Mr Diego is back in the kitchen and tapas Sundays have never been better.
Mr Diego is back in the kitchen and tapas Sundays have never been better.
The Fender Benders formed in 2015 here in Phnom Penh and have been playing at various venues around the city since then. Their style would fall into the “Classic Rock” genre, with some pop and Latin influence thrown into the mix.
But the Fender Benders are first and foremost playing for their audience and are famous for modifying their set list to accommodate various requests.
On lead guitar and vocals we have Pavel Ramirez and Kenny Smith. Bass guitar is Chris Hilleary, and Adam Lane on the drums.
Kenny grew up in Detroit, Michigan and was heavily influenced by the “Detroit Sound” of Motown in the 1960’s and early 70’s. He studied blues guitar throughout his teen years and beyond.
Pavel is a native Spanish speaker, influenced by the Spanish music he grew up with at home. Pavel was formally trained in music as a youth, and can easily cross many genres of music and playing styles.
Adam studied drums as a youth and has been playing in various bands as well as teaching drums for many years. He grew up in England and was heavily influenced by the “British Invasion Bands” such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and many others.
Chris grew up listening to Top-40 music throughout the 60’s and 70’s. In 1980 he discovers the blues genre via The Blues Brothers movie and that completely changes the direction of his musical path.
The Fender Benders are different from other bands due to the broad range of music they are able to cover, and the musical intensity they bring to each show, and OH BOY you should come and witness it yourself.
“Our favorite memory to date was being asked to play at a charity fundraiser event for the NGO named Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE) at Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh in front of several thousand people.”, remembers Chris Hilleary, the Bass player of the band.
Phil Manning, Australian blues, at The FCC Phnom Penh on Friday Nov 13 and Saturday Nov 14. Shows start 8 p.m. No cover.
UPDATE: The Chow show has been moved to The FCC Phnom Penh. Phil Manning is bringing his unique blend of front-porch guitar blues to Phnom Penh. Manning will play The FCC Phnom Penh on Friday Nov. 13 and Saturday Nov. 14. Phnom Penh, once a sleepy outpost along the Mekong River, has in recent years began evolving into a robust Asian capital. Manning is the latest in a string of international acts to perform in the city over the last 12 months. Others include DJ Cash Money, Sean Kingston and The Backsliders. “I never go anywhere far from home without a guitar,” says the 61-year-old Tasmanian bluesman, who will be traveling through the region with his wife. “It’s just terrific to have the opportunity to play while we are there.” Manning has been a fixture on the Australian music scene since the late 1960s. In 1969, he co-founded the band Chain, arguably the greatest blues band Australia has ever produced. Manning and Chain are often credited for exposing Australia to blues music, the roots of which come from America’s black communities in the country’s deep south. Critics praise Manning for his sensational technical abilities, silky vocals and insightful songwriting. A finger-picker and slide guitar player, he points to the six-string style of the early delta masters as the foundation of his music. With those powerful roots, Manning has blended a lifetime of further musical influence, and echoes of country, bluegrass and folk reverberate through his songs. “Later on I discovered players like Doc Watson, Norman Blake, Tony Rice and the whole bluegrass thing,” he says. “All that (and a bit of Celtic) have rubbed off in the way I play, although I never sat down and learnt much of it note for note. I’d probably be a better player if I had, but I’ve sort of got my own way of going about things as a result.” He has shared the stage with many of the genre’s greatest names, including Muddy Waters, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee, Albert Collins, Freddie King and even Bo Diddley.
“We had about 10 minutes of rehearsal and that was it,” he says of playing with Diddley, the legendary Chicago bluesman. “From that we did an hour and a half show.” Manning says that after 45 years of pickin’ and grinnin’, he has now matured into a complete guitarist. “My influences are totally absorbed into my own playing, and there is sense of satisfaction that comes from that,” he says. For the Phnom Penh shows, Manning will play much like the turn-of-the-century American blues travelers of a hundred years ago. “I’ll have one of my acoustic guitars (with pickup of course) and a stomp box,” he says. Rather than work from prepared material, Manning prefers to let the crowd set the direction. “I usually have a few things I start with to settle in and relax. After that the set goes where it feels right,” he says. “I have a lot of songs in my head, mostly original and traditional blues or blues-based pieces.” Both shows start at 8 p.m.
Traditional stalwart Kheltica, a Phnom Penh-based folk band, offers an “entente chordial of musical traditions from France and the British Isles.” And they’re bringing their sound to the Mansion on 7 June, 2014.
It’s an eclectic mix of songs and dances from Brittany blended with traditional Irish and Scottish folk music is rivaled only by that of the band’s make-up: a singer and a mandolin player from Scotland; a British piper; Brazilian drummer; South African bass player; Malaysian pianist, and French flautists. “We had a Khmer violinist,” says Jean-Claude Dhuez, said flautist, “but since he got married, he’s disappeared!”
Bassist Andre Swart stopped by FCC to discuss the band and the upcoming show.
FCC: Who is Kheltica? How has the band evolved over time since it first started?
Andre: I joined in 2011 and I’ve been with the band three years now. This is the latest incarnation of Kheltica. The original one started in 2007/2008 with our flute player Jean-Claude. He’s the last standing member of the original band. It started off quite differently. It was an acoustic and small Celtic band. With the new band, it’s grown into a big ten-piece, composed of people that are all over the world. We cover all the continents, except Antarctica.
FCC: What’s your background? How’d you come to Cambodia?
