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Mean Visa Kmean Bai (Have Visa, No Have Rice) - The Cambodian Space Project

KARTEL on September 07, 2011 11:08

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    The Cambodian Space Project are ready to unleash their psychedelic Khmer-rock from the jungles of Cambodia and onto the rest of the world this summer. The debut album ‘2011: A Space Odyssey’ is to be released worldwide on September 12th through Metal Postcard Records.

    Based in Phnom Penh, The Cambodian Space Project are fronted by the playfully charismatic and vocally gifted Srey Thy. Srey was recently confirmed as a Good Will Ambassador for UN Women’s UNiTE, Ban Ki Moon’s campaign to end violence against women because of her tireless work in promoting human rights in Cambodia. Since she formed The Cambodian Space Project with Australian Julien Poulson in 2009, Srey Thy and her band have traveled the length of Cambodia, visiting and performing for some of the most dis-advantaged communities in rural and urban areas entertaining orphans, school-children and sometimes entire villages.

    Born into a poor family in the poverty stricken region of Prey Veng, Srey Thy was a child laborer from the age of nine. As the eldest daughter she was expected to provide for her family. Thy left home at the age of 18 heading to Phnom Penh in search of a work but while there she was kidnapped and nearly forced into a sex trafficking ring. Left tied to a bed with electrical wires around her wrist for hours an unknown woman freed her and gave her $2.50. Thy fled.

    Following this defining moment in her life, Thy went on to work odd jobs when and where she could, sending money back to her parents and her young son as often as possible. The band came together in 2009 when Julien Poulson, an Australian musician and film producer, was in Phnom Penh looking for Cambodian musicians to work with. He stumbled across Srey Thy singing in a karaoke bar and was instantly taken with her. A couple of months later she was part of a band and The Cambodian Space Project was born.

    Made up of Australian, French and Cambodian musicians The Cambodian Space Project is a culture-clash of sorts, combing traditional Khmer songs and instrumentation with western rock ‘n’ roll that was originally imported by American G.I’s back in the 1960s & 70s. Recorded in Cambodia, the album was made as a tribute to the musicians of Cambodia’s musical golden-age, building on the legacy of the likes of Ros Sereysothea, Sin Sisamouth & Pan Ron.

    Seven of the nine tracks on the album were originally written for or by these three legends of Cambodian music and have been reworked on this album by CSP with a Western edge. The cross pollination of cultures is perhaps best highlighted on the track ‘Kolos Srey Chaom’ (Love Gold) where Sry They sings the words from a Ros Sereysothea track over Shocking Blue’s classic ‘I’m Your Venus’.

    Accustomed to playing anywhere - from rural villages to boats on the Mekong, from bars in Phnom Penh to an elephants 50th birthday party - The Cambodian Space Project played this years SXSW festival in March and will be in Europe this September for a run of shows, including a performance at the prestigious End of The Road festival on September 10th.

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