Tonight, Thursday, the weekend gets off to a start with the return of the Original Sessions, at Java Tuol Tom Pong. In this edition, Jeff Baker, a songwriter from Chicago (see our weekly feature), shares a bill with Mirasol Aguila who will present some of her original songs with the assitance of Arone Silverman. Mirasol says: “The music is a mixture of folk songs and soul, written in both Tagalog and English. We will use tracks that we collaborated on for this project, with Arone producing, and I will also share some of my nature-inspired artworks.”
On Friday night, Cloud presents the launch of 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, The Goldilocks Zone, Ariane Parkes and Joe Wrigley. Sales ($7.50/$5) and signings will be interspersed with a performance by The Sock Essentials.
Also in Phnom Penh on Friday, Los Primos are at Alchemy, Son Cubano take Bassac Lane, and Pocket Change are at Le Moon, while Scoddy & the Missed Calls are at Oscar’s on the Corner ahead of “mystery midnight guests”, whatever that means.
On Saturday things really get started. Psykic Elektric burn up the dance floor at Cloud, Little Thieves are supported by Rob Narciso at The Box Office, Rod Tolentino is at Sundance, and the Intan Andriana Trio is at Aquarius. In the Tuol Tom Pong district, Maki Orkestr make an eagerly anticipated return with a show at Azure, while Whiskey Got Groove play a farewell show at Alchemy.
Siem Reap seems to be in expansive mode this weekend, with three major events planned. On Thursday there’s the commencement of the three-day Laundry Bar Music Fest, a farewell to their current location, starting with Dean Wolf Bailey and The Handsome Devils, which continues on Friday with Casofro, Princess Nethashiva & Soma Jazz Band, and culminates on Saturday with The Schkoots. New venue Wine O’clock kicks off with two days of Musizone 1.1, Singstation and Roll the Dice on Friday, then Giuliano Turello, Knights of Groove, and Chamroeun on Saturday. And on Saturday Canopy Villa’s Market promises a day of unspecified live music and DJs. AND – this just in – The Harbour hosts Swamp Rats and Handsome Devils on Saturday night.
In Kampot, Monkey Republic presents The Two Jacks on Saturday night, and Karma Traders hosts Trowsers Down on Tuesday.
Looking into next week, Blues Routes have back to backs with Bouchon on Wednesday and Trattoria Bello on Thursday.
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Tucked away in an alley off Street 51 clustered with small Japanese restaurants is Embargo, a craft beer bar co-founded by Jeff Baker, a sometimes reluctant singer-songwriter formerly of suburban Vernon Hills in Chicago, Illinois. He’s been slowing stepping back out into performance after taking a break for a couple of years, and will on Thursday 21 be taking part in the latest of the Original Sessions series, alongside Mirasol Aguila, at Java Tuol Tom Pong. Leng Pleng ventured into the alley (“Congrats!! you found us” is helpfully written on the wall) to chat to Jeff about guitars, burn out, songs and audiences.
“Nobody else in my school was playing guitar or anything, I think that was part of the motivation. I didn’t try singing until high school, when I was in a little punk rock trio, but I had no idea about breathing or finding the right key, so I was just yelling as loud as I could. Really, really awful, but fun nonetheless. And all of a sudden I became “Jeff in the band”, a cool appeal when you’re 16.”
Passing Chords: a few things you might not know about…
Daria Morozova, from Tatarstan in the Russian Federation, singer for the Maki Okestr who will play their eagerly anticipated second gig at Azure on Saturday night.
A pet musical hate?
Well, I do appreciate every single work, and the word “hate” is quite strong here. For me, the main part of music is the message. If there is no message, I think, I have this “pet hate”. And bad musicians, of course. You know, when musicians think they are good, but they are not, gives me that exact feeling of “pet musical hate”.
A private musical indulgence:
Hah, well, that’s why it is called “private indulgence”, isn’t it? Honestly, sometimes I listen to 90’s music. Something like Sin with Sebastian, Shut
up and sleep with me.
The year you first came to Cambodia:
I came to Cambodia in April 2020.
An early music memory:
I was always surrounded by music, so it is hard to say. But the clearest memory is the New Year’s Eve when my mother played the guitar and it was the first time when we were actually singing together. I think I was 5 years old then.
The last thing you had to eat:
Veggie Burger. I can eat this meal every day.
A country you want to visit:
Portugal. It’s my dream. I don’t know why, but I feel like this country is gonna be “my” country.
A book or movie you keep going back to:
I read a lot. But I keep going back to The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Amazing thing, I think, I read it more than ten times.
What languages can you speak?
Russian, English, Tatar, Chinese and a bit of Czech (survival level).
Your primary instrument, and when you started playing it:My first and most favourite instrument is the piano. I started playing it when I was a child, so I can say it is my soul.
Something people might be surprised to know about you:
I used to be a pole-dance trainer. I was doing pole-dancing for three years, but I had to stop because I moved to China.
A question from last week’s participant, Dean Wolf Bailey: What’s the most ridiculous fact you know?
If you eat a lot of carrots, your skin will turn orange.
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.
Want to list? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leng Pleng also recommends the Facebook page Phnom Penh Open Mic as a resource for finding fellow players.
Steve Porte Photo of the Week
Mayhem at Oscar’s on the Corner for ladies night with Joe & the Jumping Jacks, Sunday 17 January, 2021
Let us know about any musical activities we haven’t captured: email@example.com.
Stay safe out there, and see you around the traps.