2017 ChubMet Music & Art Festival

Battle of the Bands – Photo Credit: Anna Baldwin

By Naida Dizdarevic

Siem Reap, Cambodia
The creative scene in Siem Reap has been developing at a rapid rate in recent years. Where arts & music was once a thing of the past, it is now becoming more and more prevalent in modern Cambodian society. This expression of creativity enhanced the need for a festival to showcase and celebrate the reemergence of formerly lost talents that the Cambodian people have.  The ChubMet Music and Art Festival began with an opening street party on 17th February, 2017 where one could wander the popular Kandal Village locale and find street performances by festival partner Phare – The Cambodian Circus; drop into the pop up cinema offered by The Little Red Fox Espresso and watch an intriguing documentary on the prevalence of music in Cambodia; or journey on, to the main stage, and watch the variety of live music performances throughout the evening.

Opening Party – Phare Circus – Photo Credit: ChubMet Music and Art Festival
Opening Party – Live painting – Photo Credit: ChubMet Music and Art Festival

As part of the festival, the long-standing Giant Puppet Parade celebrated its 10 year anniversary with a wonderful parade through the streets of Siem Reap, concluding with a free concert in the Royal Gardens. Performers on this momentous occasion included Kong Nay– known locally as the Ray Charles of Cambodia & KmengKhmer– Cambodia’s hottest boy band.

One of the performers in the Giant Puppet Parade – Photo Credit: Anna Baldwin
Children in the Giant Puppet Parade – Photo Credit: Anna Baldwin
Kong Nay – Photo Credit: ChubMet Music and Art Festival
KmengKhmer performing at the Giant Puppet Parade – Photo Credit: ChubMet Music and Art Festival

The 2 week festival hosted multiple crowd-drawing events including Battle of the Bands, Urban Art & Hip Hop Night and a magical performance of Modern Music & Ancient Sounds at FCC Angkor. The festival concluded on 2nd March with a key performance by Grammy Award winner Joss Stone at Jaya House River Park. This performance brought an international contingent to the festival and was enjoyed by a fantastic combination of Cambodian and Western attendees, coming together for one last evening.

Battle of the Bands – Photo Credit: ChubMet Music and Art Festival
Hip Hop & Urban Art – Professor Elemental – Photo Credit: ChubMet Music and Art Festival
Modern Music & Ancient Sounds – Rasmee – Photo Credit: ChubMet Music and Art Festival
Joss Stone – Photo Credit: Anna Baldwin

Journeys Within was proud to be nominated as the official travel partner of the ChubMet Music & Art Festival and have the opportunity to promote this unique event to an international audience. The Cambodian team had the pleasure of guiding Joss Stone and her team around a few of Siem Reap’s most special sites during their stay. Head Guide, Sina & Assistant Regional Director, Narla both loved spending time with Joss, saying that she was a truly special person.

Narla and Joss Stone – Photo Credit: ChubMet Music and Art Festival
Joss Stone – Photo Credit: ChubMet Music and Art Festival

2017 was the second year that Siem Reap has hosted the ChubMet Music & Art Festival. We all look forward to the wonderful showcase the 2018 festival will surely offer and Journeys Within looks forward to being involved with the organization of this fantastic event again next year.

A crowd of onlookers at the Giant Puppet Parade – Photo Credit: ChubMet Music and Art Festival

Traveling by Sound – Traditional Vietnamese Music

By Courtney Ridgel

Booking Coordinator, Courtney Ridgel traveled to Vietnam last May and reflects back on her interactive experience at The Truc Mai Music House:

Courtney tries her hand at playing the Ðàn Klôngpút, a rare instrument from the mountains of Vietnam
Courtney tries her hand at playing the Ðàn Klôngpút, a rare instrument from the mountains of Vietnam

Taking the time to listen and watch traditional music being performed is one of the best ways to really gain insight into a local culture.  For the Vietnamese, many stories and melodies are passed on and nurtured as part of their cultural identity.

Truc Mai House Music 1
Our hosts played a duet on bamboo xylophones, also known as ‘T’rung’ 
Truc Mai House Music 4
The stone lithophone, or Ðàn Ðá, is an ancient instrument that is believed to date back more than 3,000 years

One of the most unique and personal experiences for us in Vietnam was a visit the Truc Mai Music House in Saigon.   This family specializes in traditional Vietnamese music and performs all over the world.  They have a large collection of traditional instruments such as the monochord zither, bamboo xylophone, and stone lithophone in their home.  We were warmly welcomed inside and served hot tea, which we sipped while our hosts performed a private show for us in their living room.  This family studies and performs melodies from all across Vietnam and they really enjoyed explaining the origins and significance of each instrument.  As both of us come from a musical background, we were blown away when our hosts offered to let us try out the instruments ourselves after the performance!

Truc Mai House Music 5
Evan tries out the monochord zither or Đàn bầu