Is it a sign? Two new open mics have restarted in Phnom Penh! Cloud has started up on Thursdays with the plan to alternate music and poetry – tonight will be the first of the music nights (hosted by Initial G) after a successful if lightly attended first poetry night (with Kosal Khiev) last week. And The Box Office’s Wednesday open mic restarted last night with a revamped stage and much improved sound, last night boasting a diverse menu that included rock’n’roll, chanson and jazz.
Thursday night regular gigs continue with Intan & Friends at The Attic. On Friday Miss Sarawan continue their July Friday residency at PREI Cocktail and Bistro, and on Saturday Alli G is at Botanico. Kiss Bang Bong continue their Thursday to Saturday residency at Lantern Rooftop Bar and Sunday afternoon at Botanico, while Gerard Evans and Ace Zapa fill in Lantern’s weeknights.
For the ukulele curious, the Phnom Penh Ukulele Circle meets at Bong Bonlai restaurant on Tuesday nights. And out in Tuol Tompong, Bosporus has also made a tentative start with Anthony & Gerard on Wednesdays.
The Boxchords continue their Yellow Wall Sessions – multi-camera videos of live versions of songs – with a yet to be disclosed song by lead guitarist Denver. It will be available for view
on YouTube some time this weekend.
And also: Passing Chords is back!
Passing Chords: a few things you might not know about…
James Atkinson. Pianist and keyboard player with such acts as Pocket Change, Intan and Friends and Scotch’n’Soda. He’s currently accompanying Intan Adriana at The Attic at the Hyatt Regency for their Thursday jazz nights.
Do you have a pet musical hate?
Playing a jazz gig with a drummer when there is no bassist.
A private musical indulgence:
Putting on over-ear headphones and zoning out to the Chemical Brothers.
The year you first came to Cambodia:
I moved here in 2018 to teach mathematics, after similar stops in UAE, Philippines, Belgium, Kuwait, Colombia, and Guatemala.
An early music memory:
My parents would put on LP’s in the evenings after dinner and before my sister and I would go to bed. Rachmaninoff’s 2nd piano concerto and the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper album always stood out.
The last thing you had to eat:
I had a tasty grilled chicken Cobb salad for lunch at Farm To Table.
A country you want to visit:
I have always wanted to go to Cuba and immerse myself in son music, listening to bands and practicing guajeos (and learning how to dance!).
A book or movie you keep going back to:
It may sound cliché, but I think The Shawshank Redemption is beautifully filmed and scored, and it has an inspiring message about the power of hope. I am currently re-reading a book for the first time ever: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
What languages can you speak?
I speak English (with a wandering accent) and Spanish, and a bit of French. I’ve taken a few Khmer lessons but so far I speak tik tik.
Your primary instrument, and when you started playing it:
Piano – my parents started me on weekly lessons when I was five years old, and I remain more of a pianist than a keyboard player. I had brief affairs with the cello and trombone in school, and still flirt with the electric bass.
Something people might be surprised to know about you:
I was born with a hearing impairment, and while an operation helped, I sometimes have to read lips to follow conversations in loud places.
You have a time machine and a magic ticket to one gig or festival in the past. What do you choose?
I never saw Oscar Peterson play live, and the 1977 and 1981 Montreux Jazz Festivals both had sick lineups. Going to see a concert from Pink Floyd’s The Wall tour would have been epic too.
A question from the last participant: If money were no object and you could afford to purchase any instrument for your craft what would it be?
Since we’re dreaming, I can’t resist indulging in a Bösendorfer Imperial 290 concert grand. If all else fails, I could sell it (or wake up).
Passing Chords Vols I and II
(compiled mini-profiles from 2019 and 2020)
is available now
in hard copy and ebook format
and is already being enjoyed by many
30,000 riel (or 20,000 if you are in it: Am I in Passing Chords?).
Secure your copy by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
It can also be found at Garage Bar & Cloud
Steve Porte Photo of the Week
Kosal Khiev hosting the first edition of a new regular open mic at Cloud (poetry and music on alternating weeks), Thursday 8 July, 2021.
If there are things LengPleng should know about, please let us know.
See you (eventually) around the traps.