Weekly wrap – commencing Thursday 9 July 2020


Open mic season is definitely upon is – two new ones to list this week with the return of Sundance’s Tuesday night with Canadian Dave and the commencement tonight of an open mic competition at Moon Knight Pub to take place over the next three weeks.   Also tonight Aguita de Coco are at Moon Knight, and the Sundance Kings return to Sundance.

And it’s a great time to be a jazz fan.  The Jazz and the City series continues Friday night with special guest harmonica player Colin Grafton, Swingin’ the blues, while Mary & Takeshi are at Farm to Table, and Anthony & Femke are at Alchemy.  If jazz isn’t your thing, Hard Rock Café are holding a Queen tribute night with Band@Work, Aguita de Coco are at Est Lounge, while Oscar’s on the Corner have a double header starting early with Scott Bywater and finishing late with K’n’E.

Come Saturday you can choose from Simmer at Cloud, The Conspiracy Theory at Alchemy, Anthony & Femke at Botanico, and there’s the welcome return of Pocket Change late at Oscar’s on the Corner.

Sunday entertainments include the Sunday Sundowner Sessions at Tacos Kokopelli, the open jam mic at Sharky Bar and K’n’E at Oscar’s on the Corner.

The famous Calgary Stampede in Alberta, Canada, the largest rodeo festival in the world, has been cancelled for the first time in almost 100 years.  But this Monday at Oscar’s on the Corner the Cambodia Country Band will pay special tribute to the event, and encourage folk to come along in western gear and cowboy hats for the occasion.

Gone but not forgotten legendary Phnom Penh ragga dub band Dub Addiction have just this week put their full discography on Bandcamp – and you can name your price!  Check out the tasty goodness here.   For old fans or newcomers to the scene:  discover nine full length albums – all original releases, demos and live recordings plus tons of remixes – raggamuffin dub proudly made in Cambodia with Cambodians and a lot of Khmer vibes.

Posted by Hard Rock Cafe Phnom Penh on Friday, 3 July 2020

The Leng Pleng Weekly Feature

Blues and the World

Colin Grafton, a long-expatriated Englander with a great love and deep knowledge of blues and jazz is the special guest this week for the latest in the Jazz and the City series with singer Intan Andriana and pianist Metta Legitta at Green Pepper, Swingin’ the Blues.

“Blues and jazz came together really,” explains Colin.  “Via King Oliver – the slowest thing that he ever recorded, a tune called Krooked Blues.  My mother thought I was mad, but for me it was a revelation.  Somewhere in this crackle I could really hear the blues.  And then I heard Robert Johnson’s recordings, when they finally came out on LP, as did most of the early rockers, especially in Britain.  Then Lonnie Johnson, who is more important than Robert Johnson to the blues because he was one of Robert Johnson’s main influences.  I actually saw Lonnie in London in 1963 when he came over with the American Folk Blues Festival.”

Read the full article here

Passing Chords:  a few things you might not know about…

RJ Marshall.  You may have seen him performing solo, or in Psychesonica, Oasis cover band Mad Fer It, the second  version of Scoddy & the Quality Drops, Phnom Skor, or the Phnom Devils; he was also a co-owner of Show Box for five years, 2013 – 2018.  Recently his duo Simmer, with Kristina Mercury, has revived itself as a four piece (with Veronica and Nathan) and they will be playing on Saturday night at Cloud.

Your pet musical hate:
To me there’s a difference between being technically brilliant and actually being a good musician.  Just because something is technically proficient doesn’t make it brilliant music, I can find it tedious to listen to.

A private musical indulgence:
If I’m on the YouTube at Good Times Bar almost anything that I would want to put on is not something that anyone else wants to listen to – Jim Reeves 40 Golden Greats, or Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance, March number one.  Occasionally I’ll listen to some classical music, now that you can look on YouTube and find almost any piano piece, so a couple of times I’ve gone back to stuff I was supposed to have played as teenager and had never heard how it was meant to be played.

The year you first came to Cambodia:
I first came in 2006, backpacking.  I have few memories of it, to be honest.  I remember Bar Red in Kampot.  Three years later I came back and I’ve been back every year since then.

An early music memory:
Maybe I was three or four, I dreamt I was figuring out how to play the melody of Happy Birthday on the piano, then when I woke up I went to the family piano and did what I’d been dreaming of and it worked.  Another would be at the same sort of age, my dad had an all-in-one hi-fi unit, it was on a shelf – I wanted to play the music and grabbed it and pulled the whole thing off onto the floor.

Your favourite food:
There isn’t much I don’t like.  When I go back to England I have to have fish & chips and pork pies at every opportunity, because you have to, but it’s not really my favourite food.

What you do on a night off:
I don’t have nights off.  During the lockdown I watched loads of TV series, but that’s not something I regularly do.

The country you want to visit:
The obvious one is Bulgaria, because Christina’s family is from there – we would have been there now probably, we were planning to go this summer.  For travelling, possibly Zanzibar in Tanzania, it sounds quite nice.

A book you’ve never read:
Generally I get half a dozen recommendations a month, and occasionally I get hold of one and read it, so I’ve got a long list of stuff that I could read than I actually get around to reading.  The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum, a novel by Heinrich Boll which I had to read in school – over the years I’ve been mystified as to what it was actually about.  During the lockdown I got hold of a film version of it, made in the 1970s, so I was pleased to finally watch it.

Your first instrument, and when you started playing:
Piano.  There was one at home, and I used to play on it.  At primary school the music teacher apparently said to my mum, oh, he’s got some kind of talent, he should have piano lessons or something.   At Christmas when I was 14 I said I want an electric guitar, and I went down to Denmark St in Soho, London – Macari’s, it’s still there.  A year or so after that a school mate was doing busking, with a steel strong acoustic – I didn’t know what they were at the time, but then I went and got one and started playing in pubs and things.

Something people might be surprised to know about you:
I’ll keep that to myself.

A question from last week’s participant, Robin Narciso: The scenario is a tragic accident – either you cannot sing or you cannot play guitar – which do you choose?
It would be better to still be able to play the music than necessarily being able to sing.  Someone else can sing if you want, but if you can’t play…  I couldn’t conceive of writing any songs if I couldn’t play the music to go along with it.

Steve Porte Photo of the Week

Singer-songwriter Scott Bywater with his guitar Hanoi Jane doing the Friday early show for Oscar Acoustic at Oscar’s on the Corner

Let us know about any musical activities we haven’t captured:  gigs@lengpleng.com.

Stay safe out there, and see you around the traps.

your correspondent,

Guillermo Wheremount





Weekly gig guide – commencing Thursday 9 July 2020

Latest Gigs


Thursday  9-Jul-2020
Friday  10-Jul-2020
Saturday  11-Jul-2020
Tuesday  14-Jul-2020
Coming Up
  • Jazz night with Dr Funky Sueyoshi, Mary, Takeshi and Daisuke. at Fuji111steak