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Defying crazy odds to make beautiful music

Meet the soul behind Cambodian musician, Sophanna, and why his songs have a special purpose.

You may have heard someone complain about how crazy their life is.

But once you meet Sophanna, you may realise how a crazy life can also be beautiful.

Orphaned at the age of six, and paralysed at ten, doctors gave Sophanna a year to live.

Sixteen years later, he’s alive - strumming and singing.

“When I play the guitar and sing, the pain and sadness in my life disappears,” he says.

“I can write English songs but I prefer to write Cambodian songs, because I want to inspire my fellow countrymen, especially those with disability.”

Performing every week at a local market in Siem Reap, Sophanna sings of empowerment and positivity.

Watching him on stage with the intention to motivate and inspire, you would never guess that he witnessed the brutal deaths of his parents and grandmother.

Such memories can haunt anyone till the end, and many turn to the darkness of life amidst their struggles to cope.

But Sophanna chooses to live his life with love, as he feels it will bring joy to those around him.

Perhaps some of it stems from his short but happy memories of watching his father help others in need.

“My father was my role model,” he says.

And in more ways than he may know, Sophanna seems to be guided by his father’s noble actions.

His desire to give back to society doesn’t just stop at uplifting others through his performances.

This young man also offers free English classes, guitar and singing lessons at his residential music school and Treak Community Centre.

Sophanna may be physically paralysed, but his spirit is more able than most in knowing how to give.

In his words, “When I share what I have with others, I feel love and warmth in my heart.”

How crazily generous is this heart.

And how beautiful it is too.


You can watch Sophanna play live every Friday evening at the 'Made in Cambodia' market in Siem Reap.

Invite Sophanna to perform on stage, and follow his music on YouTube and his Facebook page.

Contributors
Producer & Photographer  :   Grace Baey
Filmmakers  :   Juliana Tan
Animator  :  
Executive Producer  :   Denise Oliveiro
Text by  :   Shubhpreet Kaur