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

Weekly Wrap - Commencing Thursday 22nd January 2015

Krom Monster is an experimental musical fusion of traditional Khmer instruments with electronically-produced sounds. Sour Vanna on Gong Tum (an array of cymbals arranged in a circle), Chamroeun Phan on Tro Sao (a bowed, violin-like instrument) and Lun Panith on Ksae Diew (a plucked string attached to a half-shell) combine with avant-garde electronica music produced by David Gunn (on his laptop). The band, not to be confused with Phnom Penh based 'noir' group Krom, will be performing a brace of concerts at Meta House this week. Check out the Vimeo and Soundcloud links below. The highly atmospheric and captivating music of Krom Monster can be heard live at Meta this coming Friday and again on Wednesday.


Amanda Bloom is celebrating the completion of her second album, entitled Atlas - Journey of Hope, with a special show at FCC – The Mansion on Saturday night. Amanda is a completely original artist – combining virtuoso piano and vocal skills on her own classical-world-fusion compositions. She is joined at the concert by regular collaborators Tara Mar (cello), Michele Bowen (bassoon) and Malaysian drumming legend Lewis Pragasam (percussion). Amanda told Leng Pleng:

"I'm really excited to be playing with my trio again after a really hectic year. We've all been off doing various things... Michele had a baby, I went to Nashville and India... this is a really special gig for us to be back together again and doing what we love the most... playing for audiences."

As a bonus, Amanda has persuaded Conrad Keely (of U.S. band ...Trail of Dead) to give a rare solo piano set and superb newcomer Clayton England to perform some of his original compositions. This gig has all the makings of a great Phnom Penh night: a group of incredibly good musicians hailing from several different countries, playing new and inspired original music, in an evocative outdoor setting.

Julien Poulson of The Cambodian Space Project (CSP) has been busy in Kampot over the last few weeks, transforming an old building into the home of KAMA (Kampot Arts and Music Association). Never one to sit idle for more than thirty seconds at a time, Julien has also found time to form a new band, The Bokor Mountain Magic Band, before the return of CSP for their upcoming 5th Anniversary shows. In Julien's own words:

KAMA is a new initiative to nurture, mentor, promote and present contemporary artists and musicians in Cambodia and abroad. We're creating a great venue space and an annual program as well as fund raising via Indie Go Go to make all this happen... Out of KAMA, we also have a brand new act called The Bokor Mountain Magic Band... preparing to première in Phnom Penh on Saturday at the Latin Quarter.”
Still image from forthcoming Jumping Jacks promo reel video by Roberto Traina
I will be spending most of my weekend crammed into a Cambodian public coach with The Jumping Jacks as we take a spin up to Siem Reap and Battambang, hitting Laundry Bar on Friday and Here Be Dragons on Saturday. Credit to Dragons for pushing the boundaries of the Battambang music scene and getting bands up there to play events (previous Dragons shows include gigs by Kampot Playboys and Cambodian Space Project). Cambodia's second city has a thriving arts scene but does not see anything like the level of tourist footfall required to support regular live music gigs. The Jacks will be joined at Dragons by Khmer songstress Miss Sarawan and Australian solo artist Tim Hall. Tim is perhaps Battambang's best kept secret – a seasoned performer and storyteller of a very high calibre. I hope to see the entire town turn up for the event on Saturday!

Back in Phnom Penh this weekend, a couple of interesting Sunday daytime gigs require a mention. From 9 until 11am, A group of Khmer musicians led by Min Bona will play traditional instruments at Wat Ounalom (on Sothearos Boulevard near the FCC). There will also be instruments on display until 5pm. From 1pm at the Cambodia-Korea Cooperation Center, a host of young Cambodian stars including Jimmy Kiss and Nikki Nikki will perform a fund-raising concert for Pour un Sourire d'Enfant (PSE) – a non-profit organisation that supports children in Cambodia. 

Chapei from David Gunn on Vimeo.
Whatever you're up to over the next few days, enjoy the music and... see you around the traps!

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