Kak Channthy Memorial Fund

$26,511 of $30,000 goal

Raised by 313 people in 14 months
We mourn the loss of Kak Channthy, singer and frontwoman of The Cambodian Space Project, a brilliant and charismatic artist who brought so much joy to audiences in Cambodia and around the world, and a much beloved friend to many.

Channthy was taken from us far too early, aged 38, in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh on March 20.

Now begins 100 days of funeral and mourning, in her home village of Prey Veng, in Cambodia.

Channthy leaves behind her 13 year old son Makara, two brothers who she helped support also, and a devastated community in Prey Veng. Her parents also died too young.

It takes a village to raise a child, but Prey Veng is in the poorest province  in one of the poorest countries in the world. 

Channthy's friends have established this Memorial Fund to assist her family with financial costs they could not otherwise meet. 

Firstly and urgently, are the funeral costs, through this extended period of mourning. And from now and into the future, financial support for Makara, to help with all the usual things that parents provide their children - a house, a home, health, education. Many of the services we take for granted as provided by the state in wealthy countries, are expensive and beyond the reach of ordinary Khmer in a village like Prey Veng.

You can see Makara and Prey Veng in the video to the song Lullaby for Makara, at the top of the page.*

Channthy's friends & family in Cambodia will make a secure and loving life for Makara, but they need our help. At this early stage just a few days after her passing, we are improvising a little.

This campaign will be managed by Channthy's friend and producer of some of her work with The Cambodian Space Project, Harley Stumm, and the proceeds sent to Channthy's family.

Julien Poulson, Channthy's CSP co-pilot & friend writes: "Channthy Cha Cha has left way too soon with so many things left undone and of course the most she hoped for was to live long enough to see her beautiful son Makara grow up to be a young man with a great life ahead of him. The most important thing for us now is to start working towards making this possible. Over the coming days, months, years Makara and Channthy's family will need all the support they can get. Meanwhile we will also be working towards creating an ongoing trust fund and there is much work to be done."

"When I met Makara he was not in school and for many years struggled to catch-up and school but about 6 months ago, Thy called me to tell me that he'd scored first place in school and she was completely overjoyed. I personally will strive to support Thy's young son to achieve even more but we need help so please donate here. I will write more to update everyone on our progress."

“I don’t know if music or art can really help in the short term but for me, music has always been a solace, bringing hope and love and helping to overcome hard times... When I’m singing, I feel like I’m flying. These old songs can awaken the love we had back then and wash away our sorrow." Channthy said in Marc Eberle's documentary Not Easy Rock ‘N’ Roll.

Julien Poulson, her CSP co-founder and BFF writes:  "She was a joy and inspiration to know in life and I can't believe she has gone.  Channthy was a love of my life and a very dear friend, I feel so sorry that her life has mostly been very difficult and will be more so for the family she leaves behind. She was also my co-pilot in the Cambodian Space Project and through this shared experience, the music, the friendships and the love we shared, I am also grateful to know that I was able to share so much life with Channthy. My heart is broken."

Chak Sopheap, of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, remembered Channthy as “a strong and inspirational woman who will be dearly missed by many”, and who was a supporter of human rights and equality.

“Her journey and achievements can inspire many, especially young Cambodian women,” she said.

“Channthy also made a great contribution to Cambodian arts and culture, by re-imagining old Khmer classics and bringing them to the international arena, as well as by producing many original hits which took inspiration from Khmer style.” (from Phnom Penh Post obituary)

There is so much content about Srey Channthy elsewhere, but here are a few selected moments of her life and art.

