Weekly wrap – Commencing Thursday 10 October 2019


Folks wanting some music on Thursday night can choose from the blues of Chi-Town at Alchemy, the acoustic psychedelia of Samsara & zargz at Orphic, the sweet harmonies of Lisa Concepcion and Josh Chiang at The Bodleian and the rock’n’roll of The Extraordinary Chambers (Dave’s back!) at Oscar’s on the Corner.

Come Friday, 1 Girl 6 Strings are at Farm to Table, Brin Wood is at Botanico, The Boxchords are at Alchemy, and The Sock Essentials are at Cloud.  For some disco try Retro Carnival at Duplex, and for some soul try Pocket Change at LF Social Club.  At Oscar’s on the Corner the house band K’n’E hold the line.

If opera is your cup of tea, or if you want to give it a try, the Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra hosts the Cambodian Opera Project’s production of Pagliacci this weekend, with performances on Friday and Saturday night.  See our feature article below.

On Saturday, Checkered Past say goodbye to guitarist Steve at Oscar’s on the Corner, while The Uncomfortably White Brothers are at Alchemy.  There’s latin music with Son Latino at Cloud, Gonzalo Rodino is at LF Garden, Lisa Concepcion is at Botanico, and Brin Wood is at The Magic Sponge in Kampot.

On Sunday Major/Minor continue their residency at The Exchange, Mirasol and Arone join Antti at Hops, while regular open mics in the early evening at Tacos Kokopelli and later at Sharky Bar continue as usual.

Monday night sees a rare Clay George acoustic performance at Garage Bar as part of the launch of Phnom Penh-based poet Scott Bywater’s new volume, mind the gap.  Then on Wednesday night, Bouchon presents jazz standards with Marianna Hensley with James Atkinson, Andrey Meshcheryakov and Antti Siitonen, while Tacos Kokopelli hosts the Song Explorers night on the theme: John.

Also of note, Good Times Bar is holding an open mic every night in October, with half price drinks for musicians.

And meanwhile, BBC News this week profiled the local heavy metal band Doch Chkae.

For advertising opportunity inquiries contact gigs@lengpleng.com

The Leng Pleng Weekly Feature

The Cambodian Opera Project, supported by the Japanese and Cambodian governments, is seeking to bring opera to the people of Cambodia.  This weekend they present a production of
the popular Italian two act opera Pagliacci, bringing together different cultures, nationalities and skills.  Leng Pleng spoke to singer and the driving force behind the project, Ai Iwasaki.

“In opera we need a lot of people’s help, lots of different kinds of people, different professionals, different specialties.  It is important not only in Cambodia, but in many countries, to have people get together from different disciplines to make one thing all together.”

Read the whole feature here.

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

Chris Hilleary.  Blues bassman who in his time has taken care of Lost HighwayThe Mekong Messengers, The Fender Benders, Chi-Town, zargz band, and most recently, Vinnie Vidi Vici.  He’s also pretty handy at surf rock instrumentals on guitar.

Your pet musical hate:
Unnecessary vulgarity in song lyrics, or on-stage banter. It demonstrates a lack of imagination and wit. Referring to one’s girlfriend in a derogatory manner: not cool. Appropriate use of profanity:  Country Joe and The Fish famously employed the “F Bomb” in 1969 at Woodstock to poke a finger the eye of the USA’s military industrial complex. Very cool.

A private musical indulgence:
If I want to relax, I’ll sometimes pull up a Gregorian chant on YouTube. It takes me back to my childhood when my father used to play Gregorian chant albums on the family turntable.

The year you came to Cambodia:
1999. Back in the day I was obsessed with the pursuit of off-road motorcycling adventures.

An early music memory:
My mother taking my siblings and me to see The Sound of Music on the big screen in 1965

Your favourite food :
A simple breakfast with scrambled eggs, bacon,  toasted sourdough bread, potatoes and coffee. Baked beans served at breakfast is a culinary abomination.

What you do on a night off:
Usually I’m piddling around working on one of my guitars, with a selection of blues playing in the background.

A country you want to visit:
Indonesia. With over 17,000 islands and hundreds of different  ethnicities and languages spoken, it must be an interesting place.

A stage superstition you have:
I’m not superstitious. But I do try to foresee possible complications for upcoming shows and do my best to eliminate them or be prepared when issues arise on stage.  Most commonly when lead guitar players forget to bring their pick’s/strap/9v batteries/tuner/cable, or break a string with no remediation in mind. I possess stereotypical bass player mentality. The one who holds things together but always gets overlooked. Perfect.

Something people might be surprised to know about you:
I have 29 guitars hanging on the walls of my studio apartment. I won’t go to 30 because that would be crazy. My theory is there must be a correlation between the number of guitars one owns and musical ability. So far it hasn’t worked out that way. 

A question from last week’s participant, Antti Siitonen:
If you had the power to change one thing in the world, what would it be?
To de-politicize the issue of climate change. It’s become an “us vs. them” issue. If the world doesn’t pull together soon, we’re all headed for ecological Armageddon. Greta Thunberg is my latest hero.

A question for next week’s participant:
What were the circumstances of your most profound laugh so far this year?

Steve Porte Photo of the Week


Vartey Ganiva.  Rising Cambodian star who writes and performs punky alternative as well as more sedate pop music.


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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