Original music is a key feature of the Phnom Penh music scene this week, as a number of artists point the way beyond the established norms of go-to covers and standards, towards fresh live gigs and recording projects. Somewhere on the horizon (no longer over the rainbow!), shifting slowly into view, gradually revealing its form… is the future shape of Cambodian music.
Perhaps the most highly energised producer-performer on the scene, Mehdi ‘12ME’ Benabdessadok, will return to the FCC rooftop on Friday night for another session of genre-mashing, multi-lingual hip-hop. As you will see from the excellent 12ME YouTube channel, Mehdi is always focused on his next music video, beat-making session or artistic collaboration. 12ME will share the stage with DJ Niko Yu, vocalist Sang Sok Serey and roneat player Lina Bong at FCC on Friday. Click here to read more about 12ME’s latest album, entitled ‘Oh Kampuchea’.
Roxane Dumont, like so many other creative souls, could not resist an extended return visit to The Kingdom of Wonder. The singer-guitarist from Switzerland is back on the Cambodian scene this week, which is very good news for audiences at Farm to Table this Friday and Bouchon next Wednesday evening. Roxane has partnered with extraordinarily talented guitarist Aymen Ghali to bring out the best of her mixed gypsy-reggae-flamenco fusion repertoire.
Grace and the Hound are Phnom Penh-based duo Jessica and Saswat. This American-Nepalese team provide a silky-smooth combination of pop and indie, contemporary and classic, with a good helping of original songs bubbling up into the mix. Add some awesome male-female close harmony singing and you are certainly on to a winner. Check out Grace and the Hound in the intimate environs of the upstairs room at Cloud in Phnom Penh this Friday night.
The Sound Initiative is the latest music talent mentoring program to hit Cambodia, launching with a huge concert at Hard Rock Phnom Penh on Saturday. An early-evening showtime will be required to squeeze in a stupendously long list of both emerging and highly established Cambodian performers including P-Sand and Vartey Ganiva and Sound Initiative ambassadors Kmeng Khmer and Laura Mam. The program itself is already underway and aims to foster the talent of a large group of young Cambodian creative artists. Singer-songwriter Laura told Leng Pleng: “[The Soundwave Concert] is a really nice to event to come and support Cambodia’s original music artist scene mobilize to create the next chapter of the original music movement in gaining music education access!”
Exciting news from Metta Legita, who this week released the below teaser vid for her upcoming album of original music entitled Scenic Spirit. Exceptionally talented pianist and composer Metta told Leng Pleng: “The album is an eight-song collection of my original compositions… I recorded five songs in Jakarta, Indonesia [Metta is originally from Indonesia] and three more songs in Phnom Penh. The tracks are all instrumental, with two songs featuring chanting or humming from me!”
Sounds great to us, Metta, and we look forward to hearing the full Scenic Spirit album!
Whatever you’re up to over the next few days, stay safe out there and… see you around the traps!