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

Weekly Wrap - Week Commencing Thursday 3rd July 2014

Milo, Khmer Jazz, X-Rays, Cambojam and DJ Edwardowski hit the road this week as the 'Musicians of Siem Reap'. The acts will be staging an event at Knai Bang Chatt in Kep this Monday before heading to sunny Sihanoukville for dates at the Led Zephyr on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The tour then arrives at Slur Bar in Phnom Penh on Friday the 11th of July. As any member of the music community in Cambodia will know, the logistical and financial constraints of putting on shows in The Kingdom of Wonder can make any tour like this a very difficult prospect. Well done to the Musicians of Siem Reap for making it happen and also for the success they have had in bringing their music to new audiences. Fabien Lesecq, the organizer of this unique and marvellous musical troupe, told Leng Pleng a little bit more about the tour:

Milo at World Music Day
The musicians are travelling together to promote the active music scene of Siem Reap - four bands and a DJ together. We are Russian, Japanese, French, Belgian, Dutch and Cambodian and the main language is music and fun. Cambojam has been the main active band in Siem Reap since 2007 but from all these musicians, many other bands were created. Milo play ska, reggae and khmer renditions of songs led by charismatic Aya - a keyboard player from Japan. At Pahna play Khmer songs from the 60's led by Cambodian singer Thea and trombone player Alex (also director of Siem Reap Art School). X-Rays play hard rock, led by French singer Oli. Khmer Jazz play classic Khmer songs in a very jazz way and classic pop songs with a Khmer twist. The tour is a bit of an extension of the World Music Day event in Siem Reap [FĂȘte de la Musique took place on the 21st June] - spreading music, good vibes and fun throughout Cambodia.”

Tommy Nick
This week, legendary Siem Reap expat Tommy Nick is getting ready to pack his bags and return to the USA. Tommy, and his musical brother-in-arms Smokin' Kenny Smith, have been at the beating heart of the blues-rock music scene in Cambodia ever since... well, actually, by all accounts they created the blues-rock music scene in Sihanoukville six years ago when they started performing together as Lost Highway. The band are performing a farewell show at Sharky Bar on the highly appropriate date of Friday the 4th of July. Kenny gave Leng Pleng his personal take on the significance of the performance:

Smokin' Kenny Smith
Lost Highway evolved in early 2008 from the band Route 66. Tom and I have worked with many musicians over the years - always bringing something new and exciting to our sound and taking us down a new, but familiar, road filled with rockin' blues. It came as a surprise when Tom called me and said he was going back to the States. These last few weeks I've had to say goodbye to four of my good musician friends as they moved on. The full impact of this has hasn't hit me yet. With Tom leaving I may have to face a real sense of loss (something I have been trying to avoid). I know in my heart that he, like my other friends, will come back and I look forward to all the reunion gigs that will follow. Friday night's line-up will include Tom and I along with Chris Hilleary on bass, and Pavel Ramirez on second guitar. Should be a great show!

Read more about Lost Highway and Route 66 in the entertaining article The Life and Times of Smokin' Kenny Smith - written for Leng Pleng last year.

In the words of Eddie Cochran, 'sometimes I wonder what am I going to do?' in this summer season of departing musical friends. Olga Andreeva is playing her farewell gig at Sharky Bar tonight with excellent backing band Ramirez & Ten-Tipz. When will it all end..? If this trend continues, Television Ted and I will be forced to bring our own boxtop-and-harmonica sea-shanty double-act out of retirement. Fortunately that terrifying prospect is averted for the time being by an influx of new, professional, music acts into Phnom Penh. 
Sinville Roadshow - pic courtesy of artist
Duo Sinville Roadshow are starting to gig regularly around the city - next performing at the venue-formerly-known-as Oscar 51 (now the enigmatically-named 'Diver Club') this Friday. Lead singer Tiffany has the voice and stage presence of a real star. Elsewhere around the traps, acoustic performer Graham Cain is becoming a familiar name. The Australian has twenty years of experience as a 'Travelling Troubadour' and recently decided to set down his knowledge in a guidebook. Read more about Graham's worldwide adventure here
image courtesy of Bacano
Meanwhile, newly-formed sextet Bacano continue their mission to deliver fresh, fun and groovy Spanish-language music with a gig this Friday at Slur Bar. Another new and, in this case, questionably-conceived name on the block is power-pop trio 3some, who have recently impressed many audiences with their marathon rock'n'roll medleys and gifted bass player.
Until next time.... see you around the traps!


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