7 Questions with Mr. Uli Strengert

7 Questions with Mr. Uli Strengert

3 Uli Strengert

Uli Strengert, pictured, from Germany, is a reggae musician, producer and house DJ for new reggae bar Dusk Till Dawn, opposite Pontoon. The bar’s owner is Kenyan Erik Amdalla, 39. Also the owner of a hair salon, he is an expert in dreadlocks (it takes 10 hours) and says the  bar’s playlist will feature everything from reggae to Swahili, Congolese and Mali music.

Why do you think now is the right time to open a reggae bar in Phnom Penh?
Erik: There is a bit of monotony in entertainment here. Things are repetitive, and people get tired of it. Five years ago, when I moved to Cambodia, there wasn’t even a coffee shop, just Fresco on riverside. Today they are everywhere.
When you start something new, you create something that isn’t there before. But there is already a bit of a reggae scene. Dub Addiction, the Khmer DJ, DJ CCA, MC Curly . . . there is talent here.
Uli: Reggae is also successful in Thailand.

Bob Marley has become distinctly beige. What is new about your reggae bar and the music you play?
E: That’s the problem. Reggae is quite unexplored. People just know Bob Marley and think that’s all reggae is.
U: You won’t hear Buffalo Soldier when I am DJing.

Will you also play African music?
E: African music is diverse. It has so many different influences from different ethnic groups and languages. Congolese music has Lingalla, Swahili, and French language. South African music has a very fast rhythm, lot of English and Zulu influence and drums in it. My favourite is Senegalese and music from Mali. You can’t beat that. The rhythm keeps me awake all night.
U: I want to give people a nice relaxing groove.
E: We plan to play music videos on a projector.

Will Cambodians like reggae?
U: Khmer people mostly like Khmer music, but because of its beat, rhythm, and speed, reggae fits here much better than rock.

Why is that?
When you compare Caribbean and also African music to Cambodian music, there are many similarities. Reggae, African and traditional Khmer music are much slower and have these drawn-out vocals. In Cambodia, you just need a keyboard, a singer and a few loudspeakers, and you can have a party. It is the same with reggae. Jamaican and Cambodian cultures are both tropical. That actually says it all already. I think Cambodians just have much more natural access to reggae than to rock.

Opposite Pontoon, a stone’s throw away from notorious Street 51, how does a more relaxed club like From Dusk Till Dawn fit here?
E: Phnom Penh can get a little dusty and noisy sometimes. It’s nice to come up here and escape the dirt and motos. It is a great place to chill out before you go partying or before you go home.
U: It is a place to take it easy.
E: Yeah, but we will have parties as well. When you play raggamuffin you need a dance floor. People want to dance. We want to have a reggae party every Saturday.

Any other ‘special’ treats to keep the Rasta fans puffin’?
E: I don’t think so but we will have lots of rum and coke and fruit punch. Not every reggae fan is a dope smoker. That’s a choice of lifestyle. We will just offer what we have: booze, music, a great view – and I was also thinking of fish ‘n’ chips.

So what kind of people do you want to attract? Cambodians, Westerners, Africans?
E: Reggae works worldwide. There is also Latin American reggae.
From Dusk Till Dawn, on Street 172,  is open every night from 5pm to 6am.

MOST VIEWED

  • Protests planned in New York as Hun Sen to attend the UN

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will speak at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week. But US-based supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) plan to throw eggs at his car as part of a series of protests to coincide

  • CPP: ‘Behave or Sokha suffers’

    The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman warned Kem Monovithya on Thursday that her attempt to damage “national reputation and prestige” would lead to her father, Kem Sokha, receiving even harsher punishment. Sok Eysan issued the warning as Monovithya, who is the court dissolved

  • News Analysis: Defiance can last for how long?

    The Cambodian government has so far stood strong in the face of mounting international pressure over its treatment of critics, but analysts, diplomats and ruling party officials now wonder how long the defiance can last. The European Union has led the firestorm of criticism, threatening

  • ‘Freedom fighters’ or ‘foreign puppets?’

    Former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) official Meach Sovannara was joined by supporters at a rally in California on Saturday, where a US lawmaker hailed members of the outlawed opposition as “great freedom fighters”. However, a Cambodian government spokesman said such a phrase belonged to