Phnom Penh Post obituary

Feature story in The Diplomat

Tribute including 2013 live to air performance on FBi radio

CSP website has lots more video & images

Tribute to Channthy featuring CSP's recording of Superstar (by The Carpenters)

Live performance of Rom a Gogo, in Hanuman Spaceman at Brisbane Powerhouse. Going OFF!!
Music video of Have Visa, No Have Rice (video by Marc Eberle)

Showreel of Cosmic Cambodia, Cambodian Space Project, 2015

Lullaby for Makara, a visit to Channthy's village in Prey Veng Province, videography by Samy Nine, edited by Nosloup Montague, recorded at Barking Gecko Bali by John Paul Thorpe.
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Update to supporters of Kak Channthy Memorial Fund, from Julien Poulson, co-founder with Channthy of The Cambodian Space Project

I am writing to personally thank each of you for your kindness and quick action in supporting this campaign. Many of you are very dear friends whom I have known for a long time, while others are people who I haven’t met before. Regardless, I can see that we have all been equally touched and moved by Channthy’s life, and by this urgent need to ensure that her son Makara is supported into the future, to achieve a life that Channthy dreamed possible.

Over the years Channthy often thought she might die young, and in case this happened, asked me to promise to take care of Makara. Of course, I made that promise and while our relationship had its ups and downs – marriage, divorce, soul mates, rock’n’roll – it’s a promise I fully intend to keep.

I am extremely grateful to Harley Stumm who, like many others, called me as he heard the tragic news of Channthy’s death, and offered to help by taking on the GoFundMe campaign. I accepted Harley’s offer as he’s long been involved in supporting CSP musicians and projects such as the truly wonderful “Cosmic Cambodia”, a theatre show with Channthy story-telling and singing her own life story, created and staged Cambodia and in Australia.

My personal experience in working with Harley was to have not only his professional support but to know his real friendship and kindness as a person. Harley’s planning, managing budgets, paying musicians and artist fees, dealing with the project challenges, was an enormous contribution to Channthy and my own life with our Cambodian Space Project. Harley’s call to help with Gofundme came at a moment when I was also overwhelmed with grief and already standing graveside by Channthy with her family and community in Prey Veng province.

Over these last three months, I have asked Harley to extend this campaign, to wait until Channthy’s 100 Days Ceremony was complete, but also to take time to think carefully about the future. It’s been a time that has been complicated by getting on with life, dealing with grief – everybody’s grief – and sorting through scenarios for best managing the next steps. For example, researching options for on-going long-term management of funds under Cambodian law, guardianship, and trusts, which don’t exist the same way they do in Western countries.

Many others have supported Channthy’s family in all sorts of ways, including with practical and emotional support, as well as other fundraising , from bar top/café collection boxes to memorial events and benefits. We welcome and support those efforts too, but we have been focussing on a strategy to create a fund which can continue to support her family in the longer term.

It’s now time to bring this stage of the fundraising to a close, and to put into action the monies raised here. Following the closure of the GFM campaign, a trust will be set up and administered in accordance with Australian laws. We will bring together a small group of advisors to make decisions on expenditure and payments, ensuring the funds are managed and spent in the best interests of Channthy’s son Makara.

When this process is concluded, in the next few weeks, we will be able to make public information on the process and how the financial support for Channthy’s son Makara will take effect. In the meantime, other plans and ideas are underway to give practical support while also taking into account all the issues involved in moving forward.

I have found it so moving and heartwarming to see your support here. There is not a day that passes when Channthy’s life and the future of her young family is not on my mind. I am committed to the ongoing – long term – support of Channthy’s son, her family, and her legacy as an artist and to her community.

Thank you once again for your part in our community’s effort to make this possible.

Should any of you wish to contact me directly then please do email: julienpoulson@hotmail.com

– Julien Poulson

Read more about Channthy's 100 day commemoration at http://cambodianspaceproject.org/the-road-back-home-channthys-100-days-in-prey-veng-province/

“While being widely loved for reviving Cambodian rock’n’soul music throughout the world, Kak Channthy stood for more than just music. Her songs and her story represented freedom for poor and oppressed people throughout the world, social equality, human rights and justice.”

