Jean-Luc Jousse will be enjoying his first ever gigs on Cambodian soil over the next few days. His band – The Kleps – are ultra-hip psychedelic punksters from France and Jean Luc himself has worked with some of the coolest names in alternative music. Check out our Leng Pleng interview with Jean-Luc Jousse to find out more.
The Kleps, along with fellow psych hipsters Frankie Teardrop Dead and Australian troubadour Justin Frew will be jamming poolside tonight (Thursday) at Villa Grange. The Phnom Penh gig is the first event of the inaugural Folk Art and Blues Festival. As festival organiser Julien Poulson told Leng Pleng:
Tonight we’re flying the flag for the first F.A.B. Festival. It’s grown out of the resources we’ve built up around the Kampot Readers and Writers Festival – including venues, networks of people. F.A.B. is an opportunity to build an audience as well as mix up international guests with local artists. It’s interesting to see people coming in for a little trip… then coming back with a bigger plan! ‘Folk, Art and Blues’ because we’re looking at the origins of things, the literature of lyricism, literature of the blues… and the idea of a very ‘do it yourself’ construct. In Kampot we will have concerts, an open recording session run by Jason Shaw, a woodcut artist from Borneo… and we’ll have the Srey School of Rock getting some experience of running the festival compound. There’s a lot going on.
It’s very organic, the Cambodian scene is still a very small community and everyone comes together… the amazing thing is that in the last ten years there has been this international network that The Cambodian Space Project tapped into. That just continues to bear fruit, and what that fruit is… is that other artists and musicians we meet along the way end up here, or we end up at their place. Here, rather than just talk about it we have to record it and document it and present it… disseminate it out there to the world. Otherwise, it’s just like a monsoon rain – it hits a hot Cambodian road and evaporates as quickly as it pours down.”
A hugely important cultural milestone will be reached in Cambodia next year, when a new production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute will be staged at an Angkorian temple. A group of professional opera singers from Vietnam, Singapore and Korea are currently in Cambodia to spread the word about this amazing event, along with American pianist John Ferguson. The performers will be holding a special concert at FCC – The Mansion this Friday evening, with a repertoire comprising of arias from The Magic Flute and some favourite pieces by other composers. The concert represents an extraordinary chance to hear six world class singers in a unique environment and something of a preview towards a first Cambodian Magic Flute concert scheduled at the Chaktomuk Theatre in Phnom Penh this March.
While this Friday may be ‘Straya Day’, a group of Darwin musicians known as The Jigsaw Collective have made their way back to The Kingdom of Wonder for the occasion. Jigsaw turned many heads back in November when they scythed their way through the Cambodian music scene with a series of thrilling performances, combining expert musicianship with a somewhat freewheeling and unpredictable live show. Basically, they are full of beans, with frontman Jack bouncing up and down and swapping instruments between songs. The Jigsaw sound is hard to define but definitely comprises elements of swing jazz and Eastern-European influences, with a hippie vibe. Check out their set at Bassac Lane this Friday and at Oscar Bar in Phnom Penh on Saturday.
Whatever you’re up to over the next few days, stay safe out there and… see you around the traps!