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

Weekly Wrap - Commencing Thursday the 18th December 2014

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Last week I mentioned some details about the WOMP! (Wat Opot Music Program) festival taking place this Sunday at Wat Opot in Takeo Province, just an hour or so away from Phnom Penh. The festival will provide an opportunity to experience a day out in the countryside, enjoy some great entertainment and make a difference to the lives of disadvantaged children (just by being there!). The music program will feature several artists including The Underdogs, Miss Sarawan and a special guest singer from Cambodian Living Arts. Special buses have been laid on – leaving from the National Museum on Street 178 at 10.15am on Sunday morning. Click here for full details on how to get to the festival and click here for the inside story on WOMP! from festival organiser James Speck.

Take a 'walk on the wild side' with F.T.
My role model this week will be 'legend of the traps' Frisco Toni. Time to dust off my evening jacket, slap on some cologne and make my way around the many classy gigs and parties happening in Phnom Penh and beyond. I might even treat myself to a one-dollar shoe shine – I'm that kind of guy. It must be Christmas week. If you feel like treating yourself, there will be several opportunities to 'push the boat out' a little bit and enjoy some great music in very classy surroundings. I'll ignore the exhibition openings and private views for now (check instead Fabian Hipp's http://kumnooh.com/) and concentrate on the music.

Needa is a restaurant situated on the junction of Streets 360 and 51 in Phnom Penh. Canadian cellist Clara Chandler will give a special performance on the Needa terrace this Friday evening. Clara, 'The Sidewalk Cellist', is currently travelling around South-East Asia in order to teach, perform, share and record music. The young singer and performer 'plays everything from Bach to Nirvana, Jazz to Metal as part of her mission to make classical music more accessible and to bring people together through the shared experience of song'. Check out her website and the video below. You can also hear Clara, along with many international and Cambodian musicians, at one of two concerts hosted by Music Arts School this week. The program will include chamber music by Brahms, Ravel, Mozart and others as well as some contemporary items.


Phil Javelle
Kapow! is what happens when multi-instrumentalist Phil Javelle joins The Jumping Jacks for a gig of 1940's and 1950's American-style rock'n'roll and swing. This Saturday, Kapow! Hot String Band will make their second outing at Doors Phnom Penh. Last time around, the stage was packed with more than ten weird and wonderful instruments – including a tin whistle and a cor anglais! I also heard a rumour that the band will be doing some filming at the gig, giving audience members a chance to capture their energetic dance moves on tape.

Le Pain de Jade is a new music venue opening in Kep this Tuesday. Ace bass player and guitarist Seb Adnot is the man behind the venture, aiming to establish the elegant, leafy riverside setting as another great place to play music in Cambodia. He is kicking things off in style on Tuesday with live performances from Cambodian reggae heavyweights Dub Addiction and Wat a Gwaan, along with French acts Sassas and Sistaya. Choosing this date seems like a smart scheduling move to catch all the expats holidaying in Kep for Christmas and perhaps catch many of those on their way to Kampot or Sihanoukville. It might be difficult to get a room in Kep on the 23rd – as Frisco Toni would say, simply 'anyone who's anyone' will be there. I'll probably end up sleeping rough on the beach, sharing a mosquito net with Jack Diamond (huddled together for warmth).

Kep Beach, yesterday.
One more classy Christmas gig tip for those staying in Phnom Penh: pianist Mathias Aspelin and saxophonist Alan Breen will serve up excellent jazz music at Cabaret Restaurant on the 24th and 25th. These guys are seriously good players and the venue is a beautiful setting.

Mekong Messengers, with shrubbery
The Christmas wrap would not be complete without mentioning two other excellent shows taking place over the next few days. Kristen Rasmussen's Mekong Messengers play their first show at Equinox on Friday, giving powerful renditions of Americana classics by female icons such as Wanda Jackson, Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt. Saturday sees a new iteration of 9999 Arts Group line up at Sharky Bar. Superb rock musicians Pavel 'zargz' Ramirez (guitar) and 'Canadian' Dave Zdriluk (bass) lend their skills to singer/guitarist Max Jones - creating a dark, bluesy, atmospheric tone for his down-tempo cover versions and excellent original songs.

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



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