchestra Hall
Light From Heaven performing at Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2003
Saturday, June 16th, 2007 9:31 AM CDT

Bun Loeung (1929 - 2007)

It is with great sorrow we relate the passing of our beloved Master
Cambodian Musician, teacher and friend, Bun Loeung.

He died on Thursday night, May 24th from complications after undergoing open heart surgery.

His funeral took place Saturday, June 2nd at Christ Lutheran Church
on Capitol Hill, 105 University Ave W, St Paul.

Bun Loeung was born in 1929 in Battambang, Cambodia. He had been a professional musician from the age of 14, primarily self-taught. He rose from the streets of Battambang to become one of Cambodia's most famous musicians, leading the Lakaoun Bassac theater for 25 years, until the take-over of the Khmer Rouge.

He escaped with his family to Thailand in 1979, and came to St Paul in 1981. He performed all over the United States and the world as an
incredibly versatile musician, playing all instruments and in every
conceivable style.

In 2006 he was awarded a Bush Foundation Fellowship to start a Cambodian traditional music school and continue work on recordings. The teachers at the school and the students plan to continue his legacy based on the hundreds of pieces he has transmitted orally over the years to his fellow performing musicians. His recordings of Lakaoun Bassac music will be released postumously.

Bun Loeung is survived by his wife, Sophea Tep; his daughters Sarin Bun (Theoun Moen) and Saroom Bun, his son Sarath Bun, and all his devoted students and fellow musicians. Our hearts are sore that he has left us so soon.
Saturday, April 15th, 2006 3:01 PM CDT

Bun Loeung wins pretigious fellowship.

Rak-smey Khemera artistic leader Bun Loeung has been awarded a Bush Foundation Folk Arts Fellowship 2006 to continue his work in the preservation of traditional Cambodian music through recording, teaching, arranging and publishing.
The prestigious Bush Foundation Fellowship is awarded to artists who demonstrate
Thursday, July 29th, 2004 12:55 PM CDT
From the Asian-American Times, March 21, 2003:

Headline: Rak-smey Khemera: Local Cambodian group wins "Best Ethnic/World Album" in Hollywood.

Hollywood, Calif (March 1, 2003) - The Twin Cities classical Cambodian group Rak-smey Khemera (Light From Heaven Falls On the Cambodian People) has won the Just Plain Folks Music Awards "Best Ethnic/World Album" for their CD "Light From Heaven".

After receiving 102,000 songs and 7880 albums for the 2002 Awards, the nomination process alone took over 300 judges, 15 months and eight rounds of screening - in turn causing the awards to be carried over into 2003. After the nominations were announced in November, the final 320 judges screened the songs and albums and voted on their five favorites.

Rak-smey Khemera is a unique multicultural group featuring classical musicians from both Eastern and Western traditions. They have been performing and touring throughout the United States since 1986, bringing traditional Cambodian music to Cambodian and Western audiences alike.


Just Plain Folks ( is a community of over 20,000 artists with the charter to warmly enbrace ALL genres of music and everyone who creates, facilitates and consumes music around the world; providing a networking environment of inclusion and cooperation between members for the benefit of the groups and individuals involved. In the final round the 320 judges represented music fans, musician and songwriter peers, a volunteer staff, a mentor staff, and a wide variety of music industry professionals including A&R, publishers, publicists, producers, engineers, attorneys, managers, journalists, manufacturers and a host of others.

Rak-smey Khemera Light From Heaven is available on

Past venues:

Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Southern Theater, Minneapolis, Minnesota
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Winona State University, Winona, Minnesota
Kent State University, Ohio

Various private Cambodian ceremonies across the U.S. such as weddings, funerals, Cambodian New Year celebration, house-blessings and exorcisms.

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