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

Weekly Wrap - Commencing Thursday 5th November 2015

Electric Kampot - pic: Brave Cactus Blog

The Kampot Writers and Readers Festival 2015 kicks off today (Thursday). Not just a literary festival, the KWRF features several great live music events. Check out Television Ted's special preview wrap and visit the KWRF website for all the latest information. Two of the highlights of the festival are scheduled to take place this Friday. Master Kong Nay, together with his son Kong Boran and other contemporary Cambodian guest artists, will be performing a selection of traditional Cambodian musical works. Later that evening, a special one-off live concert performance will be given by Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame inductee Paul Kelly. Tickets for this boutique show, at KAMA in Kampot, may now be harder to find than a Cambodian policeman after 5.30 in the evening but... it's worth a try. Tickets in Kampot can be purchased from Ms. Soon at Ellie’s Cafe (during the day) or at KAMA (at night-time) - SMS 096 367 2224 .

The first annual KWRF is inspired by, and created in partnership with, the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in Bali, Indonesia (the 12th annual UBUD festival took place last week). It was at the UBUD festival that KWRF festival director Julien Poulson, of The Cambodian Space Project and Bokor Mountain Magic Band fame, met and connected with author Jonathan Campbell. Jonathan is a music writer, musician, promoter and agent based in Beijing in the years between 2000 and 2010. He will be at KAMA in Kampot on Sunday, talking about his new book The Red Rock: The Long, Strange March of Chinese Rock & Roll. Fans of Cambodian Rock may find more than a few fascinating parallels between the two histories. As Jonathan himself told Leng Pleng :

Jon Campbell - pic: Henry Campbell
I think that Cambodia and China's experience of rock and roll is similar, and though I write a lot about how the stakes in China were heavy (the choice to pursue rock music in the 80's and 90's was a choice to ostracise oneself), they weren't as heavy as what happened in the 70's in Cambodia. But I think what both situations show those of us in The West is the thing that I discovered over the course of writing my book: that rock and roll means something to people in a way that we've forgotten about here. Rock and roll has become just something you listen to, but it used to be a lot more than that in The West. It used to be About Something -- saying something, being something, choosing to be someone. We used to say that rock and roll can change the world, and I've found that for a lot of Chinese people, it did change the world. From what I gather, for many Cambodians, too, rock and roll changed the world -- both before and after the 70's.”

Alto Ace: Thomas Schelloeh, pic: Susi Brinkert
Find out more about Jonathan Campbell via his website. For all those making the journey to Kampot this weekend, have a great time and enjoy. Meanwhile, in Phnom Penh, things are looking up for the expat music scene. Over the next two weeks we will see the arrival of at least three brand-new bands and the return of no less than four local favourite groups. The action is centred around Sharky Bar this weekend, where Sangvar Day will welcome new bassist Ned Kelly into the fold at their comeback gig on Friday. Saturday will see the debut of new rock trio Road to Mandalay. Leng Pleng has not yet heard the new-comers Mandalay, but the Sharky Bar press release promises 'one of the most promising new alternative rock bands in Cambodia in years!'. Also on Saturday, Joe Wrigley & The Jumping Jacks will return to the scene with a new line-up including ace alto-saxophonist Thomas Schelloeh. The rockabilly quartet will, along with Miss Sarawan, be celebrating the 15th Anniversary of Shanghai Bar.

The Barangutans are a trio of international musicians based in Sihanoukville. They will be travelling to Phnom Penh on Friday for a gig at Cabaret Restaurant. A little internet research has revealed an accomplished acoustic covers band with a Latin music feel and strong lead vocals.

Cambodian singing stars will be in attendance on Sunday at the Melodies of Change event to be held at the Cambodia-Korea Co-operation Center (CKCC) at the Royal University of Phnom Penh. Melodies of Change comprises of songwriting and performance workshops and seminars, as well as featuring live competition and live performance. The event has a very progressive and positive mission – seeking to encourage new original music in Cambodia. For more information: tel. 077 996 440. As Australian singer-songwriter Paul Kelly said, "From little things, big things grow".

Whatever you're up to over the next few days... stay safe out there and... see you around the traps!

Joe Wrigley

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