Andre: I came in 2011 just looking for a change. I’m from South Africa. On my second night I was in Phnom Penh, I went to Score Bar and saw Kheltica play. Months later they posted an ad and I wrote in and joined the band. One of the major reasons I’m in Phnom Penh is because I joined the band. My original plan was Thailand, but once I started meeting people in the music scene, it sold Phnom Penh for me.
FCC: Talk about your life as a musician and your role in the band today.
Andre: I play bass guitar and guitar in the band. I had never heard Celtic music before. A lot of what we do is the French-Brittan side of music. In South Africa I’d never heard of it before. It’s kind of what attracted me to it in the first place. I wanted to try something new. It was challenging, but once you get into the swing of it, it’s like every style of music. Once you are familiar with the style and get into the groove of it, it’s pretty easy to know the songs.
FCC: What’s the history of Kheltica?
Andre: Jean-Claude is the band leader and he’s the original member/founder and he absolutely loves and lives for Celtic music. He’s not even from the Celtic part of France but he learned to play the flute because he loved Celtic music so much. A lot of people come into the band through him. He’s got a lot of friends in the French embassy. The French musicians come in and the embassy says “Hey, speak to Jean-Claude.” It’s more of a social club, more than just a band. Anyone who wants to come can come to our rehearsals on Wednesday[firstname.lastname@example.org]. It will never be a big money making band, but it’s not about the money, it’s about the social club feel.
FCC: Who are the band members currently?
FCC: Describe the “style” of Kheltica.
Andre: We play Celtic music, which stems from Ireland, Scotland, and into France and Brittany and northern Spain, which falls into the Celtic arch. We play music from all these parts. Just now we started to do Northern Spanish songs, because it’s got that Flamenco-Spanish flair to it. Celtic music is staying the same and changing all the time. We don’t stick to the traditional way that it’s played. A lot of it is our own interpretation, and depending on our instruments we have to play. Like any music or art form it’s always moving and changing, never standing still.
FCC: Where do you play in Cambodia?
Andre: We play everywhere. A big night is St. Patrick’s Day. This year we played at Paddy Rice. One year we did Paddy Rice and then FCC. That was a long day. Our audience is split up. We’ve played Irish weddings, Burns Night (haggis) Scottish, we played at Le Creperie for a French Celtic evening. We played a fundraiser on a boat. In the past Jean Claude organized a Celtival, where he brings a band over from France and they collaborate with local musicians. We put on shows at Wat Phnom’s outdoor stage. There might have been 2,000 people, locals and foreigners. We played and the band from France played. We’ve had a lot of really successful shows. We were also flown up by the French Cultural Institute of Laos in Vientiane for Fest Noz, a Brittan festival. They flew the whole band up for the weekend. Usually we play in Cambodia. We don’t gig that regularly. Maybe once or twice a month, depending on where we get shows, because it’s hard to get everyone together. It’s always a challenge. We never know who’s available to play.
FCC: What type of shows do you most enjoy?
Andre: I personally enjoy the smaller, more intimate shows we do. It captures the essence of the Celtic style. We’ve done quite a few shows completely unplugged, in places like Opera Cafe. We crammed the whole 9 or 10-piece band in Opera, where band members were playing at tables next to audience members. For me it’s always nice to play big crowds but I love the smaller shows we do where we connect with people and can play and talk with people in between them.
FCC: What do you like most about life and music in Phnom Penh?
Andre: Phnom Penh has a unique music scene. What I’ve found in other places is that there’s always the cliques of musicians, where if you’re not part of those musicians you can’t play in those venues and with those musicians. But with musicians here it’s very open. I’ve played music before but here it’s like a World Music University. Even here we have a Brazilian drummer, a Malaysian piano player, two French flutists, a whistle player from the UK, a Scottish singer . . . just in Kheltica, I’m playing with people from all over the world, exposed to styles and rhythms and ideas of music that in my own country I’d never in a million years come across. Come here and you stumble on a whole world of music. You can learn much here, grow in any direction you’d like.
I play in quite a few bands. Grass Snake Union, Joe Wrigley and the Jumping Jacks, and I also play with Mwauka and the Gang, as part of “the gang.” I play in a Chinese band too, Malaysian Chinese. The lady who plays piano in Kheltica, and her husband and two daughters all play music. We played at Koh Pich City Hall, a wedding, just a few shows around. Sometimes it’s high pressure. Like I said, it’s World Music University. If you’re willing to jump in the deep end you’ll learn anything.
The FCC Hotels and Restaurants in Cambodia are all about professional development. We regularly offer valuable trainings to our staff to ensure they improve their skills and gain the knowledge that can make them excel in everyday life, both on and beyond the job.
When it comes to our trainings, we focus on diversity and range, impact and sustainability, and relevance and context. Often we have guest trainers, whether they are internal management or otherwise.
In empowering our employees, we bring them into the family and promote their critical thinking, open their intelligence, and improve the entire operation on and around the business.
If you have questions about our training and social responsibility programs, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
Thanks to all of our visitors and guests who reviewed the FCC Angkor hotel on TripAdvisor. With your contributions and positive feedback, we’ve been privileged to receive a 2014 Certificate of Excellence. We hope you will continue to share your thoughts with us on TripAdvisor so we can best serve you.
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FCC Angkor is proudly celebrating Mother’s Day this weekend (24 and 25 May) with a special “Seafood Stand” available at our restaurant during lunch and dinner. Tell your mother you love her by stopping by and enjoying delicious seafood for only USD $35. Book reservations in advance by emailing email@example.com!
Exploring the adventurous capital of Cambodia over three days.
This offer is valid until 30 September 2017 and includes our historical rooms and some our hotel’s services.