Greetings, Leng Pleng-ers, we sincerely hope you have fully prepared for a very quiet Saturday and Sunday ‘around the traps’ this week. Our guess is that many of you are reading this in the environs of your Yangon, Saigon, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur hotel room having booked a quick city break.
Some weekend downtime might give us a good opportunity to catch up on our listening list – check out recent Cambodian-recorded releases we’ve covered by The Kampot Playboys, Scott Bywater, Hypnotic Fist Technique and Vibratone, as well as eclectic offerings like the excellent back-catalog of Kampot’s DJ Mute Speaker or field recordings which have documented the music of the late Bunong Tribesman Nyel Che and an ‘Arakk’ healing ceremony.
This week, Leng Pleng spoke with piano whizz Metta Legita in preparation for her forthcoming album launch show at Chinese House. Metta was kind enough to let us have a sneak preview of the album, entitled Scenic Spirit, and also sat down with us to tell us more about her background and how her stunning jazz compositions are realised:
We rehearse the band first. We have the chart which I give them: this is the intro, how long for the solo… after we play together, we will have the same form… then there is a lot of improvisation within that form. All my compositions were recorded live, no tracking, except in the case of the second track, ‘Dreams’, which featured trumpet player Iwan Hasan. I recorded the trio live: piano, contrabass and drums – but he could not attend when we were recording so he recorded his part later.
The album was recorded in Indonesia last year and this year… two times, two sessions of recording in Jakarta. I made the first five songs in Indonesia and the last three were recorded in Phnom Penh in early 2018: Between Us, Dreams and I’ll Be Back.
If you were to play these [reharmonised] chords in pop music it would be weird… the interval of the chords is moving around… but you can make it become beautiful. If you analyse the music theory for this song, it’s going to be difficult… it’s out of the diatonic [Sol-Fa] progression. – METTA LEGITA
Thanks to Metta for talking with us, and we can safely say that the album is absolutely superb. If, like some of us here at Leng Pleng Towers, you have decided to stick around the city and dodge the roadblocks to find some fantastic live music happenings… there are many awesome events in Phnom Penh this Friday night. The fantastic voice of Kristen Rasmussen will be regaling early evening gig-goers at Farm to Table while U.S. music industry veteran and wannabe game show host Greg Beshers will play an acoustic show at Tacos Kokopelli. Later on Friday, the excellent 99 Boyz will be looking to turn Duplex into (1990’s era) party central.
Whatever you’re up to over the next few days, stay safe out there and… see you around the traps! 🙂