“Kak Channthy represented everything that is beautiful about Cambodia, the spirit of the oppressed and the poor. She lives on.”
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Hi everyone, thank you so much for your generous support and messages for the family of singer Kak Channthy. Such a wonderfully warm and lovely outpouring of support! We have reached $15,000 in just four days. But still a way to go, so please share if you haven't already.

For those in Cambodia, there will be a concert to celebrate Channthy's life and art, on April 1st. Organisers are working on broadcasting it, so hopefully others around the world can be there in spirit... stay tuned.

APRIL 1, FCC MANSION, 4pm-late

More from Julien Poulson, CSP co-pilot:

It is very difficult for me to think of any kind of music event without Channthy. I am devastated by our loss but I am aware that I am just one of so many. From the moment I met Channthy I could see her obvious talent as a performer but also saw that she was someone in possession of a deep soul who could affect and move you beyond just her force-of-nature exuding physical presence and it's perhaps this reason that we have been overwhelmed with messages of condolence from so many people - from so many walks of life - from so many corners of the planet.

The grief and shock felt in losing Channthy is intense and the messages from all whom she connected with, moved and inspired, are similarly themed - Channthy's life story represented courage, joy and the sheer will to overcome against all odds. Thy never saw herself as a star but of course, we all knew that she was most certainly a star shimming with the mesmerizing beauty and the talent that an artist who is one of a kind - totally unique - needs to have. She was more than attention grabbling, Channthy was compelling as was her own incredible story. Of course, her story (or aspects of) soon became well documented in life. Now, with her utterly tragic death... it seems that Channthy is a once in a generation super star... and even beyond her clear and recognizable talent and charm in life, she has transcended this to become both iconic and immortal.

It is now import for us to celebrate Channthy's life by bringing together her music and arts community and staging an event that was initially booked as a Cambodian Space Project concert to launch Angkor Pop! a compilation of 11 new Cambodian artists covering Iggy Pop. Channthy of course loved the idea of helping others through her own trailblazing and globetrotting performances. So it's with great pleasure we invite everyone to join us to celebrate Channthy's legacy in music, art and life at The Mansion on Sunday, April 1 from 4pm - late. Entry is by donation and will go towards the Kak Channthy Memorial Fund created to ensure the financial security of her family.

I thank you all in advance for your support and your attendance. We will also work to broadcast live and share messages coming in from around the world. This event is the official public concert for Channthy and is organised by myself and our Cambodian Space Project team as well as the staff and management of FCC. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like to offer ideas to help make this concert event truly incredible and respectfully in accordance with family wishes and our desire to give Channthy the farewell party that she would have loved and will be at in spirit - may her soul rest in eternal peace.

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Hi everyone. Julien Poulson writes:

What happens now?

First I would like to thank you all for all the correspondence I've been receiving and let you know that I'm very moved by all your words of support at this terribly difficult time. I'm too busy right now to properly reply but will do my best to get back to each of you.

Channthy was buried yesterday in her Prey Ngheat village in Prey Veng Provine. Her funeral was a traditional Khmer ceremony that was beautiful and profound and managed faultlessly by the elders of her community and her family. Channthy's friends and her family also extends to her music and arts community and reaches around the world but starts with our very close Cambodian Space Project family - I am so appreciative to everyone who is connected in this way and so important to us right now. I wish to thank all our people who were able to travel and attend in person as well as express the gratitude felt by Thy's Cambodian family, not least Chan Ran, Makara, Long and Len Ny.

Thy's funeral was of course heartbreakingly sad... I am unable to stem the flow of my own tears and the waves of emotions I'm feeling right now. Her funeral is in accordance of Khmer custom and will continue with a 7 Day Ceremony this Sunday/Monday in her village. All are welcome to attend but please let us know so we can prepare. Finally and event to mark the passing of Channthy's earthly life and transition to the spirit world will also be held in her village to mark 100 days since her passing. Thy's 100 day ceremony will be an occasion to celebrate her extraordinary life and her achievements - the way she touched so many, and reached out into the hearts of all of us while simply exuding awesomeness! joy, happiness, and the sheer will to overcome against all odds. This legacy will be supported by the team at Bophana Center (Film and Sound Archives) to present Channthy's life in music, art, film and her incredible story.

