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

Weekly Wrap - Commencing Thursday the 30th June 2016

Another blast of cool and original music will be firing off around the Kingdom of Wonder this week. Read on to discover what Chrieng Chapei means, how you can join a live electronica leaving party, and the true meaning of Cambodian shoegaze!

Simoun is the latest innovative offering from long-time Phnom Penh live music man Jon Banules. Jon is leaving behind the pop-oriented cover song repertoires of The Fumes and Soular Eclipse for something more experimental. Keyboardist Banules combines with guitarists Gem Habito and Sonic, bass-player Genesis and drummer Mike Forster to produce a wall of epic, spacey sound built with many layers of audio effects and driving rhythms. Simoun will play a mixed set of originals and choice alternative-rock covers at Oscar's On The Corner in Phnom Penh this Friday night. The group is a welcome change from the usual Phnom Penh bar band fare – requests for 'Hotel California' will probably not be met with a positive response!

Now do you see why they call it 'shoegaze'? Simoun – pic Simoun Facebook

What do you think of when you hear the term 'traditional Khmer music' ? The musical experience of many visitors to Cambodia may be limited to the hotel lobby – where a bored-looking guy in a silk tunic is gently tinkling a rosewood xylophone ('roneat'). Or perhaps one calls to mind an elderly gentleman being led around the local market – scraping out a coarse tune on a steel-stringed cousin of the violin ('tro'). Thankfully, there is much more to traditional Cambodian music and Cambodian folk music than the normal tourist experience. Catching a show by Cambodian Living Arts is a very good start. The CLA troupe combine many elements of Cambodian performance art (dance, music, costume, drama, comedy) in a slickly choreographed show (three or four nights per week) at the National Museum in Phnom Penh.

Carrying the tradition forward: Kong Boran – pic: Demo Magazine Flickr

The sound of the Chapei Dong Weng is a key element of Cambodian traditional music. The three-stringed, long-necked guitar is heard as part of an ensemble of instruments or played as solo accompaniment to a singer ('chrieng chapei'). In the tradition of Chrieng Chapei, a performer such as Master Kong Nay will combine storytelling and comedy with his singing and Chapei playing. The experience of a Chrieng Chapei performance is vibrant and entertaining – even if you cannot understand most of the words! Kong Boran (the son of Kong Nay) will be giving a solo Chrieng Chapei performance at Duplex in Phnom Penh on Saturday night, preceding a show by the Miss Sarawan Acoustic Quartet. This gig will be a great chance to hear some 'traditional' Khmer sounds presented in an up-to-date context.

Warren Daly's Invisble Agent record label will be putting on a party at 3 Mangoes in Phnom Penh on Saturday night. The electronica and ambient music-focussed imprint, based in the Kingdom of Wonder, will be saying goodbye to soon-to-be-relocated artists Hal 'Audio Mainline' FX and Lorna Cave. The farewell bash will comprise of a live electronica set featuring steel 'hand-pan' percussion and electric guitar, a live performance from Hal and Lorna themselves and a DJ set stretching into the early hours of the morning. Good times and good music guaranteed.

The Cambodian Space Project contacted Leng Pleng this week to let us know about some startling revelations concerning Kosmic Kows an enigmatic, psychedelic rock'n'roll band with links to global espionage, cryptocurrencies and mind control techniques. Read the full, incredible, story here. The Kows are also referenced in brand new CSP music video 5 Lady Cows – the first release from the band's recent collaboration with legendary Detroit-based producer Jim Diamond. Watch this Leng Pleng space for more tracks from the Space Project recording sessions at 60 Road Studios in Siem Reap. In the meantime, enjoy this very Krazy and Kosmic skit from CSP:

For more essential and original music of Cambodian origin, it is always worth checking back to the Klapyahandz Youtube channel. Producer Sok 'Cream' Visal has uploaded hundreds of clips of live footage, original music videos and documentary content. Klapyahandz is dedicated to producing and promoting original Cambodian music, focussing on 'hip-hop, r'n'b and alternative music'. The latest Klapyahandz rising star is Oun – a funky, reggae-dancehall-influenced Cambodian vocalist. Oun's forthcoming track 'Reatrey Penh Vong Noeuv Chhne Samoth' will soon be available via Klapyahandz.

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


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