Sunday, September 26, 2010

Double bill

Srey Keo, Longny and Rumnea (white) steal the show with their dancing
Taking a well-earned breather with a few of my dancing partners including Srey Keo, Longny and Srey Phen (all sitting)
The villagers of Khlaeng Poar Tboung helped make today one to remember for a long time. It's a rice-farming village stuck miles away, west of national highway 3 in the commune of Prey Neat, Kong Pisei district in Kompong Speu. You wouldn't go there unless you had a reason and we had a great excuse to make the trek this morning. The Cambodian Space Project, following on just a few hours after finishing a gig at Paddy Rice's bar on Sisowath Quay on Saturday night, were appearing as part of a celebration in the home village of their drummer, Bong Sak. And after today's events, I reckon gigs in the rural countryside have to be the best of all. I can't imagine they get any better than this. We all boarded the bus, about an hour later than scheduled and arrived to an array of smiling faces, a couple of hours later, after a run through the lush green countryside of Kompong Speu province. A marquee had been erected in the grounds of Sak's family home and the cooks were busy preparing a slap-up lunch that quickly followed our arrival. Chicken curry is always a winner with me and so it proved. Accompanied by Rumnea, I wandered around the village, stopping to chat to the locals at regular intervals, who were some of the most welcoming I've ever met, and I've met a few.
The band kicked-off their performance and it must've been a couple of hours later that everyone slumped in their seats, exhausted. A fantastic gig, Srey Thy was in top form, the band were rocking and judging by the smiles on the faces on the watching villagers, they loved it too. Never-before-seen foreigners playing 60's Cambodian music and a great singer belting out Pan Ron classics in a remote village surrounded by rice-fields - does it get any better this? Some of the watching children were coaxed into getting onto the dance-floor and I must say how 11 year olds, Longny and Srey Keo, absolutely stole the show. Feigning shyness for all of about thirty seconds, they then found their rhythm and never stopped. Great kids. As the clouds rolled in, we said our goodbyes and boarded the bus for the trip back to the capital. It wasn't the Spacers first village show though it has got to rank up there with their very best in any location. Last night's show at Paddy Rice was the first-part of the double bill. When the full-blown band is going at it hammer and tongs, they can drown out Srey Thy's excellent vocals and I felt that happened for the first part of their performance. It got better after the break but it's something they need to address, and quickly, when it happens again. There was no such problems today, and the gig went off without any hint of a hitch. Top drawer entertainment from the band and great audience participation from the villagers. Where can I sign-up for the next village gig?
Srey Thy was in great form at the village gig today despite a sore throat
Members of the Cambodian Space Project who played a stormer of a gig today
11 year old Srey Keo (blue) came alive when the dancing began
Some of the youngsters itching to get involved in the dancing
Grandmother Yanh was a delightful source of information about her village
Rumnea with Srey Keo and Longny amongst the rice-fields on the edge of the village
One of the older houses in the village of Khlaeng Poar Tboung
Here I am with some of the families who make up the village; 130 families in total.
Paddy Rice's bar was the venue for last-night's opening half of the CSP double bill



Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have it right. The Paddy Rice gig was ruined by terrible sound. Impossible to hear the singer. This is a complaint made often as CSP gigs. They have to sort it out.

September 27, 2010 at 9:55 AM  

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