Koetsu Blue Lace Close Up

You want a Koetsu for what?


One of the great benefits of this hobby is that it introduces you to interesting people. Looking back at my life, I feel that I’ve met some of my closest friends through some sort of association based on our mutual love of music. I also cherish meeting every one of our customers because inevitably as I get to know them, I realise that every person has an interesting story and a fascinating perspective that has led them to a love of music.

Still, every once in a while I meet someone who leaves a lasting impact on me. Here’s one to share with you.

In recent times, a gentleman contacted me requesting a Koetsu Coral Stone Platinum cartridge in mono. We spoke for some time and he ordered one which we delivered and installed. Shortly afterwards he contacted me again and asked some questions about a Koetsu Blue Lace Onyx Platinum cartridge in stereo…..with a diamond cantilever. The Blue Lace is a very rare and eclectic cartridge in its own right with only a handful being available every year but the diamond cantilever takes it not only to extreme levels of performance but also rarity and cost.

It is natural to assume that like many of our clients, this gentleman has a discerning ear and the desire to invest in creating a highly refined audio system that can give him the enjoyment that he desires. That may be true but in this case, his motivation was driven by a very different set of values.

I discovered that this gentleman originated from Cambodia and miraculously survived the mass genocide carried out by the Khmer Rouge under the leadership of Pol Pot between 1975 and 1979. He witnessed the killing of his family, his neighbours, his friends and his community and somehow survived and later migrated to Australia as a refugee.

In dealing with the pain of his experience, he decided that one way that he could keep the memory of his people alive was to find old analogue recordings of his people’s traditional folk music, convert it into a digital format and publish it for free for his surviving compatriots around the world to enjoy. His dream is that the surviving descendants of his people who are now scattered around the world can listen to this music, connect with their heritage and keep the spirit of his people alive, perhaps even form a community.

He shared with me some music from a Cambodian artist Sinn Sisamouth, whom he jokingly referred to as the ‘Cambodian Elvis’ and a highly influential artist or the era whose songs tell stories of the times and of the people. He has reached out to Sinn’s daughter, who is aware of his project to bring to life her father’s recordings. He set up a high-end audio system for this purpose and he wanted the highest quality components so that the recordings could be as faithful to the originals as possible.

I was deeply moved by this man’s passion for his people and how he has chosen to channel the pain of his tragic circumstances for the future cultural prosperity of his community. I cannot think of a more worthwhile application for a rare Koetsu cartridge. I look forward to enjoying the music of Sinn Sisamouth.