Weekly wrap – commencing Thursday 6 August 2020


A few venues have been scaling back this week – some open mics and regular gigs are now suspended or cancelled; check our Regular Gigs listings to see if your favourite is still happening.

Friday as usual is thick with duos and trios – Mirasol & Pristine join with Arone at Alchemy, Mary & Takeshi are at Cloud, Lee & Ron are at Moon Knight Pub, and there might just be seats available for Jazz and the City #8 with Intan & Metta celebrating the music of Cole Porter with Stan Paleco on guitar.  New band TheBlueSouls featuring Frank, Vincent and Adam debut early at Oscar’s on the Corner, with K’n’E to follow late.  The Goldilocks Zone ramp things up at Ege Bar and Band@Work do a 70s night at Hard Rock Café.   For Latin, there’s Aguita de Coco at Est Lounge, and live music returns to Bassac Lane with Three Country Drunks.

On Saturday night the big event is the return of Hypnotic Fist Technique at Boran House with $5 on the door.  Blues Routes play at the opening of a photographic exhibition by Colin Grafton, Before the Fall: Phnom Penh 1973 – April 7th, 1975 at the new Good Times Bar X, upstairs on the corner of 172 and 19.   Gareth Bawden is at Botanico, Intan & Stan are at Alchemy, and Lisa Concepcion starts up the Love Acoustic Sessions at Love Lounge (a rebadged Club Love).   As ever, K’n’E take it late at Oscar’s on the Corner.

On Sunday the Sundowners at Tacos Kokopelli, the longest running open mic in Phnom Penh, is celebrating is seventh anniversary this weekend.  Free sangria for performers!

Next week keep an eye out for midweek gigs on Wednesdays at Green Pepper and Bouchon, and the final Wednesday night for The Conspiracy Theory at Oscar’s on the Corner – their final show will be Saturday 22 August.

Coming up next weekend in Kampot is the Osmose Music Festival, featuring Funan Beat Empire, DJ Sequence and The Schkoots and much more – one to leave town for.

Kampot Radio, hit by a drying up of revenues in these lean times, has launched itself on Patreon.  “All the financial support we received from local businesses here stopped in April 2020 with the outbreak of Covid-19. If you want to help us keep doing what we do then by signing up to one of our membership levels you can help us cover our running costs. None of the team are here to profit and none of us get paid. If we raise enough cash, we will reinvest this in improving the station and our output.” For $5 a month you have access to several late night weekly shows in podcast form that you can listen to at your leisure, as well as bonus interviews and other content.  Check it all out here – there are some free taster shows for you to sample.    And see our weekly feature below, an interview with Paddy Robinson, host of Pestilence of Arrakhan, the Wednesday night extreme metal show.

Posted by Hard Rock Cafe Phnom Penh on Wednesday, 29 July 2020

The Leng Pleng Weekly Feature

 An unknown quantity

The great 2020 closing of borders has had many unexpected consequences.  Many have found themselves trapped in places – heavens and hells both – with strange circumstances to overcome.  One of these is Paddy Robinson, host of the Kampot Radio show/podcast Pestilence of Arrakhan, a show dedicated to the more extreme edges of metal, which has its first birthday next Wednesday, 12 August.

“I’d never done it before,” he explains.  “I once mentioned to Darryl [Carter, station manager] that I was doing a bit of cycling listening to the extreme metal music that I used to be into when I was a kid, which I now find quite atmospheric for bike riding.  And he said, you could do a radio show, you know.  And I said, yeah, but no one would want to listen to that.  He said, we’ll put it on late.  And that was a year ago.”

Read the whole article here

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

Photo: Colin Grafton

Keiko Kitamura.  Often seen playing spoons and assorted percussion at open mics and with Blues Routes; she is also a member of the Japanese drum team Mekong Daiko.

A pet musical hate:
Digitally programmed rhythm sections.  I know percussionists should keep the perfect tempo, but “digital drummer” is too perfect. Slight, like 0.1 seconds, fluctuation is fine. I like human musicians.

