Dancing the day away in celebration of music

Musicians Sokunthea Duk (from left), Olivier Roulin,
Musicians Sokunthea Duk (from left), Olivier Roulin, Kristian Enriquez of Cambojam perform a tune. Oyen Rodriguez

Dancing the day away in celebration of music

Tomorrow, Siem Reap will sing it loud for World Music Day, with a 12-hour free concert on Street 11 featuring 16 bands playing everything from acoustic to classic, brass to hard rock.

World Music Day is a global celebration of music and musicians that started in France in 1982. Today, 120 countries will take part in the celebration that marks the beginning of summer.

Almost all of the musicians playing tomorrow live or have lived in Siem Reap, though, in a true reflection of the day’s spirit, they hail from all over the world, including France, the Philippines, Japan, Holland, Russia, Australia and, of course, Cambodia.

“It’s all about promoting music to the larger audience, to play music in another location than a regular music venue, and if one person in the audience, no matter their age, wants to pick up an instrument and learn after the show, well then our deal is made,” said Fabien Lesecq, promoter and coordinator for the event and founder member of Cambojam, Siem Reap’s first and longest-running barang band.

That Siem Reap is able to put together an all-day performance shows how much the music scene here has developed since 2006 when Lesecq, finding nothing at all, put out an ad looking for musicians to jam with, and thereby planted the seeds for Cambojam, a band with an ever-evolving line-up and constant ability to rouse a crowd with their spirited approach to performance.

Now dozens of musicians and DJs play musical Venn diagrams, grouping and regrouping in different combinations with different names and different styles to create a scene that is increasingly lively, with more and more venues opening across town – though not without their casualties, The Jazz Boat for example.

According to Lesecq, the growth and success of the scene lies in the nature of the relationships the musicians have with each other.

“It’s all about supporting each other, and grows from a human contact to sharing rehearsals and stage together. There is no competition at all. We all want to create more and more music, no matter the genre, style or origin. Music is a language, a universal one,” he said.

Also taking part in the day’s celebrations, Asana will host evening gigs and at Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort DJ Just, resident DJ at Bangkok’s legendary Bed Supperclub, will play an electro-swing/French set in the Explorer’s Tales bar from 7pm.

The performances on Street 11 start at 2pm, and among the lineup, the ISSR School Band will play at 3:30pm, and the Fanfare Art School band at 4:30pm.

The event has been coordinated by Lesecq, together with Cambojammers Aya Urata and Olivier Roulin, with support from Triangle Bar, Hard Rock Cafe, Kulen Water and many others. All proceeds from the day will be donated to the Angkor Hospital for Children.

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