Yesterday and 7 Days ceremony are occasions to weep and reflect while also laughing and loving. I am happy to say that the words and the warmth coming together at this time really reinforce what I first saw in Channthy - someone beautiful in life in it's physical form but someone in possession of a deep soul, an enormous depth of spirit and passion. Much of the shock of her sudden departure is because Channthy connected to people everyone by being a ray of light beaming with life and goodness.

Her legacy will grow and shine on on through the people she has left behind and there is much work to do to manage and make sure that this tragedy can now bring some good. Personally, I will work to ensure the future of Channthy's family is secure - something she made me promise to do as she always thought she'd die early. My life will also be dedicated to preserving Channthy's legacy as an artist and I will continue to compile and disseminate her work. Most of all, I will take time out to write a full account of our life together and the story we created as co-pilots of The Cambodian Space Project along with our community of friends who saw and championed our work. Personally, my life is even more committed on working to shine a light on the lives of the poor and downtrodden - and as Channthy would say "the invisible people" who come from extremely disadvantaged communities like her own.

Financial support is coming in quickly and I am so grateful to donors and to Harley Stumm and our team who are managing to make this happen. Clearly, money raised won't last long but will certainly allow us to stabilize and plan ahead for the betterment of Channthy's family. This means ensuring both Makara and his carer Chan Ran can continue to afford housing, school and living costs. I will also continue to work with Channthy's extended family - many people - to work towards making many of her wishes happen. In the coming weeks we will establish a Trust Fund for Makara and work on creating a Music and Arts Foundation that undertake the building of a school in Channthy's homeland.

Channthy loved to see her music and her Cambodian culture connect with the world. She was also a great music fan... collecting and discovering music from all around the world and returning this to Cambodia. Her next concert was due to be an event to launch a compilation of 11 new Cambodian/Western bands - each covering Iggy Pop songs and curated by The Cambodian Space Project. Thy was well known to each of the groups and to Iggy Pop who discovered her at a distance and championed her music own his own radio show on BBC6. Iggy wrote "I am so, so sorry to hear about the passing of the beautiful, charming and totally unique Channthy. My thoughts are with her family and band mates". In turn, Channthy loved discovering artists like Iggy Pop (totally new to her) and loved the idea of that her own work was an influence to others, she would be very proud to know that this Angkor Pop! compilation - lead by Channthy's incredible version of The Passenger - will also promote other cross-culture acts like CSP to the rest of world.

From the moment Channthy and I sat down to make our first 'gig flyer', Channthy took to the creation of her own image with relish, humor and enthusiasm. It's perhaps no surprise that her own son, Makara, has also become one of her most enthusiastic photographers. Makara's talent was spotted by others, amateur and profession photographers alike and more recently championed by photographer Steve Porte who just recently met with Thy to do her last professional portrait photo - the image already haunts us. On the eve of Channthy's burial, I sat through the night with my arms around her beautiful 13 year old boy totally mesmerised by the thousands of images Channthy has left us. This is indeed a great legacy and I will continue to work with Makara and many of CSP's professional photographers to develop Makara's own talent, skills and opportunities that can come with this while preserving and respecting the image and life of Kak Channthy and her story - to inspire and share with future generations. Part of our plans for securing Makara's future through eduction will be a focus on nurturing his talents and love of photography and music.

Channthy's death is a cruel twist in a life that was mostly hard and difficult but she has left behind an incredible gift to the world.

I will do my best (one of her favorite expressions) to update you all on coming events and public memorials. Again, I wish to thank you all for your support, love and kindness.

– Julien Poulson
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$26,511 of $30,000 goal

Raised by 313 people in 14 months
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