Weekly wrap – commencing Thursday 20 August 2020


A somewhat slow weekend thanks to this half-hearted Khmer new year holiday.   If you want to get the early start, tonight you can check out Love at Moon Knight Pub, visit Magic Charlie’s open mic at Good Times Bar or the jam session at Ege Bar, or dance to the bar band The Extraordinary Chambers at Oscar’s on the Corner.

On Friday Pavel zargz Ramirez is solo at Backstreet Bar Bassac, Anthony & Femke are at Alchemy, Intan & Metta do Friday Romance at Green Pepper, and there’s a Queen tribute night by Band@Work at Hard Rock Café.  At Oscar’s on the Corner, Scott “Scoddy” Bywater kicks things off early before K’n’E take it late.

Out of town it’s another busy one for Phnom Penh bands, with Marianna & Joe at Monkey Republic on Friday and Blood Bricks joining The Kampot Playboys at Banyan Tree on Saturday.

In Phnom Penh on Saturday it’s Mirasol & Arone at Botanico, Kirsty & Dave at The Box Office, and new outfit Mentos at AlchemyAguita e’Coco are at Duplex, while The Conspiracy Theory play a farewell gig at Oscar’s on the Corner before K’n’E finish the night.

On the far end of the weekend the Sunday Sundowner Sessions open mic continues into its eighth year at Tacos Kokopelli – while from next week check out the Big Baaad Jam at Oscar’s on the Corner on a Sunday night.

Remember Kampot Radio is now on Patreon in an attempt to get some financial support.   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.

Posted by Hard Rock Cafe Phnom Penh on Sunday, 9 August 2020

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

Stan Paleco.  Guitarslinger for hire – mostly but not entirely jazz – and music director of Phnom Penh Strings Academy.   One of his recent projects, The Conspiracy Theory, play their last gig at Oscar’s on the Corner on Saturday night.  You’ve seen him playing around town for a few years now – what you really don’t know is that his real name is Stanislav Levstik: Paleco is a name given to him by the family of a former girlfriend, a woman from a hill tribe in northern Thailand, and it means man with no hair.

A pet musical hate:
Musicians who are not listeners, who are not aware of what’s happening around them and just play for themselves.  Loud drummers, sax or harmonica players who play constantly through the singing, guitar players too loud and piano players who want to play 19 chords in one bar.  Jim Hall said: the teachers teach you how to play music, but nobody teaches you how to listen; Miles Davis said more with rests than many musicians with a million notes.

A private musical indulgence:
Frank Zappa.  I was 18 when I first heard Zappa – the Roxy and Elsewhere live album.  I couldn’t believe somebody can play live like that, so many different parts, different tempos, so smooth.

The year you first came to Cambodia:
I came as a tourist in 2012.  I travelled to Vietnam from Thailand, and I stopped in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.  I was shocked, to be honest, with all the poverty, but I felt the people are so nice.

An early music memory:
There was a Slovenian accordion star, Lojze Slak – it’s the national instrument – and his band Lojze Slak Ansamble played on TV, on the radio, my grandparents listened to that music, the traditional folk music.  And I was maybe seven or eight years old, when my father took me to an annual town festival, there were maybe 3,000 people, and I saw Lojze Slak perform live on the back of a big truck.  I could not believe it.  It stays with me forever.

The last thing you ate:
Thuringer, a German sausage, with a big bowl of salad.

What you do on a night off:
I usually practice.  An almost ninety year old cellist was asked if he still practiced, and he said yes, I do, I still think I’m progressing.  I go out and listen to music, try to support the music scene.

A country you want to visit:
Australia, New Zealand, Iran, Polynesian islands – every country I’ve not been to I would like to visit.

Your primary instrument, and when you started playing it:
I was born to play guitar.  I started playing at 18, quite late.  I wanted to play since I was a kid but my grandparents said the accordion would be good.  So that’s their wish, I don’t want to let them down.  I finished six years of elementary music school and quit, then at 18 I started to play guitar.  Lately I’ve had a lot of fun with bass.

A book or movie you keep going back to:
I’m not a movie guy, particularly not Hollywood movies.  I like Italian movies, Roberto Benigni is one of my favourites.  I watch a lot of documentaries – anthropology, other countries, food.  I don’t have time for reading books because I’m so busy with music.  The book that I go back to all the time is The Real Book.

Something people might be surprised to know about you:
I don’t listen to lyrics.  I’ve always related more to music.  My first band was instrumental, all the music I’ve written is instrumental.  Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, it’s too boring for me, I cannot find anything.

A question from last week’s participant, Clay George:  what was your first gig?
My first performance, I was ten, at school where I studied accordion.  Every three months the school had a performance, and I remember I was so nervous, my hands were wet, they were slipping on the keys on the accordion, I made mistakes, it was really difficult.  Hall full of people, parents.
The first band gig when I was 21, 22, a kind of garage band, back in 1992, 1993.  We had a saxophone player on recorder and flute, the guitar, there were three percussionists and a bass player, and we played music like Sweet Smoke, Jethro Tull, Santana, nine, ten minute songs with lots of percussion and soloing.  The music was mostly by me, and also the flute player.  Once we said, oh, that was a good rehearsal – then somebody said that’s a good name for the band.  So the name of the band became Good Rehearsal.

Steve Porte Photo of the Week

The astonishing Suon Vutha surrounded by guitars, playing with K’n’E at Oscar’s on the Corner, Friday 7 August, 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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