Greetings from Leng Pleng Towers, here in the swelteringly-hot back streets of Phnom Penh. Timothy, Ted and myself have been blasting the office air-con and ordering up litres of iced dteuk ampal to provide some relief from the daily 40-degree-plus temperatures. Phnom Penh musicians also seem to be taking shelter from the heat this week – there is an unusually sparse sprinkling of gigs happening around the city. Fortunately, there are still some unmissable events happening – including the return of Phnom Penh's most popular international band, and a special performance taking place for International Jazz Day.
Miss Sarawan Acoustic Quartet will kick off the weekend at Paddy Rice on Friday night. The new band line-up includes 'The Amazing' Antti Siitonen on cajon and percussion, adding a good helping of rhythm and groove into the mix. Jeff Sleeman adds lyrical lead guitar to the classic Khmer soprano of Miss Sarawan, creating a soothing acoustic musical blend.
|Channty Kak returns to Phnom Penh with CSP on Saturday night. pic: CSP website|
The big news of the weekend is the very first appearance on Cambodian soil in 2016 of The Cambodian Space Project (CSP). The psychedelic-space-rockers have spent the past few months touring Taiwan and Australia and getting ready to record their fifth studio album! The Exchange will host their eagerly-awaited home-coming gig on Saturday night. CSP manager Anthony Lefferts got in touch with Leng Pleng to let us know the latest exciting developments from mission control:
“The band is back in town! The full line-up for Saturday's gig is Channthy on lead vocals, Julien Poulson on guitar and keyboard, Jason Shaw on guitar and of course Phea on bass and Bong Sak on drums. Also a couple of special guests – we hope to get Sinn Sethakol up for some songs. The gig at The Exchange is running in conjunction with an exhibition at Space Four Zero [2pm to 6pm on Saturday] – a joint exhibition featuring Julien's Sticky Fingers – Art Prints Cambodia and Idle Beats Gallery from Shanghai. Every year they pick a different city, collaborate on projects and film the whole thing. You will see some very cool music and film posters.
Famous author Clinton Walker will be 'getting on the bus' with CSP this May.
Clinton Walker will be at the exhibition and at the gig on Saturday. It's a real coup for us to get him involved in the event and he will be the official writer for the upcoming Motown to the Mekong tour. Clinton is a famous writer from Australia and a champion of Aboriginal music. He has written around ten books on the Australian music scene and co-hosted the Australian music TV show 'Studio 22'. He is a music encyclopedia!
Legendary music producer Jim Diamond will be coming over from Detroit for four days, with the kind support of the US Embassy. CSP are getting ready to record an album with him at 60 Road Studios in Siem Reap! The Motown to The Mekong tour is going to be huge... more news about that soon... see you on Saturday!”
|Shades of Etta, Billie and Janis on International Jazz Day: Chinese singer 'CY'|
Saturday the 30th April is UNESCO International Jazz Day. Jazz musicians are something of a rare breed in Cambodia, but pianist, singer and multi-instrumentalist Phil Javelle has made sure there will be at least one appropriately high-quality jazz music event taking place on Saturday. This year Phil will be performing for Jazz Day at Chinese House in Phnom Penh, together with superb vocalist CY. Phil and CY will be exploring 'both Chinese 1930's decadence era and mainstream Mando and Canto pop tunes - re-arranging them with a twist of modern Western jazz'. Sounds to us like another classic Phil Javelle event: top-drawer live music in salubrious surroundings!
Whatever you're up to over the next few days, stay safe out there and... see you around the traps!
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