There was a closing up of open mics at the end of last year, but now they seem to be back for low season. On a Thursday you can double dip at The Deck (Tuol Tom Pong) from 8 pm with Shira Kaliski, and Good Times Bar from 10 pm with Jeffro Starks. Bona’s Pub has two: on Wednesday and Saturday nights. Long running regulars such as the Sunday Sundower Sessions at Tacos Kokopelli and Sharky’s Sunday night jam continue, followed chronologically by Ernie Buck’s at Good Times Bar on Monday and Dave Z’s at Sundance Inn & Saloon on Tuesday. Then the LF Social Club jam on a Wednesday night is generally packed. Remember: many a band is formed out of an open mic, and it’s a good place to hear what others have to offer.
Meanwhile, one of Phnom Penh’s regular visitors Phil O’Flaherty is in town. Described by music magazine New Folk Sounds as the Irish James Taylor, Phil’s repertoire leans to the folk and Celtic side, a strong Irish soul voice and engaging guitar. He’ll be at Botanico on Saturday and Bona’s Pub on Sunday.
Of interest to fans of Cambodian Golden Era music, DJ Oro presents a Cambodia Vintage Night at Hard Rock Phnom Penh, screening footage of old Cambodia. Relatives of Sinn Sisamuth will be present.
For your acoustic Friday evening, there’s Ernie Buck at Botanico and Rob Narciso at LF Garden, while Pavel Ramirez (check out the Pavel profile in Good Times 2) performs his original zargzloopz at Farm to Table, and later in the evening Duo Sympatico at Bona’s Pub. For a more jazz feel Cecile Dahome Quartet at Alchemy features Euan Grey, Andrey Meshcheryakov and Stan Pelaco.
On Saturday early finds Robin Narciso at Cloud, later Jazz Johnston at LF Garden, Antonio and the Experiment at Alchemy and the modified Moi Tiet of the Scoddy Acoustic Quartet at Oscar’s on the Corner.
The Leng Pleng Weekly Feature
Our special feature this week is Notes from the studio – Miss Sarawan Band recording Sabay Jong Jam.
The album’s producer, Greg Beshers, gives us a daily rundown of the recording process at 60 Road Studios in Siem Reap.
“We set up a vocal mic and we started cutting Mealea’s vocals. She was super, super on, absolutely in the zone, really brought her strong voice out. She cut three new vocals, and re-did another that she had done on day two. She nailed it.”
Passing chords: a few things you might not know about…
David Zdriluk, aka Canadian Dave or Dave Z, is mainly seen on Phnom Penh stages playing bass, but he is also a fine finger-picking guitarist and sings a wonderful collection of idiosyncratic songs. He has played extensively in Canada, also toured the USA and Europe, sitting across many styles: bluegrass, rockabilly, blues, rock’n’roll, country swing, as well as accompanying folkies and singer-songwriters. Outfits he has worked with include Jennifer Birch, the Lascivious Wombats, the Psychonics, the Decorative Knobs, the Dixie Flyers, and one night only, David Zdriluk and the F**g Assholes. Currently he’s a member of the Cambodia Country Band and The Extraordinary Chambers, and he also hosts an open mic every Tuesday night at Sundance Inn and Saloon.
Your pet musical hate:
Marching bands. Once I lived in a house with three musicians, and one of them used to put marching band music on in the morning. It put me off.
The year you arrived in Cambodia:
2004, I believe, either Phnom Penh or Battambang, I’m not sure which was first. But mainly here.
An early musical memory:
My uncle Alec in Scotland was living with my family on our farm in Canada, and he had a recording of Bobby Darin singing Splish Splash, and also a recording of Chilly Willy the Penguin. They were my first exposure to the grand world of music.
What does a quiet night in look like?
Cooking, washing dishes, reading and playing a bit of music. Reading with my son Julian.
Did you ever meet one of your musical heroes?
A few, actually. I met John Prine, that was very good. Bluegrass people – Dr Ralph Stanley, Bill Munroe, Jimmy Martin, Lester Flatt. And Levon Helm – and also Muddy Waters.
A country that you would like to visit that you haven’t been to yet?
New Zealand. You can buy a car at the top of north island and drive it to the bottom of the south island and sell it to someone who’ll drive it back to the north. I’ve met a number of people who’ve done it.
What’s the funniest thing about Canada?
There is nothing funny about Canada. Nothing at all.
Steve Porte photo of the week
Steve’s comment: The master, Kong Nay. Quiet, humble, and an absolute master.
Stay safe out there, and see you around the traps.