Friday night offers the usual range – from bossa nova with Intan & Metta joined by Arone and Gerard at Green Pepper, Americana with Gonzalo Rodino at Alchemy, acoustic grunge with Rob Narciso at Cloud, and Hollywood soundtracks with Band@Work at Hard Rock Café. Meanwhile there’s the eclectic Sock Essentials at Tacos Kokopelli, Anthony & Femke at La Petanque Bar, and late night fun as usual with K’n’E at Oscar’s on the Corner.
On Saturday you can start early with scene newcomers Little Thieves debuting at The Box Office, veterans Boxchords at Alchemy and Marianna & Joe at Botanico, or even a blues jam with Colin & Friends at Good Times X. Later the two heavyweight shows of the night are the welcome return of the protest electronic hip hop of Funan Beat Empire (see our weekly feature below) plus Blood Bricks at Boran House, and the Cambodia Country Band with The Extraordinary Chambers and K’n’E at Oscar’s on the Corner for a special fundraiser to help cashier Borin who suffered a serious hit and run moto accident last week (if you can’t make it there’s also a gofundme effort on foot).
This Sunday Oscar’s on the Corner commences a new regular Sunday night jam hosted by Pavel Ramirez, a nice early start of 9 pm for those who want to have a play and still get home at a reasonable hour. The stage is set up for bands – amps, kit, stage monitors and everything – for best results they suggest guitarists bring their own instrument.
Not going out? Check out Kampot Radio – and for bonus points subscribe on Patreon for access to several late night weekly shows in podcast form, as well as bonus interviews and other content. Check it all out here – there are some free taster shows for you to sample.
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The Leng Pleng Weekly Feature
It’s not pop music: the rise of the Funan Beat Empire
Funan Beat Empire grew from the combined imaginations of Adrien Gayraud (The Schkoots, Moi Tiet) and Pierre Lenormand, a production team you may remember from the days of Links Music when they pumped out albums by the likes of Road to Mandalay and Hypnotic Fist Technique. As Phnom Penh tentatively emerges from COVID world, Funan Beat Empire is surging forwards. Leng Pleng met up with this producer-driven (Pierre and Adrien), MC-fronted (Initial G and Mike Dynamo) force of nature to get the story from the source.
G: And we always go to the heart of capitalism in Phnom Penh to write our lyrics: Java Café Tuol Tom Pong. That’s where we wrote Candy Man.
Pierre: I composed many tracks there too. Java Café Independence.
Pierre: Every morning I was there.
Adrien: For almost two months he was there every morning, and I was there a few times a week.
Mike: That is so funny. I had no idea.
Pierre: I didn’t know.
Adrien: The writers’ institution.
[Laughter, then some more laughter] [Then another round]
Passing Chords: a few things you might not know about…
Marianna Hensley. From the Americana mountain music of her childhood with Marianna & Joe to the jazz standards of Scotch’n’Soda to the children’s entertainment of Mimi and the Merrymakers (not to mention Hills&Bells and guest spots with the Cambodia Country Band), Marianna’s love of singing has been very much to the benefit of Phnom Penh gig followers in recent years. This Saturday Marianna & Joe are at Botanico, and coming very soon is a return to live outdoor performance for Mimi and the Merrymakers at Odom Gardens.
A pet musical hate:
Musical snobbery. No one is going to like every song or every genre of music. But that doesn’t mean that someone has to sneer or mock simply because they feel the music is boring or hackneyed or otherwise unenjoyable. Just let it be – and keep your mouth shut. And remember that there are, without question, songs or artists or genres that you like that others don’t.
A private musical indulgence:
My private musical indulgence is now rather public: harmony. I can’t resist it. When I hear a song, I hear harmony. And it’s hard not to start singing along whether that is out loud or in my head or under my breath, at home or in a public space. It just captures and carries me.
The year you first came to Cambodia:
An early music memory:
Checking out records from the local library and singing along to them non-stop – much to my sainted mother’s dismay! I loved musicals. By the time I was 9 or 10 years old, I had all of My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, and Porgy & Bess basically memorized from listening to those “library records”.
The last thing you had to eat:
A big bowl of homemade lentil stew – yum!
What you do on a night off:
Read, write, listen to or play music at home, have a drink with a friend.
A country you want to visit:
None. Is that an acceptable response? I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to live in and travel to many different countries around the world, to the point that now I am deeply content and grateful to simply stay here in Cambodia. The day might come when I have the itch to travel again, but for now I’ve no interest in being anywhere other than where I am.
A book or movie you keep going back to:
This is not a fair question: a (as in one) book?? Here are a few of the books that I return to again and again: Dorothy Dunnett’s The Lymond Chronicles (all 6 volumes), Till we have faces by C.S. Lewis, Quiet by Susan Cain, Selected Poems of E.E. Cummings, Rilke’s Book of Hours.
Your primary instrument, and when you started playing it:
My voice. I was about 5 years old the first time I ever sang in public. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t sing.
Something people might be surprised to know about you:
If this were anything other than Leng Pleng, I would say that it’s my leading a band that performs for children (Mimi and the Merrymakers). Since this is Leng Pleng, I’ll go with rock (or tree!) climbing. I’m an avid – albeit very inconsistent – climber. It’s such a beautiful fusion of mind and body. I love it.
A question from last week’s participant, Stan Paleco: you have a time machine and the chance to go back in time to one gig or festival. What do you choose?
The Festival au Desert when it was still held near Timbuktu. All the Touareg pageantry, the dunes, the endless desert sky, the music… Pure magic that I’m very sorry to have missed.
Steve Porte Photo of the Week
Frisco Tony assists at the farewell gig for The Conspiracy Theory at Oscar’s on the Corner, Saturday 22 August, 2020
Let us know about any musical activities we haven’t captured: firstname.lastname@example.org [note temporary replacement email address]
Stay safe out there, and see you around the traps.