Preparing for blast off!

This is such a great story already, even before it gets underway, it’s been a fantastic feeling to have Ahwin, stepping into the giant shoes of Kak Channthy, and rehearsing up songs, new ideas, shooting video clips and bringing the sound of her excellent voice into the psychedelic picture that is CSP 2024.

Ahwin, is a lady driver by day, she drives tourists around Kampot in her tuk tuk, on Kampot to Phnom Penh in her own taxi – a rare thing for a young woman in Cambodia. By night she’s already a popular provincial singer and through the introduction of local sound man Sary, we knew a bit about that already. We had invited Ahwin in to record at the Fish Island Records studio late last year, and I’d asked Sary “Hey, what’s she like, can she do this kind of stuff?”. Without missing a beat, Sary replied “Oh yeah… she’s the best!”.

It didn’t take long for engineer/producer Dave Anderson and I to see what a great talent Ahwin has…she was singing to tracks we’d already recorded with CSP rhythm machine Bong Sak and Phea Bass. The guys would hear Ahwin’s voice later at mixdown and yeah, we all love what we’re hearing. But this is just the beginning of this story. Just as Channthy sang on her autobiographic “Have Visa No Have Rice”, it’s one thing to be able to jam with the band but it’s a whole new world going on tour. We’re now set for our 2024 Australian Tour and can’t wait to bring the new CSP to live audiences in Australia. The work behind the scenes has involved baited breath, while anxiously waiting on fresh new passports and in Ahwin’s case her fist Visa for working in Australia.

The CSP Touring Company

So somehow by good luck and an alignment of the stars, the CSP is again touring but with an extended team and a new mission to show off our made-in-Cambodia music and dance. Also, stepping aboard the good ship Space Project is Dave Anderson who is the man behind many of our new recordings at Fish Island. This time, Dave will be joining the band on guitar and bring his formidable musicianship into the live band, joining CSP onstage in Adelaide and traveling by road and tour date all the way through to Sydney where we’re planning to decamp and record at Oceanic Studios.

Thyda Chea brought her beautiful, graceful style to the CSP late 2022 and joined the band as lead vocalist at Oz Asia Festival then earlier in 2023 for a lively tour of Cambodia. Thyda’s a stunning Cambodian singer who is also an Aussie based in Adelaide so it’s a thrill for us to have Thyda on stage at WOMADelaide this year.

It’s more than ten years since we’ve played WOMADelaide festival and it is such and exciting opportunity to return. In assembling the touring party, and performance ideas for the road ahead, I can now see that what began as a jam band in a tiny bar in Phnom Penh circa 2009, has become more like a cultural variety show or a performing arts group that has moved as much into new formats like musical theatre and community based arts but still has one foot firmly placed in Garage rock’n’roll.

We’re bringing you a great new live show and some very tasty treats to wet your appetite for more CSP

At WOMADelaide and other stops along the way, we’re also featuring cooking workshops led by chef Kek Soon (co-founder of Fish Island Community Arts Centre), as well as, dance workshops led by Annabel Hom – a stunning young dancer who has already dedicated years to learning classical Apsara dance.

We first met Annabel back in May 2015, when worked in residence at Casula Powerhouse in western Sydney, in collaboration with local Khmer musicians & dancers from Khmer community NSW. Recently Annabel’s been in Cambodia, studying dance and took time to visit us at FICAC, performing this wonderful, impromptu dance on the rooftop of our recording studio. We can’t wait to spend more time on tour to work in new dance and music ideas, not least, choreography for The Raft at Night, a music theatre show in development. It’s a story based on modernist painter Ian Fairweather’s near-death experience, 16 nights at sea, drifting on a raft between Darwin and Timor.

Apsara dancer Annabel Hom performing upon the rooftop of Fish Island Records studio, Treauy Kaoh.
Shadows of Angkor – from the forthcoming Golden Phoenix LP

Cambodian Space Project 2024 tour dates + booking links

Fri 08 – Mon 11  – WOMADelaide

Fri 15 March – Theatre Royal, Castlemaine

Sat 16 March – George Lane, St Kilda, Melbourne

Sun 17 March – Airey’s Inlet Festival

Fri 22 March – Polish Club, Canberra

Thu 28 March – Marrickville Bowlo, Sydney

Fri 29 March – Qirks, NSW

Saturday, 30 March – Crystal Palace, Canley Heights See Beyond Borders charity show

Friday 05 April – The Red Rattler, Marrickville, NSW

Sat 06 April – The Memo, St Kilda, VIC 
with Jack Howard’s Epic Brass Horns (Golden Phoenix Launch)

Sun 07 April – Melbourne, Cambodian Community event – to be announced