A private musical indulgence:
I like traditional world music. Japanese, Indian, Pakistani, Malian, Senegalese, Korean, Cuban, Hmong music in Laos… and more. In Cambodia I love listening to solo performances of traditional instruments, like Chapei and Pin Piat, more than ensemble. I particularly like Smot singing (songs for the funeral).

The year you first came to Cambodia:
I started coming to Cambodia in 2003 with Colin Grafton (my husband, harmonica player) then repeatedly visited here almost every 2 years. About 5 years ago Colin decided to move back to Cambodia (he was here from 1972 to 1975), so we packed everything up in Japan.

An early music memory:
In Japan we all take a music (Western music) class at least one or two hours a week from the first grade of elementary school (6 years old), so most of us have a basic knowledge. I remember playing recorders, harmonica, pianica, accordion. I played vibraphone as well.  My parents are tailors and they listen to the radio all day, NHK radio, the equivalent to the British BBC.  I listened to classical music, jazz, Japanese pops, Western pops, Enka (a kind of Japanese blues?), Minyo (Japanese folk songs).  The first Western pop music that attracted me was by Michael Jackson!

One more thing: when I was a child in the conservative countryside, girls were not allowed to touch the drum or the lion’s head for the lion dance at the festival.  Even though all the boys in this area practise drum, bamboo flute and lion dance from 6 years old to 14-15 years old for the festival every year, I was not allowed to join.  I envied my little brother a lot.  I’m not a feminist, but I wished I were born as a boy at that time.

Your favourite food:
If you see my Facebook page, you don’t need to ask me this question! Some friends complained to me that I post too many photos from “Keiko’s Kitchen”!

What you do on a night off:
Baking crumpets.

A country you want to visit:
I haven’t been to South Korea yet! I want to go there in the festival season.  And Mali, Cuba… all over the world!  Each country, each tribe has their traditional music, so my quest is endless.

A book or movie you keep going back to:
I don’t go back to anything.

Your primary instrument, and when you started playing it:
I think people saw me playing the spoons, tabla and kanjira (Indian drums; I am a beginner), cajon, and congas, but my main instruments are Japanese drum (Taiko) and bamboo flute (Shino-Bue)  About 15 years ago Colin and I went to see a festival, and enjoyed the festival drum-dance performance.  Colin was the only Barang in the audience, so the leader of the drum team called him on the stage and asked him to play the little drum (Shime-daiko).  He was hopeless, so he asked me for help.  I went up to the stage and tried.  It wasn’t difficult and I did quite well, so the leader of the team gave me his name card, “Come to this address from next Wednesday”.  Since then for 10 years, I have practised drum and flute every Wednesday.  Our main performance is for the annual festival in September, and we practise the whole year for it.  I’m not religious, but we play our music for the god/gods at the festival.  It is more like “Taiko-do” (Way of Taiko), like other Japanese arts and martial arts.  “Do” is the journey, it takes my whole life.  When I came to Cambodia four years ago I joined the Japanese drum team, Mekong Daiko, and we play for audiences here. I think I am very fortunate to experience both aspects.  I miss the festival and its excitement.  I’ve been back to Japan almost every September to take part in the festival, but it is sadly cancelled this year.

Something people might be surprised to know about you:
I was an illumination (Christmas lights) designer in Tokyo for about 20 years.  If you were in Tokyo and its surrounding area, you might have enjoyed my lights.  I designed illumination decorations for the official hotels of Tokyo Disney resort.  Our team made all the lights computer programmed and synchronized to the music.

A question from last week’s participant, Ned Kelly:  There are a lot of good things about the PP music scene, but what are we missing, what isn’t working, what can be done individually or collectively to make things better for musicians, venues, and audiences?
I miss a quiet audience.  People talk during the music or any kind of performance here.  Concentration span of the people (both local and barangs) is too short.  And no smoking, please.  If that is difficult, improve the ventilation system of the venue, please.

Steve Porte Photo of the Week


Vincent Noble Biputra, well protected while playing with Pavel & Friends, Backstreet Bar, Saturday 25 July, 2020

Let us know about any musical activities we haven’t captured:  gigs@lengpleng.com.

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

your correspondent,

Guillermo Wheremount









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