And welcome to the first Leng Pleng of the year. It’s been rather a slow start, but let’s see what this weekend brings.
Many of you will know the Cambodian musical mantra: one musician leaves town, five bands either shut down or go in for repairs. So it is with bass player Vincent Noble Biputra, who will shortly be heading off on new adventures. One of his bands, TheBlueSouls begin their farewell-to-Vincent series of performances tonight at Italian restaurant Trattoria Bello in Tuol Tom Pong, then Friday night at Alchemy, Wednesday at Bouchon and finally Ege Bar next Saturday.
Speaking of Ege Bar, there’s change afoot there too, with a series of closing gigs over the next couple of weeks, before the move to a new space and concept. The parties start this weekend with The Sundance Kings and Whiskey Got Groove on Friday and Saturday respectively.
Jazz/blues/bossa nova combo Blue Wave (Mary, Takeshi, Keiko and Colin) are being seen around the northern traps – Au Cabaret Vert in Battambang on Friday, then next weekend at Genkiya Japanese restaurant and Fellini Italian restaurant. Their nice twist includes playing Japanese songs that made it to the Cambodian Golden Era playlist and are widely regarded (like Hey Jude and Venus) as Khmer originals.
Siem Reap-based singer-songwriter Dean Wolf Bailey is back on the road – his latest tour commences in Phnom Penh on Friday night at the opening celebrations for Uncle Mac’s Diner, a new Tuol Tom Pong establishment, continuing on Tuesday at Karma Traders in Kampot on Tuesday, then back to Phnom Penh for shows at Oscar’s on the Corner and Shenanigans next weekend, before touching base in Siem Reap for a show at Laundry Bar and ending up finally at Pomme Battambang on the 22nd.
Also of note this Saturday, Clay George plays a rare acoustic solo set at Oscar’s on the Corner, The Handsome Devils continue their destruction of Kampot at The Harbour in Siem Reap, and Swing Time (Aymen, Stan and Intan) are on the roof at Aquarius. At The Box Office, a fifth anniversary party featuring the first world problems and The Lords of Mayo.
On Sunday the choir Musica Felice hold a charity concert at Sofitel Phnom Penh. Tickets may be purchased on-line.
Great news for our friends Geography of the Moon who have been listed by the BBC as one of 25 Scottish acts to watch in 2021.
We may not wish to remember much of last year, but for posterity, coming very soon, is Around the Traps 2020, a collection of interviews from Leng Pleng from a time when Phnom Penh really was the live music capital of the world. Subjects include Vanntin Hoeurn, Intan Andriana, Funan Beat Empire, Mirasol Aguila, Joe Wrigley and Ariane Parkes. $8 each, with a discount for those included in the book. Email us to secure your copy.
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The Leng Pleng Weekly Feature
One of the more unusual musical developments of 2020 in Phnom Penh was the emergence of the Table 6 Miniature Harmonica Orchestra. You may have heard reference to them at the end of the Kampot Radio Top 100 Songs Of All Time countdown on New Year’s Eve. In a time when we all need a laugh or two, they were happy to step forward to be laughed either with or at, depending on the mood. LengPleng screwed its courage to the sticking place and sat down at table six with Table 6: David & Hayley Flack and Zoe Trickey.
The Box Office in Phnom Penh is seeking bands, solo acts and DJs to book for their new look extra room with a small stage. Contact them here.
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Leng Pleng also recommends the Facebook page Phnom Penh Open Mic as a resource for finding fellow players.
Steve Porte Photo of the Week
The Extraordinary Chambers saw in the new year for the third year in a row at Oscar’s on the Corner, 31 December 2020.
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Stay safe out there, and see you around the traps in 2021.