by Bill Pearis
Channthy was working at one of these karaoke bars when she met Julien Poulsen, a musician from Tasmania.Carried by the otherworldly vocals of singer Srey Channthy, The Cambodian Space Project's cross-pollinated Southeast Asian rock n' roll has gained fans like Nick Cave and former Dirtbombs bassist (and White Stripes producer) Jim Diamond who produced their 2012 album, Not Easy Rock and Roll. It's a pretty cool album and you can stream it via Spotify and Rdio, and check out a few videos below.
Poulsen played Channthy psychedelic rock songs from famous Cambodian singers from the 60s and 70s, like Pan Ron and Ros Sereysothea, Khmer musicians who were influenced by western music introduced by GI's during the Vietnam War.
"She was very, very surprised that she had a met a foreigner, a 'barang,' who had all this stuff," Poulsen said. "She was like, "Oh! Oh!" She was very excited."
Soon after, Poulsen said they decided to put a show together in Phnom Penh, and the Cambodian Space Project formed. That was in 2009. The first release was vinyl, called 'Knyon Mun Sok Jet Te.' It means, 'Unsatisfied.'
The album is a homage to the many Cambodian rock singers who were murdered when the Khmer Rouge took control of Cambodia in 1975. Poulsen says even today Cambodia is still trying to recover the art and culture it lost.
"To find a singer like Channthy," said Poulsen, "is like discovering a young Etta James or Nina Simone. She's really the barefoot Cambodian diva of the rice fields." - [The World]
The Cambodian Space Project will be playing their first-ever NYC shows this week, with three opportunities (all presented by Cavestomp) to see them: Thursday (8/8) at Pianos with The Electric Sons (tickets); Friday (8/9) at Drom (tickets); and Saturday (8/10) at The Rock Shop with pseudo-French band Les Sans Culottes and Detroit's The Sights (tickets). Jim Diamond will be with them, playing in the band for these NYC shows.
The Cambodian Space Project - Don't Say You Love Me
The Cambodian Space Project - I-Am-Sixteen
The Cambodian Space Project - Have Visa No Have Rice