That ‘Friday feeling’ really does seem to have taken hold in Phnom Penh with a disproportionate amount of gig scheduling decisions now flying in the face of time-honoured lyrical advice by those inviolate totems of popular culture Sam Cooke and Little Richard, Cold Chisel and Elton John, the Bay City Rollers and… Whigfield. Although it (physically) pains me to say it… I’m afraid that in Phnom Penh… Friday is the New Saturday!!
Creative juices will be flowing at Cloud this weekend as the dynamic 12ME (‘Doozme’) produces the eleventh instalment of his Hip Hop Takeover series. 12ME, The multi-lingual rapper from Marseilles, will team up with Cambodian artists Parker Jones and Chee Chea, Toke and Monyroum from France and Niko Yu from Denmark. A public Cloud workshop from 7pm on Friday will see these hip-hop artists create completely new songs from scratch and a 10pm performance will present the new songs to audience, together with live painting from Davido, Kakada, Sokheng and Kwan. Momentous!
Anna Tsang will bring her Cordes et Lames (‘Ropes and Blades’) trio to Farm to Table this Friday night. This young Khmer accordion-playing artist has added spice to the classic Gypsy-inspired swing-jazz and waltz repertoire with a good helping of original compositions. The theme of original songs will continue at Farm on Sunday during a special concert by Miss Sarawan, when the Khmer songstress will premiere songs from her forthcoming album, with the show being filmed and recorded for web broadcast.
Also on Friday, Scoddy Bywater’s Moi Tiet ensemble will visit Alchemy for a muscular three-guitar assault. The Moi Tiet ‘wall of sound’ (bolstered by the hard-hitting Jedil Robelo on drums) adds some punch and guts to Bywater originals normally heard live in a solo acoustic setting. Check out Scoddy’s Shore to Shore album for full studio readings of thirteen of his finest folky-literary-earworms… and watch this space for details of a new Bywater duo featuring Greg Beshers.
Leng Pleng may never tire of repeating it, but there is still something about this Phnom Penh music scene that reels in foreigner musicians and keeps them coming back for more (often notwithstanding the third or fourth ‘leaving’ do – when the muso in question terminates the lease on their Phnom Penh apartment again, and settles back in The West again, only to later find, again, that they just can’t do without us!). Quite frankly, it is not hard to figure out why this still small (easy to navigate), inclusive (easy to meet everyone) and (still relatively) cheap and cheerful place to live is so popular amongst creatives… for now. Greg Beshers hit town a few months ago and quickly got to work at Oscars On The Corner, unreservedly sharing his years of pro circuit experience to add musical weight to Cambodia Country Band (Monday nights), The Extraordinary Chambers (Thursdays) and a new Oscar’s house band each Tuesday. Greg has put together The South East Asian Soul Revue, a still fledgling but hugely promising outfit featuring the stunning lead vocals of Mirasol Aguila. The formerly Austin, Texas and New York City-based Greg has cooked up a 1970’s-inspired funky musical soup that is just about ready to come to the boil and serve, piping hot. Check out the S.E.A. Soul Revue this coming Monday and Tuesday nights at Oscar’s.
Whatever you’re up to over the next few days, stay safe out there and… see you around the traps!