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Liev Tuk

Liev Tuk, from an early 1970s record cover.

Liev Tuk (sometimes spelled Liv Tek, Khmer: លីវ ទឹក) was a Cambodian rock and soul musician active before the Khmer Rouge.

Musical style

Tuk's music incorporates elements from a variety of American popular genres, such as rhythm and blues, soul, and rock. Critics and historians have drawn comparisons with Wilson Pickett and James Brown, both important figures in American soul music.[1][2]

He was an animated "rock star" performer, combining his loud, fast music with colorful movements and dancing.[1][3] LinDa Saphan described him as having "sultry looks, swinging arms and dynamic vocal style [that] drove teenage listeners wild."[1]


Tuk was featured in Norodom Sihanouk's 1968 film The Joy of Life. A performance from that film was later included in the 2015 documentary Don't Think I've Forgotten, juxtaposed with a clip of Wilson Pickett to show influence and similarities.[2][4]

Two of Tuk's songs appeared on the 1996 album Cambodian Rocks: "Rom Sue Sue" ("Dance Soul Soul"), which has been likened to "Hip-Hug-Her" by Booker T and the MG's, and "Sou Slarp Kroam Kombut Srey" ("Rather Die Under the Women's Sword"), performed with Yol Aularong.[5] The compilation of Cambodian psychedelic and garage rock from the late 1960s and 1970s was controversially published as a bootleg, without providing attribution to the artists, even after they had been identified.[6] It sparked, in part, Western interest in the music and was followed by a number of similar compilations, many of which feature Tuk among contemporaries like Yol Aularong, Sinn Sisamouth, Meas Samon, Ros Serey Sothea, and Pan Ron.[7]


He appeared uncredited as a singer in the film The Joy of Living.


  1. ^ a b c Saphan, LinDa (2017). Shin, Hyunjoon; Lee, Keewoong (eds.). Sounds from the Periphery: Modernity and Development of Asia Pop 1960-2000. Seoul, South Korea: Chaeryun. Archived from the original on 2018-07-19. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  2. ^ a b Pirozzi, John (director, producer), Andrew Pope (producer) (2015). Don't Think I've Forgotten (film) (in English and Khmer). Argot Pictures.
  3. ^ Knight, Andy (March 2018). "The Sound Before the Silence" (PDF). South Coast Repertory. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2018-07-19. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  4. ^ Citrone, John E. (22 July 2015). "Rock and Rouge". Folio Weekly. Archived from the original on 19 July 2018. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  5. ^ Nutt, Kevin. "First They Killed the Musicians: Cambodian Rocks (Parallel World CD-6)". Adventures In Sound. Archived from the original on 29 February 2016. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  6. ^ Samuelson, Sam. "Various Artists - Cambodian Rocks". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 2018-07-20. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  7. ^ Sisario, Ben (9 April 2015). "'Don't Think I've Forgotten,' a Documentary, Revives Cambodia's Silenced Sounds". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 17 June 2019. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
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Liev Tuk
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