This weekend Phnom Penh has musical visitors from Bangalore in southern India. Singer-songwriter Mahesh and his band, and acoustic trio Cinema of Excess, playing an early show (9 pm) at Oscar’s on the Corner tonight, Thursday, then will take the afterwork session at Farm to Table on Friday, and finish in the garden at Botanico on Saturday evening. See our weekly feature below.
Also Thursday night, The Bodleian presents Jazz after Dark with Marianna Hensley and James Atkinson, The Boxchords are at Orphic, and there’s the regular gigs for Havana Kings at Sora Sky Bar and The Extraordinary Chambers at Oscar’s on the Corner.
On Friday the Irish folk of The Riel Capital will be on at Cloud, Metta and Intan will be smooth at Botanico, the Duo Brothers appear at Red Bar, Gonzalo and Paco are at LF Garden, it’s Jazz & Soul with Mirasol at The Bodleian, and Retro Carnival bring their disco grooves to Bassac Lane. Later and louder, all-original band Moi Tiet make a return to Oscar’s on the Corner.
On Saturday afternoon singer-songwriter Scott Bywater will be poolside at Villa Grange. Later on out in Tuol Tom Pong there’s a choice between Havana Kings at Alchemy and The Goldilocks Zone at Ege Bar’s first anniversary party. On the riverside, Kwest Restaurant host the Golden Era sounds of Miss Sarawan Band with the addition of special guest Euan Gray. Lisa and Josh share harmonies at Cloud, Pristine and Ace are at The K’s, while D’Fazes Band is at Duplex, multi-media outfit Friends Electrik (formerly Electrik Universe) return to Meta House, and K’n’E rock it late at Oscar’s on the Corner.
Looking ahead, joining us in the next weeks for shows in Phnom Penh and Kampot are both Aussie hardrocker Graham Cain – with a series of both solo (starting Wednesday night at The Big Easy) and full band GC Rider gigs – and the delightful Geography of the Moon (UK), who are planning to stay a while.
Come Wednesday there’s choices again, with Miss Sarawan Trio at Bouchon, Scott Bywater at Tacos Kokopelli and with the city starting to fill up with new musicians again the LF Social Club Wednesday night jam is well worth a look. Also of note, remember Good Times Bar is holding an open mic every night in October, with half price drinks for musicians.
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The Leng Pleng Weekly Feature
Visiting Phnom Penh this weekend are two acts from Bangalore in south India.
Mahesh, with his trio, brings a big, lush but organic sound with soaring vocals and ringing, rising and falling guitars. Cinema of Excess has a more folky feel, but is no less melodic and sparkling, with intertwining and crisp guitar work – something different in the air.
Mahesh: “I started playing the guitar at age 15, around the same time was I was exposed to international music, particularly musicians like John Mayer, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder. The combination of these two events led to my journey of songwriting.”
Cinema of Excess: “We have had a fixed writing process so far: Anirudh writes the song from start to end, then the song then makes its way to Bharat, who adds his guitar parts over Anirudh’s guitar parts and vocals, and finally Abheet puts down his bass part. What each of us writes is completely our individual contribution and the complete song is each of these parts coming together.”
Passing Chords: a few things you might not know about…
Jedil Robelo. One of the most in-demand and appreciated musicians in Phnom Penh, Jedil currently plays drums in Moi Tiet and Havana Kings and bass in Kheltica. You may have seen her before in such acts as Bacano, The Jeffrey Zulueta Experience and Jaworski 7.
Your pet musical hate:
Musicians who are insensitive – in the way they play, perform, how they present themselves, how they take up so much space.
A private musical indulgence:
Listening to 90s hip hop. Also I’ve come to really love listening to classical music, listening to Bach.
The year you came to Cambodia:
An early music memory:
I set up a band with my grade five classmates. We called it the Genesis Five, because we were five people and it was the start of our music career. And we played Ronan Keating songs. I was on guitar.
Your favourite food:
I’m quite embarrassed to say this, because my girlfriend is vegetarian, but I always love the Filipino dish dinuguan – pork stewed with pig’s blood. Aside from pizza, I’m pretty simple.
What you do on a night off:
Nowadays I stay at home and watch Netflix. I really value down time now.
The country you want to visit:
Colombia. Because of the music, basically. Their sense of rhythm is just amazing for me, so I really want to have a taste of that, just for a day I’ll be happy sitting on a street, to see people tapping, walking around.
Do you have a stage superstition:
Not really, no. Maybe I should have…
Something people might be surprised to know about you:
I like being the drummer because I’m in the background, but I also like the attention. I would love to have a project where I’m actually making things happen. I’ve tried it before – I want to make a band that plays real Filipino music, but my fellow countrymen have different priorities. I’m still hopeful.
A question from last week’s participant, Chris Hilleary:
What were the circumstances of your most profound laugh so far this year?
I would say I laugh the loudest during the times when I’m most stressed. There was an incident at work, I wasn’t having a good day with someone, and while I was talking about it I felt it was so absurd that I just started laughing. That’s my coping mechanism.
A question for next week’s participant:
You have US$10,000 at your disposal to create a music video for a song you composed. What will be the video look like?
Steve Porte Photo of the Week
Marianna Hensley. A rousing singer of Americana, bluegrass, roots, soul, gospel and jazz, seen here last night singing at Bouchon.
Let us know about your gigs: send information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay safe out there, and see you around the traps.