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The Leng Pleng Gig Guide comes out on a Thursday or Friday of every week

Weekly Wrap - Week Commencing Thursday the 10th July 2014

"We borrowed the name 'Galaxy Khmer' from a gay massage parlour then created a theatrical take on the idea of Channthy being ‘a Khmer diva channelling the echoes of Cambodia’s Golden Era singers of the 1960s'. First we rehearsed and presented a premiere of the show at the Phare Circus in Battambang – sweltering hot at the time – then, six months later, took the whole show off to Europe. We landed in Berlin late on a bitterly cold winter’s night, kitted out in brand new snow boots and ski jackets. We soon premiered ‘Galaxy’ to a full house at the stunning 1920’s Hebbel Theatre... Following on from Berlin, we flew our hullabaloo north to the even-frostier Bergen, Norway. Picture this: a dozen Khmer and their tropically acclimatized Barang counterparts traipsing through the thick snow of a European winter, in Norway of all places! Some of the troupe had never before travelled out of Cambodia and had certainly never experienced such freezing cold. Our dancers, aka 'The Spacettes' had more than prepared; they’d even brought a rice cooker and smuggled Cambodian food into Norway - dried fish, embryonic eggs, chillies and spices - and had quickly adjusted the heating in each hotel room to feel like Cambodia."

Srey Channty & Friends of The Cambodian Space Project return home from their latest globe-traversing adventures to perform a show at Equinox next Friday the 18th July. Spaceman Julien Poulson has been detained in Australia on serious inter-planetary business but found time to file the fascinating Musings From The Flight Deck: The Cambodian Space Project Tour Tales. Read Part One of his in-depth look at life within The Project here. Note: the CSP show at Equinox was originally scheduled to take place this Friday the 11th July. It has been moved due to a Government Decree (the 11th of July 2014 is a public holiday in Cambodia).

Adrien Gayraud is another member of the Space Project team finding himself extremely busy at the moment. Between sets with bands CSP and Kok Thlok and also sound-engineering events at Slur Bar, Adrien has somehow found the time to fit out a brand new music store on Street 143, just north of Sihanouk Boulevard. Links is a large space furnished with a great variety of guitar accessories such as pedals, strings and plectrums that you won't find elsewhere in Cambodia. The shop is just getting started with a lot more stock of all musical equipment descriptions on the way. More than just a retail business, Links also has a spacious and very well-kitted-out rehearsal room available for hire and smaller studios for music tuition. The four-storey building near Olympic Stadium should become a central part of the music community in Phnom Penh. Read more here.

Meanwhile, located on an inauspicious side street off Street 172, Vintage Guitars Cambodia has recently opened for limited hours and by appointment to view a collection of great guitars built before 1980. The stock includes many sought-after Japanese-made acoustic guitar brands such as Suzuki and Morris. Find out more here.

Sonic Detergent - pic courtesy of the band
A choice of quality gigs on Friday includes the excellent musicianship of Sonic Detergent at Sharky Bar – featuring frontman Joshua Chiang nailing the pop and rock vocal parts other male singers would not even dare to attempt. On the same night, The Musicians of Siem Reap head to Slur Bar for what could be a very entertaining musical party – see last week's wrap for more details.

On Saturday night at FCC Phnom Penh – The Mansion the Mekong Messengers seek to re-create some of the euphoria surrounding their private gig last week at the US Embassy Independence Day celebrations. Although it proved very difficult to gain access to the gated Embassy compound without a valid invitation and American passport, Jack '24 Carat' Diamond managed to slip in and observe this new band take to the stage. The seven-piece Messengers played a groovy country and blues-orientated repertoire through an impressively huge sound system. The stage was a long flatbed truck bedecked with a six-metre stars-and-stripes. The band performed their show to a audience of colourful characters within the large and leafy grounds of the Embassy. Twirling hula-hoopers and circus performers mixed with US Marines in full parade uniform. Patriotic Americans swilled large quantities of Angkor beer while an over-stimulated group of Cambodian teenagers pogoed and screamed next to the stage. Endless trays of burgers, hot-dogs, pizzas and ice cream were distributed among visiting dignitaries and business community big-wigs. God Bless America... and yes, I nearly forgot to mention, the band were great too.

Mekong Messengers - pic courtesy of the band

Two great alternative gig choices await the adventurous Phnom Penh music-lover in the latter half of the weekly gig schedule. Mathias Aspelin gives a special performance at The Groove on Sunday with Dima Verba playing bass and Ritchy Boisson on drums. Mathias is a modern-jazz inclined pianist with some serious musical credentials (see a previous wrap for more details). Entrance for the event is $10 and the drinks prices are not exactly backpacker-friendly – but if you're happy to spend some cash then the beautifully-furnished Groove provides perhaps the best live music listening experience in Phnom Penh right now.

Cambodian Living Arts - pic courtesy of CLA
Wednesday offers the chance to see the performers of Cambodian Living Arts 'outside of their usual environs of The National Museum and community-based projects'. Doors Phnom Penh will host a show comprising of The Community of Living Chapei and The Children of Bassac Troupe performing traditional folk satires for voice and instruments such as the Chapei Deng Wang. Contrary to the connotations of the word 'traditional', the show is billed to feature an entertaining and energetic combination of music, drumming and dancing.


I'll leave you with a recent video from that ragamuffin warrior MC Kaztet D. His boundless energy has taken the Phnom Penh resident all over Cambodia and the world - performing an inimitable and technically astounding flow of French-language rhymes.



Until next time, stay safe out there and.... see you around the traps!














JACK DIAMOND

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1 comment:

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