If the news of some recent venue closures, as mentioned in last week's wrap, prompted any chin-stroking ruminations on the state of the Phnom Penh music scene... stop stroking immediately! The rest of the world is still determined to get involved with the singularly awesome musical melting pot happening right now in Cambodia. Let us look over a few highlights from Timothy's glorious bag of weekly wonders:
Karen Keziah is a fantastic singer-songwriter hailing from Manila, Phillipines. She plays a special one-off show tonight at Equinox. Head down there to hear an independent spirit delivering soulful, melodious pop tunes with a folk edge. Check out the video below.
While watching a gig in Phnom Penh last week, I was puzzled to see a young lady setting her smartphone down on the stage in front of the band. I first assumed that she was attempting to shoot a video of the band's performance from a very artistic angle. I then realised that she was committing a 'dancefloor selfie' – recording herself and her friend as they cavorted around. If anyone decides to do that at one of my gigs I will grab the smartphone and put a stop to it immediately... and if I catch sight of a 'selfie stick' at a gig I will not be held responsible for my actions. Phnom Penh gig-goers have the chance to be a part of a real movie this Friday night at Sharky Bar, when French punk-rocker Didier Wampas will be filming his show for DVD release. Pogo-ing and 'moshpit' action is encouraged.
Ian Griffiths is a gifted accordion player from Canada, currently enjoying a short musical teaching and performance expedition in Cambodia. In a moment of weakness and against his better judgement, Ian began to answer my calls last week. I managed to persuade him to join myself and rockabilly reprobates The Jumping Jacks for a special gig at FCC – The Mansion on Saturday night. I am picturing a country music hoe-down, situated somewhere around the Mexican border. Joe Wrigley & The Jumping Jacks also play Slur Bar on Friday night.
Space Four Zero hosts a five-year retrospective of Cambodian Space Project photography, opening 6pm Thursday (also lead singer Channty's birthday!). This party will be a prelude to an amazing CSP 5th anniversary musical adventure tour from Phnom Penh to Kampot. "It gives us a good excuse to throw a big soiree for Channthy and celebrate five amazing years of CSP" says Poulson's business partner Tony Lefferts. “We will have drinks, tunes and some killer snacks.”
Friday night also starts at Space Four Zero from 6pm-9pm and then continues at a secret riverside location with a flash mob concert from 10pm to midnight. Cambodian Space Project co-founder Julien Poulson plans the grand opening of their latest venture — The Kampot Arts and Music Association (KAMA) - this Saturday night with a concert in front of the venue at 8pm. The idea behind KAMA is to encourage representation, presentation and promotion of Cambodian talents and arts to an international market. The CSP tour will end with a grand finale at The Barn at Otres Market on Sunday night. Read a personal account of the impact of CSP in this great article written for Leng Pleng by Susan Fletcher Haythorpe, 'Moving to the Music'.
A very groovy event will take place on Sunday afternoon when Lewis Pragasam will host an informal 'drum jam' at the all-new Starworks music academy, based on the same site as the Lyla Center in Boeng Trabek, Phnom Penh. Lewis is an international drumming and percussion master and the founder of Starworks, which promises to be a world-class music education and performance facility. The Starworks project is still very much in the early stages but you can drop by on Sunday for a glimpse of things to come (bring some percussion).
The distinguished line of international bands visiting Phnom Penh is extended this week with the debut of The Sleeves at Oscar Bar (Street 104). This band of guys from the UK are based in Hong Kong, first emerging 'from a seedy Mongkok tenement block rehearsal room in 2007'. Along the way, the experienced indie-rockers have supported such luminaries as Gary Numan and Peaches. Sleeves mainman Keith Goodman promises the Oscar gig to be a raucous and rocking warm-up for their shows next weekend at Led Zephyr, Bodhi Villa and Sharky Bar. Read more from Keith in the LengPleng Q&A.
To round the week off in style, Gabi Faja returns to Doors Phnom Penh on Wednesday with his GTS Jazz trio (Gabi, Toma Willen, Seb Adnot). This awesome group of musicians will perform 'renditions of Jazz standards with in a classical cross-over style'. As a bonus, the Aymen Ghali Quintet will also perform a Cuban-inspired set. This promises to be a really top-drawer night of jazz.
California-based Dengue Fever have an excellent new album out entitled The Deepest Lake. The LP has been ringing out here at Leng Pleng Towers all week. Check out the video below for single 'No Sudden Moves' and, as always, watch this space for an exclusive interview and news of the band's next trip to Cambodia.
Whatever you're up to over the next few days, stay safe out there and... see you around the traps!
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