Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cabaret jazz band at Chenla rings in Belle soirée

Cabaret jazz band at Chenla rings in Belle soirée

Cabaret jazz band at Chenla rings in Belle soirée

Belle de Berry and David Lewis wowed audiences at Chenla Theatre on Saturday night.

PHNOM Penh’s Chenla Theatre rocked to the sound of clapping as audience members tapped their toes and ended up dancing to the gipsy-swing cabaret sounds of French singer Belle de Berry and her partner, Australian jazz pianist and trumpeter David Lewis, on Saturday night.

From the opening number, Belle’s catlike charm and strong voice won over the spectators to her fey, original songs, each with a distinctive time signature and featuring plenty of rhythm from a very able drummer, Remy Kaprielan, and double bassist Denis Henault-Parizel, who also played guitar.

Giving introductions in her liltingly accented English to each song sung in French, her lyrics were by turn sweet, sour, upbeat and sad as Belle sang wryly about love, sex and modern life.

David Lewis wowed the audience with his ability to play mellow trumpet and keyboards at the same time, while a downtempo solo he played on a trumpet in a bowl of water produced unearthly, amusing sounds  led to adoring cheers. His ability to squeeze in a variety of sounds, from honky tonk to Hammond organ, from a piano and two keyboards was astounding.

Covering new material and old songs from the band’s previous incarnation as Paris Combo, their cabaret style managed to win plenty of new fans among the mostly Cambodian audience.

Belle’s physicality, feline grace and spectacularly clear voice was a joyous event, especially when she accompanied the band on piano accordion. Her inability to say “thank you” in Khmer was laughingly corrected by members of the audience, but her charm conquered all.

Their latest album, Quizz, was on sale at the door after the concert, which was sponsored by the admirable French Cultural Centre (CCF).

Their visit to Phnom Penh was part of a tour that has seen them visit Singapore and Malaysia, on their way to France.

Paris Combo released a gold record called Living Room in 1999 and toured the world extensively.


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australian police investigating death threat against Kem Ley's widow

    Updated: 10:17am, Friday March 23, 2018 Australian authorities on Thursday confirmed they have launched an investigation into a crudely written death threat sent tothe family of slain political analyst Kem Ley and Victoria state MP Hong Lim. The typed letter, reported to Victoria police last week, is

  • Apparel groups including H&M and Gap urge Cambodia garment industry reform, seek meeting with Hun Sen

    A group representing some of the largest apparel brands in the US and Europe – including Gap, H&M and ASOS – expressed “growing concern” on Tuesday over several controversial labour laws and ongoing court cases against unionists described as restrictive and unjust. In an open letter

  • Cambodia, states clash at UN session

    Cambodia traded shots with the international community in a heated exchange at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday evening, with states condemning the Kingdom’s ongoing crackdown on the political opposition and civil society, and an increasingly agitated Cambodia accusing member states