The Kings of Skank
Jahzad is a name associated with many good memories. Readers new to Leng Pleng may now be thinking something along the lines of 'what is a Jahzad?' Those who have been around Phnom Penh a little while longer will recall famously fantastic gigs at Latin Quarter, Equinox and the FCC. Why does 2013 feel like such a long time ago? Jahzad is one of those band names uttered fondly by expats during late-night drinking sessions: 'What ever happened to those great bands... Grass Snake Union, Mekong Pirates and... that really amazing Jazz-Ska fusion ensemble that we used to dance all night to...?' Well, for one night at least, Sebastien Adnot's 'dream team' of genre-busting ace musicians are back at Doors Phnom Penh. Euan Gray (sax), Alex Scarpati (trombone), Phil Javelle (sax), Jan 'Professor Kinski' Mueller (guitar) and Toma Willen (drums) will join Seb (upright bass) for a Friday night session. The band are directly inspired by the music of the Skatalites, which comprises of high-powered, jazz-inspired horn arrangements married to irresistible, high-tempo Jamaican rhythms. If this music doesn't move you...
Back to Mothership Earth
The Cambodian Space Project formed in Phnom Penh nearly six years ago and have been going from strength-to-globe-trotting-strength ever since. Their sister group, Bokor Mountain Magic Band (BMMB), perform a similar brand of psychedelic Cambodian space-rock. BMMB will be playing a special show at FCC – The Mansion in Phnom Penh this Friday night. The event will be filmed by a production team from Vice.com – this could be a great chance to have your funky moves captured for all the world to see! Leng Pleng has even heard a rumour that the FCC will be installing an awning to protect the band and audience from any potential rainstorms – a smart move for an outdoor music venue in Cambodia in the rainy season and an improvement on the previous strategy of 'let's hope it doesn't rain'. BMMB and CSP wing-commander Julien Poulson telegrammed this brief communiqué:
|CSP in the UK - pic: CSP Facebook|
“CSP tour in the UK has been absolutely brilliant. We've added a second guitarist, Jason Shaw, a Scot who has recently moved to Kampot. Also a horn section. All this ended up being recorded and broadcast live by BBC3 at WOMAD and sounded blimmin' marvellous. Other news is that CSP's newest album 'Electric Blue Boogaloo' is now available on CD and we'll have copies on sale in Cambodia from next week.”
Cheers, Julien. Bokor Mountain Magic Band will continue their rocking journey with a home-coming gig at KAMA in Kampot on Saturday night. Meanwhile, Miss Sarawan Band will be extending the Cambodian 'Golden Era' vibe at FCC – The Mansion. Ultra-cute twin sisters Lay Mealea and Lay Mealai will be performing on Saturday with a full band including guest tro (an instrument described as the 'Khmer violin') player Om Ton.
Bat'Bangers Band will be rocking Sharky Bar on
Saturday night. These four fresh-faced young guys from Battambang
play modern, high-energy Khmer-language rock'n'roll with a great deal
of exuberance. Bat'Bangers Band are relatively new to
the Cambodian music scene but have already toured the length and
breadth of The Kingdom.
Fare-thee-well, our Scoddy
Best Leng Pleng wishes and good luck to Scott Bywater as he prepares to leave Cambodia following a very productive few months of music-making. Knowing 'Scoddy', it will only be a matter of time before he swings by these traps again. Before he steps on to that big bus, however, there will be enough time to see him perform a farewell solo gig at Farm To Table on Friday evening, a mixed-media poetry show, The Stones Are Awake, at Meta House on Saturday and at the Sunday Sundowners open-mic session at Alley Cat Cafe. Attend all three gigs to win a signed book of poetry by Scott Bywater (unconfirmed).
|'Scoddy' at Showbox with Andre Swart. pic: Show Box Facebook|
Rockin' on in Kompong Som
Brooke Palmer is a talented singer-songwriter from the U.S.A. She gave up a 'cushy expat life' in Shanghai to hit the road, armed only with 'one big backpack and one ukulele'! ('Traveling Uke' YouTube channel). Like many other musicians travelling through Asia, Brooke soon discovered the irresistible charms of the Cambodian lifestyle and last year settled in Sihanoukville. Since then, she has been lighting up Kompong Som music spots with her beautiful and powerful voice and tiny instrument. Brooke Palmer told Leng Pleng how she keeps working even during the 'low season':
“I'm busy because I'm kind of the only regularly working musician around! I'm very versatile because I play a really wide variety of music and try to play 'to the people' and keep things accessible. The scene is very supportive and friendly. It seems like a lot more businesses are getting going with live music now because they want to get set up for high season. I like low season because there is not so much 'noise' - you get to know people and businesses better. There are still a lot of musicians around who want to jam and we've had a lot of very talented travellers come through... so there's still some variety.”
Brooke Palmer performs weekly at Utopia, Led Zephyr and Wish You Were Here in Sihanoukville. Keep up-to-date by checking the 'regular gigs' section of the Leng Pleng Gig Guide and follow Brooke's adventures via her Facebook page and YouTube channel. Check out the video above to hear an original Brooke Palmer song.
Whatever you're up to over the next few days, stay safe out there and... see you around the traps!
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