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Cambodian comeback

LOUIS Bertignac (above), the Frenchman who starred in the '70s as guitarist in the

rock group Telephone, and who fell to earth after it disbanded in the 80s, staged

his international comeback from Cambodia last Friday night, as he and Les Visiteurs

played their debut concert at Olympic Stadium.

Bertignac and Les Visiteurs did not miss a beat, but they didn't exactly burn down

the house either. They performed tracks from Bertignac's newest album, "96"

- recorded at the New York studio where the late Jimi Hendrix compiled "Electric

Ladyland" - and songs by the Rolling Stones, and Bob Marley.

They also played some golden oldies from Bertignac's Telephone days, performing with

two Cambodian singers, Touch Sun Nix and Ok Borey.

Judging by the lukewarm reception Bertignac and his players were given by the largely

Francophone crowd, it is probably too soon to tell if this artist will prove his

critics wrong and regain lost celebrity.

Jacques Higelin, reputed to be a towering figure on the French pop scene, was penciled

in by organizers on the eve of the concert for fear that Bertignac's billing would

not draw a sizable crowd. Bertignac, however, bore this with dignity.

"Switching from audiences of 10,000 people to audiences of 500 was a big change

for me," he said. "But I kept on going and then realized that I was not

doing this to have much success or get a lot of money. The only thing is to be good

and to give people joy. I don't ask for more."

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