Monday, August 2, 2010

Last check before takeoff/Khmer assault on France: 30 - 31 July 2010

As I may have mentioned before, I just love playing for children. The Cambodian Space Project was lucky enough to be invited to play at the PSE school at Stung Meanchey again on Friday, this time for the last day of school. Two thousand singing, dancing children is about as good an audience as you're ever going to get, particularly when they know all the songs (better than we do, indeed). Srey Thy was inspired to call up Arrapiya and that got the whole crowd doing the whirlpool move, and singing louder than the band. Kids approached the stage and put paper garlands around Thy's neck.  A young brave fellow got up on stage and danced with her.  Another utterly exhilarating forty-five minutes in the life of the CSP.

La la la la ........

The evening saw a direct contrast in both directions - Green Night at Metahouse featured a poetry reading with a young American poet Aida with an atmospheric improvised backing from the Phnom Penh Hot Strings Jazz Club, and Khmer duo Srey Peu and Sinat performing some traditional material, Srey Peu singing and reading, and Sinat playing a series of the most extraordinary Khmer stringed instruments. The old blending with the new.  The Hot Strings were down to a 4-piece, sans batterie, but still made a very appealing noise. 

Then Saturday night saw the Cambodian Space Project burn down the barn at Equinox in our last gig before heading for France for 3 ½ weeks. We started early, in an attempt to get more of a Khmer crowd in … and it worked. The dance floor was full for most of the first set, complete with shrieking and laughing. The second set was quieter, leading off with a few Srey Thy showcases, then getting louder, as we are wont to do. Bong Sak took to the electronic drumkit and made it sing.  Bun Hong was in scalding hot form.  Gildas McSwashbuckle was bouncing, the Breton Bandit smoking.  Bong Ken made a late but dramatic entrance and blew us away for the last set.  And it was string-breaking night: by the time the third set was over, around 11 pm, I was down to a 4-string guitar. A great energy in the room; it was like a Dickens novel, with supporters from many different times and places coming along for the send-off.  Photos coming ......

Stay tuned to tales from the road, Following the Applause in France!