Every time I meet Mealea Lay AKA Miss Sarawan she warms my crusty old heart, in fact, she melts it. She has one of the sweetest, kindest and most humble personalities on this and many other planets.
Last night at the Jazz Club Phnom Penh she was accompanied by her partner, Joe Wrigley on guitar and together they gave a beautiful performance which kept the audience mesmerized.
Not so long ago Mealea gave a lovely interview to the Phnom Penh Post. In the interview, she revealed very humble beginnings where she lived in Srah Chork temple and sang for the monks. They loved her and raised money for her schooling.
The name Miss Sarawan is taken from the name of a temple and the traditional Khmer dance of the same name.
Scott Bywater a well-known performer on the Phnom Penh music scene used to, sometimes, invite Mealea on stage when he was performing at the same restaurant where she was working. Joe and Scott are long time best mates and so it wasn’t long before Mealea became part of the gang.
These days she has found her voice in Miss Sarawan, a delightful combination of Cambodian and Western songs from the 60’s and 70’s
For a taste of a bygone time, elegance and innocent fun, look out for Miss Sarawan
All photos are courtesy of the world reknown photographer Steve Porte
Friday evening and the clouds over Phnom Penh decided to burst. The heavy downfall threatened to ruin the gig I was planning to go to at Farm to Table.
My mate Steve Porte (world renowned photographer), messaged and said the show was going on rain or shine. So off we went.
As we walked out of the sheltering car park under our apartment building we realized the rain was just too heavy to take the short 10-minute walk to the venue. We would need to take a Tuk Tuk.
One thing which always surprises new visitors to Phnom Penh is the crazy traffic. It’s not so much that it’s very often heavy traffic, it’s more that, there are no discernible road rules. Well, I should clarify that; there are no rules as far as foreigners can tell but for locals there seems to be a collective understanding of this giant puzzling mess of trucks, cars, motos and tuk tuks all intermingled with pedestrians.
When it’s raining, it makes it all even more scary dangerous.
After a few harrowing “lucky misses”, we arrived at Farm to Table and piled out.
We were here to see Scoddy & Joe 1958! The guys (Scott Bywater and Joe Wrigley), being consummate professionals had already finished setting up and doing sound checks and were enjoying a pre-show drink while chatting to some friends.
As always, as soon as Joe spotted me he came over to say “hi” and thank us for coming out in the rain. He’s a truly nice guy and always good to spend some time with.
Steve arrived and pointed us to a fabulous table he had reserved and we all took our drinks and settled in to watch the show, thankfully under cover.
The crowd was much bigger than we had expected, maybe because the rain was now starting to lighten up.
I’ve known both Scoddy and Joe for a few years now and always enjoy their performances. They both have a number of bands they individually head up. This would be the first time I would see them in this configuration.
The guys did two sets of mostly songs from 1958 which was pretty cool to hear all those old numbers handled by these guys. Songs from The Everly Brothers, Little Richard, Buddy Holly and many more made it a night to remember
The crowd was pleased and applauded heartily at the end of each song. There was a ton of ladies dancing to the tunes and really getting into it. Scotts mum was the leader of the dancing ladies 😊
Steve took a bunch of photos, here’s a few which captured the guys extremely well
The food was, as always excellent and very good service kept the gin tonics flowing.
All in all it was a very pleasant way to spend the evening; good venue, great entertainment, lots of fun friends, food and drinks.
Scoddy and Joe definitely saved the night!
We are excited to announce that Joe Wrigley & the Jumping Jacks are back this Friday on Bassac Lane for the first time in 2016.
They’re geared up to smash out some classic and we can’t wait. Bring your dancing shoes, this ones going to be a screamer!
Entrance is FREE
Coming for Dinner: Meat & Drink will be serving their delicious burgers, wraps & salads accross the lane & our new Bassac Lane Nibbles Menu will also be available everywhere.
Coming for Drinks: Seibur, Cicada, The Library, Harry’s, Hangar 44 & Meat & Drink have something for everyone!
Coming for Dancing: Bring it on!
Alley Cat is proud to bring back Phnom Pehn’s hardest working musician, JOE WRIGLEY!
“Joe Wrigley is a singer-songwriter from the UK, & is the driving force behind two of Phnom Penh’s most popular bands: the Cambodian-Western crossover of Miss Sarawan and the power-rockabilly of Joe Wrigley & The Jumping Jacks. With a highly entertaining solo acoustic show, Joe explores many of his own compositions – along with alternative-classic songs from the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s. Every song is delivered with a unique style which lies somewhere between Buddy Holly and Syd Barrett! The set is a lot of fun and a chance to hear great songs you will not hear played live anywhere else.”
FREE cup of chili for everyone here when the music starts and $1 tequila shots all night!
‘Celebrate American Independence Day at Doors Music & Tapas with a high-energy performance from Joe Wrigley & The Jumping Jacks. The band pay raucous tribute to the best of ‘Americana’ music : Country, Rockabilly-Swing and Rock’n’Roll.
Joe Wrigley has taken his guitar all around the world looking for musicians to share his love of Rockabilly music. The band Joe Wrigley & The Jumping Jacks is the result of one man’s obsession with a certain period of Rock’n’Roll history in between the energetic Country music of Hank Williams and the British Beat Groups of the early 1960’s. Joe continues to search for the magical 1950’s sound of Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran and Buddy Holly that never fails to fill the dance floor and bring a smile to the audience.
Listen on soundcloud:
watch on youtube:
Joe Wrigley and the Jumping Jacks Live at Equinox, Phnom Penh
Event Date: Friday 4th July 2014
Event Time: 9.30pm – 11.30pm
Entry Fee: Free