I'm going to be honest with you – I will be glad to see the back of September and October. These months are largely a dull time for happenings on the Cambodian music scene. With November about to kick off, we have a lot of cool things to look forward to. The venue Simone Art, situated on the site of the Boeng Kak Lake in Phnom Penh, has already begun it's 2015 'high season' – which continues tonight with a performance from experimental electronic music artist Saphy 'Lafidki' Vong. In Sihanoukville, The Venue is gearing up for live bands – while Otres Market is building an entirely new staging area in preparation for their re-opening party at the end of November.
|Cast and crew of Hanuman Spaceman, Kampot 2014. pic: David Rosenberger|
The peaceful riverside city of Kampot looks set to continue the transformation from expat outpost to breakaway cultural centre over the next weeks and months. In addition to the newly-opened Banyan Tree and the soon-to-be-opened Kampot Fishmarket, Tantrei Sunset Music Bar will this weekend join the growing number of live music and arts venues in Kampot. Tantrei is one of several venues hosting the inaugural Kampot Writers & Readers Festival (KWRF) – an official sister event of the international Ubud Writers & Readers Festival - to take place in Kampot between the 5th and 8th November. The scope of the event has grown from a literary festival into a larger arts event, including many live music concerts. Judging by the huge buzz of anticipation preceding KWRF 2015, it seems that Kampot is more than ready to stage an international arts event. Read more about KWRF 2015 in this special edition wrap written by Leng Pleng's Television Ted.
Stay tuned to Leng Pleng for more information about the music events taking place at the KWRF - in next week's wrap. We also have, in the second week of November, the 12th International Music Festival Phnom Penh to look forward to! Festival Director Anton Isselhardt will be continuing with his mission to bring world-class classical music performers to Cambodia. This year's festival program will focus on the period of history from the Age of Enlightenment until Romanticism (1700-1900). With these two festivals coming up, and lots more exciting things on the horizon, the words of Phoeurng Sackona, Cambodian Minister of Culture and Fine Arts, seem uncannily wise and timely:
|Phoeurng Sackona – pic: Khmer Times|
“Once again we discover here the strong binding ties of art. They demonstrate clearly that behind all fascinating diversity, there is always something in common among us all. We may call this cultural archetypes. Music is an ideal medium for turning concrete and even conceptual experiences into an all-permeating positive sensation, which then may enlighten our constructive individual imagination. Or in other words, music enables us individually and together to participate in a unique and yet universal experience. This may lead to quite new artistic horizons.”
- Phoeurng Sackon, festival notes, 12th International Music Festival Phnom Penh, November 2015.
|Halloween is rubbish – pic: http://rickssummer.blogspot.com/2012/10/halloween.html|
As this coming weekend marks the last day of October, it is traditional for many venues to insert the word 'Halloween' into their weekly promotions. Looking at this week's Leng Pleng Gig Guide, I would assign a ratio of roughly fifty percent to well-thought-out fun theme nights and fifty percent to gigs arranged hastily with the vague intention of reaping some share of the vapid commercialism surrounding a meaningless non-holiday. I will let you decide which is which. Fortunately, you will still find a number of great gigs coming up over the next few days.
Diego DiMarques – pic: supplied
Diego DiMarques will make a welcome return to Phnom Penh for a solo acoustic gig at Cabaret Restaurant tonight (Thursday). If you are new to Cambodia, you may not have yet had the opportunity to catch this charismatic Gypsy-Flamenco guitar master in person. Cabaret provides a salubrious and high-quality listening environment in which to do so.
Shanghai Bar will re-enter the Phnom Penh live music scene this weekend with a gig by Australian musician and entertainer Graham Cain. Graham has also branched out into the world of event promotions with his new talent agency, Hat's Off Entertainment Promotions. Check out his website for more details – could be a good opportunity for local musicians trying to find gigs, or local venues looking to find musicians!
Heavy metal band Knell will make one last visit to Sharky Bar this Saturday before band leader Doug Marsden takes his leave of Cambodia. The tightly-knit and hard-hitting rockers are inspired by bands such as Tool, Gojira and Metallica.
Speaking of hard-hitting rockers, check out the newly-released album by Psychotic Reactions, which is available via YouTube link below – posted by Psychotics drummer and producer Professor Kinski. The band is on a hiatus at the moment, but we hope that it is only a matter of time before Laura Snook's band of hardcore punks return to the live music scene.
Whatever you're up to over the next few days... stay safe out there and... see you around the traps!
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