It’s not often you get the chance to brave the wilds of Borneo, and while the infamous headhunters have retired from their traditional pursuits, the jungles offer a much more friendly atmosphere as the Sarawak Cultural Village (Kuching City, East Malaysia), hosted the fifteenth Rainforest World Music Festival.
The Cambodian Space Project’s psychedelic sound is going global
For a band that plays Khmer wedding hits from 50 years ago, The Cambodian Space Project makes for a peculiar flag- bearer of avant garde Cambodian rock. But the tripped-out ’60s psychedelia that defined the country’s golden era of music – when superstars such as Pan Ron and Ros Sereysothea ruled the airwaves – is proving almost as popular today as it was during King Sihanouk’s Sangkum Reastr Niyum. And to the disbelief of nearly everyone, The Cambodian Space Project appears teetering on the brink of international success.
Cambodia’s sole ragga dub band revives its Jamaican roots.
When bassist Sébastien Adnot first played reggae in front of Jamaican friends, they proved a tough crowd. “When I started learning, they told me they couldn’t dance to what I was playing,” says the founder of Cambodia’s first and only ragamuffin dub band, Dub Addiction. “’Try to dance with your fingers,’ they said. That’s how they taught me. They don’t know the names of chords or music theory, it’s all about feeling.” Sébastien taps two fingers lightly on his heart and then his head.
Named after the world’s most divisive fruit, funk band Durian are testing the boundaries of taste.
Durian like the word ‘dirty’, they like it a lot – so much so that the band named themselves after the world’s most passion inflaming fruit. Inspiring both reverence and revulsion, this ‘king of fruits’ as it is known in Southeast Asia is described as smelling like almonds or, more commonly, gym socks.
Three Hanoian expats have dug into Vietnam’s musical past to create a hip hop single entitled “Oi Gioi Oi” — a track that hails the joys and pains of living in modern day Hanoi.
British MC Ian Paynton, known by stage name EP, the Hanoi Sessions duo of the enigmatic Hanoi Funkmaster (Japan) and JC Smith (UK) have teamed up to in their spare time to create an entertaining and positive take on the capital, which often takes its fair share of criticism from expats, tourists and locals alike.
In early 1974, a newly opened dive bar in downtown Manhattan became the epicentre of a movement that would ultimately sweep the globe. The address 315 Bowery, then the site of CBGBs, would soon become known as The Birthplace of Punk – the ground zero of a worldwide counter-cultural phenomenon. This was where the Ramones famously played their first gig; where Patti Smith made her name; and where Television, Blondie, and Talking Heads took off.
The fusion of live action with animation dates backs to the turn of the 20th century, when US newspaper cartoonist Winsor McCay created pioneering short Gertie the Dinosaur. During vaudeville performances, McCay would stand on stage, dressed in a tuxedo and wielding a whip, and instruct the animated brontosaur – projected onto a screen behind him – to perform various circus tricks. In a clip from 1914, McCay can be seen tossing a real apple to Gertie, who promptly ‘catches’ a cartoon version of it on-screen (the real apple never left McCay’s palm).
They’ve played for Prince William and Kate Middleton at the royal wedding; in a bathtub in Reading; crammed into a Fiat 500 in Rome, and on board a rather large yacht in Monaco. Not bad, considering Will and the People – heading to Phnom Penh this month to promote their debut album – are barely out of the box.
Bastardising music is nothing new. From the jazz tradition of reinterpreting standards to the DIY ethic of punk, the art of assembling new songs from purloined elements of existing tracks has been around since music was first recorded. But a certain breed of DJ is jacking up the creative bar – and then some.
Sex Machine” “Mr Dynamite” “Soul Brother Number One” “Original Disco Man” “The Godfather of Soul”
James Brown, the “hardest working man in show business,” inspired almost as many honorific titles as he did devotees.
From his first hit “Please Please Please” in 1956, “The King of Funk” and his high-octane transformation of gospel fervor into the explosive intensity of rhythm & blues redefined the destiny of black music in America.