Weekly Wrap - Commencing Thursday The 18th May 2017

Duha Jazztet is the latest musical project of Phnom Penh-based saxophonist Stephane Routtier. Stephane has teamed up with talented multi-instrumentalist Anthony Armenti for a musical expedition that takes in the pre-war Paris swing era with something of a funky modern twist, courtesy of the fluid alto sax lines that Stephane spins around Anthony’s driving Manouche-style guitar rhythms. Check out the duo tonight (Thursday) at Hops Beer Garden, tomorrow night at Trattoria Bello in the Russian Market area, on Sunday at Alchemy or on Monday at L-Bar near the former Boeng Kak Lakeside.

Jazz routes: Stephane presents Duha Jazztet. Pic: www.kenedgar.com

Gig-goers in Phnom Penh this weekend are fortunate to have a choice of first-rate performers to enjoy around the music venues of the city. Darien Dean will be playing a special show at Jazz Club on Friday night. This R’n’B singing sensation is accustomed to treading the boards of New York City and Paris stages, but this week made a trip to the temple town of Siem Reap. Looking for an engagement in Phnom Penh, Darien got in touch with Seb Adnot at the Jazz Club – who promptly provided him with a place to play, a place to stay, and a hot backing band comprising Los Picados guitarist Alex and drummer JP alongside Seb on bass. The gig is a unique opportunity to catch an international level performer in a perfectly intimate club setting, with the superb bonus of a support set by locally based performer Lisa Concepcion. Check out the video below for a glimpse of the talent of Darien Dean.


In the world of showbusiness, there is a great difference between a ‘musician’ and an ‘entertainer’. It is one thing to show off your dazzling technique with your musical instrument or vocal cords, it is quite another to be able to engage and amuse your audience with a look, a word, a well-timed movement or a winning smile. In addition to Darien Dean there are a number of other performers playing shows in Phnom Penh this weekend who are more than well-acquainted with the art of ‘stagecraft’. Earlier on Friday evening, Sinaporean chanteuse Marina Xavier shows us all how it’s done with an exhibition of sizzling Latin vibes and classic jazz vocal workouts at Farm to Table – accompanied by the buoyant Carlos Camacho on piano.

Meanwhile, over at Tacos Kokopelli, the newly-arrived Richie Castro will be debuting his solo acoustic show. Richie is a very experienced entertainer with a mixed musical repertoire and a love of storytelling and a form of ‘edu-tainment’ he calls ‘history surfing’ – as you will see from his Youtube channel. The talented American troubadour told Leng Pleng : ‘I play Rock, Blues, Reggae,  Spanish, Oldies, Funk, Motown, Country… my original songs are storyteller based. In fact a big majority of my song my songs are written about people I meet in my travels or discover through my love of history surfing.’

All-American : Richard Pearl at Summerfest in Phnom Penh. pic: Steve Porte

On Saturday night at Botanico, Richard ‘Banjoman’ Pearl will make his comeback Cambodian appearance following a long stint in Hanoi, Vietnam. The inimitable New Yorker has decades of experience entertaining audiences in Las Vegas casinos, cruise ship lounges and society balls. Originally a guitar and ukuele player, Pearl picked up the four-stringed ‘tenor banjo’ on short notice when a job came up in a Manhattan club. After altering the instrument to the ‘Chicago’ tuning (equivalent to the top four strings of a guitar) he was able to master the banjo quickly. When Pearl came up with his own solo musical and comedy act, the ‘Banjo-man’ graduated from side-man to front-man… and never looked back.

Dengue Fever will next week be re-releasing their acclaimed debut and follow-up albums, ‘Dengue Fever’ (2003) and ‘Escape From Dragon House’ (2005), complete with new packaging and lots of bonus tracks. These works are an essential part of any Cambodian music enthusiasts’ collection – check out the excellent Dengue Fever website for lots more information.

Whatever you’re up to over the next few days, stay safe out there and… see you around the traps!



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