By Ammala Douangsavanh
Described as everything from Cambodian psychedelic surf rock to global pop fusion, Dengue Fever is the vanguard of a new breed of music that mixes genres and cultures to create a sound that is at once foreign, but familiar.
“Dengue Fever” will perform on Friday, June 3, 2011 at First Avenue’s 7th Street Entry, 701 1st Ave North, Minneapolis, MN 55403. Doors at 8:00 p.m. and the 18+ show starts at 9:00 p.m.
Inspired by legendary artists like Sinn “The Golden Voice” Sisamouth and Ros Sereysothea, musician Ethan Holtzman and his brother Zac founded a band to recreate the sound of 60s and 70s-era Khmer rock. What started out as a fun side project has turned into ten years, more than five albums, and a documentary; all the while winning over new fans all over the world.
On April 19th, the band released their newest album, Cannibal Courtship. What fans should expect of Cannibal Courtship is the sound of a band stretching out its legs.
Bassist Senon Williams explains,” We kind of took our time with this album, where in the past we had never done that.”
The album itself took over a year to write and record which has allowed for some stylistic changes. Backing vocals were added by fellow LA trio The Living Sisters, bringing a distinct SoCal surf music feel, and bandmate
David Ralicke’s horns bring a richness and elevation to the songs, giving what Williams calls “a more orchestral sound.”
While Dengue Fever never disappoints with plenty of dance-happy tracks like the infectious “Cement Slippers”, they have also shown they are not afraid to address more serious subject matter.
Williams notes,” There’s some songs where the process of it is impassioned…and so there’s always a little bit of pain, when you talk about passion.”
Chhom Nimol shares songwriting duties on Cannibal Courtship penning the moody, ” Sister In The Radio”, a song which details an especially poignant personal story. In the chaos of the Khmer Rouge’s reign, Chhom’s sister became separated from her family and they feared the worst for her fate.
Later, while living in a Thai refugee camp, the family heard a woman singing during one of the radio broadcasts. She reveals, “My mom started to cry and she told me that’s your sister in the radio! She was very happy to hear my sister’s voice.” This was how the family found out Chhom’s sister was indeed alive.
Not content to simply play music, Dengue Fever continues to give back by supporting organizations like Cambodian Living Arts, an organization, which seeks to revive and retain Khmer performing arts, and the Wildlife Alliance which promotes forest and animal preservation in Southeast Asia. Most recently, Chhom lent her voice to narrate a video game created to educate Khmer youth on avoiding landmines. They plan to return to Cambodia to collaborate with more artists in the future.
Listen to previews and download Cannibal Courtship at http://concordmusicpress.com/releases/Cannibal-Courtship.