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Master Kong Nay, the “Ray Charles of Cambodia,” passed away

He was featured on ‘Time to Rise’ with VannDa

LiFTED | Marcus Aurelius | 4 Jul 2024

On June 28, Master Kong Nay passed away in his home in Cambodia in Doung Village, Svay Tong Commune, Kampong Trach District at the age of 80. The legendary musician was called the “Ray Charles of Cambodia” because he was a master Bluesman and played the traditional long-necked chapei dang veng. Master Kong Nay was revered for his skills and also the fact that he was one of the few masters who survived the Khmer Rouge era.


While Master Kong Nay was well-respected in his chrieng chapei genre, he became a household name in 2021 when he teamed up with local rapper VannDa for ‘Time to Rise,’ which got one million views in 24 hours, as well as set the record for being the most-watched Cambodian video of all time, now with more than 122 million views on YouTube. ‘Time to Rise’ has been so huge that it’s become popular in America, Australia, Korea, Malaysia, Laos, and Thailand.

Two years ago, VannDa and Baramey Productions put together a fundraiser for Master Kong Nay to raise money so that he would be comfortable during the rest of his life while he faced high blood pressure, lung problems, diabetes, and declining health. RIP to Master Kong Nay and condolences to any of his friends and family members.