'...unbeknownst to most of us, the founder Wayne Matthysse had installed a strobe light in the ceiling and turned it on. Almost as if on cue and choreographed, some 40 plus kids, international volunteers (and myself!) started wildly jumping up and down to this energetic song and pulsating strobe light for 5 minutes. Afterwards, breathlessly I said to Wayne, “That’s the most fun I’ve ever had!” to which he calmly replied, “Oh…. we know how to party at Wat Opot”.'
|Miss Sarawan and Andre Swart at WOMP 2013|
Read more in an article for Leng Pleng written by Wat Opot Music Program organiser and ace Phnom Penh musician James Speck as he prepares for an event on Sunday 21st December. A cavalcade of local musicians will make the journey from Phnom Penh to Wat Opot in Takeo Province to 'celebrate music, dance and humanity'. More details about this amazing festival, and how to get there, in next week's wrap.
Leng Pleng is pleased to note that Meta House are hosting two great live music gigs this week. This follows on from the success of last Sunday's 'Made in Germany' festival at the Phnom Penh Night-market. Thursday evening will see 9999 Arts Group combine music with film as singer Max Jones and band will perform down-tempo blues and excellent original songs against the atmospheric backdrop of 'street videography of New York City in the 1980s'. The footage was shot by 9999 Arts Group in the days before cameras and smartphones were ubiquitous and captures some rare moments of street life in N.Y.C. The films were very nearly destroyed in 1998 when an apartment building in Manhattan was being demolished. Videographer Marc Friedlander rushed into the building to rescue a bag of tapes. He narrowly avoided death by wrecking ball but unfortunately failed to avoid arrest by the authorities. Watch out for this dangerous character at Meta House on Thursday. Below is one of Marc's videos from a few years ago. It exudes some cool footage from South-East Asia.
On Friday the Klezbodians will return to Meta House and will play what may possibly be their very last gig together. The band combines clarinet, saxophone, guitar, dumbek and bass on spirited renditions of klezmer songs. Klezmer is the unique-sounding, traditional Yiddish folk music of Eastern Europe. In Phnom Penh you will find that musicians come and go and, as such, great bands split up. So we totally recommend that you do not miss this unique opportunity and get down to see a wonderful fusion of excellent musicians tear it up one last time.
Klezbodians – pic: www.kenedgar.com
Amazing Anniversary Picnic is a special music festival taking place this Saturday afternoon at Mith Samlanh Centre in Phnom Penh. Skip James, Kheltica, Miss Sarawan and Tamaraka Trio are just a few of several great acts helping to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Friends-International NGO – an organisation that 'works to help marginalised urban children and youth, their families and communities to become productive, independent citizens of their country.' Join the party from 2pm (and don't worry - there will be plenty of beer and food available - as well as great music).
Thai punks Itchy Band continue their hectic tour of Cambodia this week with back-to-back dates at Led Zephyr in Sihanoukville and then in Siem Reap at the Laundry Bar and X-Bar. Lead singer Ingi has a great stage presence and the band rock out their mixed set of originals and covers with a lot of attitude. Read Johnny Longbow's irreverent Q&A session for Leng Pleng to find out more about all-girl quartet Ingi, Ra-Ra, Fon and Bess.
In other news, Vientiane-based group Sugar Mouth hit FCC – The Mansion on Saturday to give Phnom Penh a taste of the expat music scene happening in Laos. The band play melodic rock and power pop with an emphasis on danceable rhythms. I managed to track down a live a YouTube video of Sugar Mouth to give you a taste of what to expect. Note that the video comes with a health warning – the shaky camera work around 2:05 will probably make you feel nauseous.
Finally, a word of thanks to Michael Hsu of Sharky Bar for the kind award of 'Sharky Bar Music Legend 2014' presented to Leng Pleng founder Television Ted during the hugely successful and memorable Penhstock V festival last weekend. The trophy will take pride of place on the mantelpiece at Leng Pleng Towers.
Whatever you're up to over the next few days, stay safe out there and... see you around the traps!