Weekly wrap – Commencing Thursday 25 July 2019


Probably the best band in the land, the Kampot Playboys are on their way to Darwin, but first they’ll delight audiences in Cambodia twice! On Friday night in Kampot, they perform as part of the festivities the final night for Banyan Tree at its current location (it’s moving to another spot on the river), then they all get on the road and come to Phnom Penh to play at LF Social Club on Saturday night. Let’s give them a hell of a send-off.

First, though, on Friday night, Facebook group Expats & Locals in Phnom Penh step out of cyber space with a special event at Hard Rock Café Phnom Penh to celebrate reaching 20,000 followers, featuring Tiny Toones, The Sound Initiative and Sang Sok Serey. Meanwhile at The Bodelian, dress up as a gangsta for Alisa Afuda & the Nob Mob.

Also on Friday, swing by and to Intan Metta Duo at Farm to Table, Gonzalo Rodino is at Botanico, there’s a double header of Samsara and Vince & the Bassman at Cloud, and Lisa Concepcion is at LF Garden. Out at Alchemy there’s blues with Chi-Town, and later Fawlty Powers hit Oscar’s on the Corner.

On Saturday afternoon and evening, The Vine are hosting a growing Australian tradition, Christmas in July, with music from Ernie Buck and Jazure. Elsewhere Java Tuol Kork features Sreng Oneill and Chorn Ratanak, Lisa Concepcion is at Mikawa, Alchemy has Hot Club de Phnom Penh, Vanntin Hoeurn is in the garden at CloudGrace and The Hound are at Botanico, and Vince & the Bassman are at Bona’s Pub, with a jam to follow.

And the music doesn’t slow down on Sunday. At Factory Phnom Penh, KBach Gallery have their open mic and brunch, followed later nearby by the Original Sessions with Small World Small Band, while there’s a classical concert at the Himawari Hotel by pianist Nicholas Ho. Ernie Buck is guest host at the Sundowners Sessions at Tacos Kokopelli, Alisa Afuda and Phil Javelle are on at Hops, and there’s the regular Sharky Bar open mic.

For a louder experience, Get in the Penh VI: a special early Sunday metal show at Oscar’s on the Corner featuring our own Reign in Slumber (see the weekly feature below) and two bands from Indonesia, Tiderays and AK47, followed by the regular house band at the usual time.

Come Wednesday you can find Dane with Scoddy at Le Boutier, and the regular Bouchon Wednesday treat features Kenjah David, Gunter Hofmans, Philippe Javelle and Antti Siitonen.

The Leng Pleng Weekly Feature

Cambodian rock’n’roll can’t have seen anything like this for a while. August 2019 will see Doch Chkae play at Wacken Festival in Germany, the Kampot Playboys travel to be part of Darwin Festival in northern Australia, and Reign in Slumber are leaving for three dates in Malaysia. Vanntin ‘Tin’ Hoeurn (bass and vocals), Alan Ou (drums) and Nara Tsitra (guitar) sat down to talk with Leng Pleng ahead of their tour, and their weekend engagement at Oscar’s on the Corner supporting Indonesian bands Tiderays and AK47.

Reign in Slumber, they explain, play what is called Blackened Crust.   “It’s a mixture of Black Metal and Crust Punk,” Tin says. “The guitar riffs are very heavily black metal influenced, while the drum beat is more punk.”

Read the whole feature here.

Passing chords: a few things you might not know about…

Colin Grafton. Harmonica player, singer and blues afficianado. Well-known for popping up to jam on stages across the city, as well as his work the duo Blues Routes.

Your pet musical hate: I have a few, but one that springs to mind is Johnny Cash. Ring Of Fire awakens an immediate desire in me to run off and hide behind another beer. I’ll sit that one out. I actually prefer Hotel California! Having got that off my chest, I’ll now admit that I find nothing stimulating in most hiphop, rap and techno music. To me it’s flat noise and difficult to play with. I just run out of breath and get a headache.

A private musical indulgence:
Listening to crackly old jazz and blues records… and Mose Allison, of course. I have an obsession with Cambodian classical dance, but not so much with the pinpeat music that goes with it…

The year you came to Cambodia:
First time, 1972 (I left in April ’75). This time, 2014. Things have changed.

 An early music memory:
The first record I bought (1960?) was an EP of King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band (1923) starring Louis Armstrong (his first recording). My Mum, who was relieved that I seemed to have escaped Elvis unscathed, was horrified to hear the hiss, crackle and pop (it was a ‘race’ record, so they probably recorded it on marshmallow). Krooked Blues was the first real blues I ever heard in my life. I had to listen a dozen times before I could actually hear the music.

For live music, a good year was 1963, when the American Folk Blues Festival came to London with Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters, Memphis Slim and Lonnie Johnson. Later on, I went to see Thelonious Monk.

(Can I have one more?) Sitting in front of Jo Ann Kelly down in the old folk cellar Bunjies off Charing Cross Road. She’s singing Memphis Minnie’s Nothin’ In Ramblin’ and playing bottleneck 12-string. It’s the blues again, but she’s a Brit. She turned me on to Robert Johnson.

Your favourite food:
Usually what’s in front of me, since my wife is a great cook (and will read this). Okay, if I have to choose one dish, it’s sashimi (but not in Phnom Penh, and not without good sake). If it’s a choice between national cuisines, then Japanese, Indian and Cambodian. I do not miss baked beans or fish and chips, and I don’t care about hamburgers, but I do need Marmite and peanut butter (yes, together).

What you do on a night off:
Play music, listen to music, watch a good film (I missed many and I’ve been catching up on Fellini), fiddle with photos or write some rubbish. I can’t say playing music is my job (you get paid for a job, don’t you?) so when I’m not playing, it’s not a night off.

A country you want to visit:
Khirghizstan (and I’m not even sure I spelled it right). Wild music.  (And I didn’t spell it right).

A stage superstition you have:
I don’t have any, but I’d like one, involving a black cat bone if possible.

Something people might be surprised to know about you:
I’m fascinated by the diversity of music all over the world and the traditions that underlie it. I play mainly blues, rock and jazz, but I love Afghan, Pakistani and Indian, Mongolian, Japanese and Korean, and West African music. I’ve got stacks of this stuff to drive me mad. One of my favourite instruments is the Kora, the Malian/Senegalese harp-lute, and in Japan I have an ongoing collaboration with a master musician of this instrument (although the blues harp is quite difficult to fit in!). In Cambodia, the Chapei may be my favourite instrument, and I hope to ‘fit in’ with that somehow. The trouble with ‘East-West’ collaborations (or ‘fusion’) is that the natural resonance, vibrations and subtle characteristics of Asian traditional music often end up over-amplified, overlaid and flattened with electronica. And the trouble with the diatonic harmonica (although I love it) is that it’s not exactly a saxophone.

And (historically) – I came overland to Asia in a confectionery delivery van in 1969, intending to stay a year, and (almost) never went back to England. So don’t ask me where I’m from…

Steve Porte photo of the week      

Dan Davies. A man and his bass. Resident of Darwin, Australia, and frequent visitor to Phnom Penh and Kampot.


Let us know about your gigs: send information to gigs@lengpleng.com.

Stay safe out there, and see you around the traps.

your correspondent,

Guillermo Wheremount



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