at a glance
Cambojam, live music at The FCC Phnom Penh. Saturday Aug 7. Show starts at 8:30 p.m. No cover.
Cambojam of Facebook.
Cambojam, the eclectic Siem Reap-based music ensemble, will make a rare Phnom Penh appearance this month when the group plays The FCC Phnom Penh on Saturday, Aug. 7.
For years a regular on the Siem Reap scene, the band first gained larger attention with two back-to-back hit shows at the French Cultural Center’s annual music festival in Phnom Penh in 2008 and 2009.
Originally an all-acoustic act, the band began experimenting with electrified sounds in December, and the six-piece ensemble plans to showcase the best of both styles at the FCC show.
The group is fronted by Filipino vocalist “Kilo” Charlie.
“Kilo uses his grungy melancholic voice and energy to bring a different type of sound and ambiance to the band,” says Fabien, one of Cambojam’s founding members who, like everyone in the band, prefer to be identified by their first names only.
“KC is the main lead singer, with Bertrand and me on backup vocals,” Fabien says. “But Bertrand and I also sing lead on many songs.”
In addition to Charlie on vocals and Fabien, who plays guitar, the band includes fellow French national Bertrand on bass and vocals; Philippe on drums; Aya, of Cambodian Space Project fame, on keyboards, trombone and melodic; and a man who goes by the stage name Trick on lead and rhythm guitars.
The band’s selection of music tends mostly toward straight ahead rock ‘n’ roll, but reggae, pop and Latin, as well as harder-edged heavy metal also make regular appearances in the group’s set list.
“Everyone brings their own musical influences,” Fabien says, “but also their own knowledge about music as well as their past experiences playing in a band. We have all played in other bands before.”
When asked about the band’s favorite songs to play, the diversity quickly becomes apparent.
Fabien rattles off “La Camisa Negra” by three-time Latin Grammy Award artist Juanes, “Let’s Get Retarded” by the Black Eyed Peas, “Sunday Morning” by Los Angeles rock band Maroon 5 and “Killing in The Name” by Rage Against The Machine.
But while the energetic late-night hits are the most fun to play, the band is just as comfortable swooning through the early evening hours.
“Our musical ambiance is very lounge,” Fabien says, “which perfectly suits a romantic dinner. But we also play upbeat songs when you want to dance.”
Cambojam plays The FCC Phnom Penh on Saturday August 7. Show starts at 8:30 p.m. No cover.