It’s a big weekend to kick off what is set to be a big month. If you want to get an early start, Blues Routes are collaborating with Sokim Kiet on chapei don veng at Trattoria Bello tonight, while Hugo St Leger heads up an open mic at Good Times X, the regular jam goes on at Ege Bar, and The Extraordinary Chambers storm Oscar’s on the Corner.
Friday night has the regular smorgasbord: there are two Khmer bands on – the Cambodian Disabled Musicians’ Association at Boran House and Khmer Magic Music Bus at Bouchon – plus horror at Hard Rock Café, and Jazz and the City Volume 15 at Green Pepper. Bassac Lane has the highly recommended Grass Snake Trio, Alchemy hosts The Flip Flops, and TheBlueSouls start their busy week at Duplex. The acoustic angle is handled by Little Thieves at The Box Office and Gonzalo Rodino at LF Social Club. K’n’E rock out the night at Oscar’s on the Corner.
On Saturday, Son Cubano kick off the evening at Botanico, Boxchords do the 80s at Cloud, Ace Zapa is at Sharky, and Moon Night Pub begin their month of Oktoberfest acoustic battle of the bands. Maki Orkestr make their debut at Alchemy – see our weekly feature. TheBlueSouls open up the evening at Oscar’s on the Corner, followed by K’n’E.
October will be the last month for Phnom Penh’s legendary Zeppelin Café, after 19 years of operation in four different locations (the longest running was on St 51; the last is on St 278, near the corner of St 57). Only infrequently a live venue, Zeppelin has nonetheless been an important part of the music scene, well known for the taciturn owner Jun spinning discs in front of an enormous collection of vinyl records, mostly hard rock in style, for its rock memorabilia, for its general late night appeal, and for its fabulous dumplings. Head on down to Zeppelin to say goodbye (or hello and goodbye) – Saturday nights through the month will be live music nights, starting this weekend with The Two Jacks and culminating on Halloween. Jun is heading home to Taiwan, where he plans to reopen the bar, and no, the vinyl collection is not for sale (mind you, there are some duplicates, and there will be an auction of relics on the final night).
Remember, tomorrow, Friday, October 2nd,. Bandcamp will be having another waiving of revenue share, so that the whole of your purchase will got to the band in question. Check out One Night in Phnom Penh by Channthy Cha Cha, Golden Age: The Sequel by Hypnotic Fist Technique, It Never Left by Reign in Slumber, or works by The Schkoots, Scott Bywater, Vibratone, The Goldilocks Zone or Doch Chkae. Or search the tags for Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
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The Leng Pleng Weekly Feature
Another post-COVID weekend in Phnom Penh, another new band. The six piece Maki Orkestr will be “kindling the fire of the Gypsy spirit,” playing music of the Balkans, Russia, Romania and Serbia. Band leader Aymen Ghali was good enough to tell Leng Pleng all about it.
“As music events slowly started to happen again around the city, I was very eager to participate again; it was time for a new music project for Phnom Penh with its wonderful and supportive community of live music lovers. I wanted to create something special and unique to contribute to the music scene, though I wasn’t exactly sure what. I started joining the jam sessions, to get the blood flowing again.”
Passing Chords: a few things you might not know about…
Intan Andriana. Singer and jazz afficianado who has been very active since Cambodia emerged from the quiet times – particularly at Green Pepper with the Jazz and the City series on Fridays, Wednesday Romance and Smooth Sunday. For more about Intan, she was interviewed in Leng Pleng back in June.
A pet musical hate:
I don’t really like the loud, screaming music. It’s very different from my personality.
A private musical indulgence:
Instrumental jazz, I love to listen to John Coltrane, any kind of saxophone.
The year you first came to Cambodia:
An early music memory:
My identical twin sister and I, in the early 1990s, when we were about four for five years old, would stand in front of the TV while they played the national anthem and we would sing along together. Very patriotic then, not so much now.
The last thing you had to eat:
Quesadilla last night in Kampot.
What you do on a night off:
I really like to stay home, watching movies. I really love watching movies.
A country you want to visit:
Switzerland. I’ve only done a transit there, but it would really love to explore Switzerland – I feel there is much freedom, and a beautiful country.
A book or movie you keep going back to:
The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile.
What languages can you speak?
Bahasa, English, Italian (not that great but I can understand, and I can reply), a little bit of Spanish, a little bit of French because of the people I know in Phnom Penh, and from singing I learn bits of other languages.
Your primary instrument, and when you started playing it:
My voice. According to my mother I started singing when I was two or three years old. As I remember in preschool I was singing along with the TV. My mother also would sing and play guitar, so she passed it to me – she came from one part of Sumatra where they really loved to play music.
Something people might be surprised to know about you:
I used to teach preschool, ages six months to four years, for six years in Indonesia. When I moved here I started everything new and singing came first. I would love to go back to teach in the future, but I will see.
You have a time machine and a magic ticket to one gig or festival in the past. What do you choose?
Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday at Newport Jazz Festival, July 1957.
A question from last week’s participant, Thomas Hommeyer: if you could no longer sing what instrument would you take up?
Piano. I always wanted to play piano since I was young, but I never had a chance.
Singer-songwriter Gone Marshall is seeking collaborators who would like to play existing originals and select covers: 1) a percussionist, who can play out either on a full kit or even a basic snare, cajon, portable kit, plastic tub or distended (*amplified) beer belly, depending on the situation and mobility needs for live events and happenings; 2) bass player or bass keyboardist to deliver the low end. Contact him here.
Leng Pleng also recommends the Facebook page Phnom Penh Open Mic as a resource for finding fellow players.
Steve Porte Photo of the Week
Lisha and 12me at the Diamond Moon Festival at Koh Pich, November 2017
Let us know about any musical activities we haven’t captured: email@example.com
Stay safe out there, and see you around the traps.