The 2016 Audi International Jazz Festival Phnom Penh, a four-day musical event that kicked off on Monday, continues tonight with a mix of Cambodian artists performing jazz numbers at the International School of Phnom Penh
The second annual Audi International Jazz Festival Phnom Penh is in full swing this week, with an eclectic mix of artists from Macedonia, Japan, Cambodia and elsewhere headlining the four-day event.
The festival began Monday night with a performance from Macedonian artist Vladimir Cetkar, whose quartet offered the well-dressed crowd a crossover performance of jazz, soul and pop tunes borrowed from his two studio albums, We Will Never End and Heavenly.
Moments before the group went on stage, drummer Benno Sattler was discussing the concert space, the 2,200-square-metre showroom at Audi’s Phnom Penh dealership, saying that the venue’s tall glass ceilings could reflect his group’s sound in unpredictable ways.
“We’re nerds,” he said. “When you’re on the job, you concentrate on what you need to do. And, the sound here is really challenging, so we’re expecting to give our best under the circumstances.”
Continuing last night at Raffles Hotel Le Royal, the festival saw an intimate performance from the Yutaka Shiina Trio, a Tokyo-based group headed by the eponymous established jazz pianist and composer.
The festival continues tonight at the International School of Phnom Penh with jazz renditions from Cambodian artists Nikki Nikki, Ma Chanpanha, Jimmy Kiss and Sophia Kao, before wrapping up on Thursday night with a set by US vocalist Sara Lazarus.
On Monday night, festival organiser Steve Gargadennec shared his hope that the festival could help jazz make headway in Cambodia, a country not known for its jazz scene.
“If you look around Southeast Asia – Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia – we never expected to have such a big jazz scene as we have now,” he said. “Cambodia is emerging, but I’m pretty sure that we’ll have a big one soon.
“That’s going to be my big experiment, the Khmer jazz experiment on Wednesday,” he continued. “I really hope that the young public will come to the concert and enjoy some new versions of what they knew before.”