Light and shadow marks Dr. Walter Keller's Cambodian photographic debut. In 50 photos -- on display through November -- were shot between 2008 and 2011 in and around Siem Reap. They include black and white photos of monks at Phnom Kulen, rays of sunlight in a gangway of Angkor Wat during sunrise and an illuminated Bayon temple when Cambodian singer Bospha Phan performed an open air concert at the icon temple. The title "light and shadow" is a reflection of Keller's inspiration from photographer John McDermott. "I mean 'light and shadow' in the literal sense, not rich and poor or happy and unhappy," Keller explains."I play with the presence and absence of light. And like black and white photos, giving them a more journalistic and documentary look."
Spawned by the 1920s folkloric Son Cubano, which fuses Spanish guitar with African rhythm and translates literally as 'Sound of Cuba', Salsa dancing swept the globe within a decade. And, like the sauce from which it derives its name, it remains one of the spiciest today. "Salsa is quite an intimidating dance," says Jimmy Campbell, a former professional footballer whose niftiest footwork is now reserved not for the pitch, but for the dance floor. "It's very sensual; very exciting. There's a lot of energy around it. It's not like modern dance, where people don't even look at each other and there's no passion." Welcome to DJ Jimmy's Salsa Night, Cambodia's very own Cuban curio. Initially born of one man's frustration at the stop-start nature of many Salsa-dancing courses, it has fast become the local focal point for footloose Latinophiles. But be advised, it can prove addictive. The Salsaholic, as defined by www.salsa-phnompenh.com, can be found in every Salsa community. "His alarm clock beeps in a clave rhythm, he drinks his coffee while listening to El Gran Combo and drives to work with Salsa spilling out of the windows of his car ... If you get into his car after a long night of dancing Salsa, he will put Ismael Miranda in the CD player before putting the key in the ignition to cover up the unbearable silence."
Since 2010, Luna Negra have been resident at the Saigon Saigon Baratop the famed Caravelle Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (once home to Warapo, another of Cuba's most famous musical sons and a regular here at The FCC in Phnom Penh). Inspiration, say the band, includes Grammy award-winning Colombian singer and composer Carlos Vives, along with Dominican singer/songwriter Juan Luis Guerra, who at last count had sold more than 30 million albums. And critics have called Luna Negra's work 'a new twist on the classic Cuban sound': expect soul-stirring electric violin, trademark Latin rhythms and emotive lyrics. "The concept of 'Latin music' covers a tremendous wealth, influence and originality adopted between the discoverers and clearly perfected by the natives of each region," says Luna Negra keyboardist Yunichi Acosta Hernández. "Undoubtedly, this style is one of the richest musical worldwide. In its general form, Latin music reflects both the music and dances of the world: hispano America. You cannot fail to mention in Latin music, los Latinos! That perfectly reflects their idiosyncrasies. That spontaneous joy they exude through the pores, and the constant desire to spend a very good time [and] to share with the world his eternal carnival." Doors at 8:30 p.m. No cover.
Award-winning Latin fusion group Warapo was long the house band at the famous Caravelle Hotel in Saigon. Founded in 1998 in Santa Clara, Cuba, the Cuban fusion band play radio-friendly Latin rhythms steeped in the Cuban tradition. Warapo won the title "Best Amateur Band" in November 1998 at the 14th Artist College Festival in Holguín, and with their second album, "Tengo Nada," the band garnered four nominations at the 2008 Cuban Disco Awards, Cuba's most prestigious music awards. "We were all in the same school, and with different tastes in music we were able to produce what we call a good fusion," says Alex Gonzalez, one of the founding members. "For us, culture and music go together. At that time we were influenced by bachata, cumbia, merengue, Cuban son, salsa, pop, rock, swing. The band now is quite different, but the essence is the same." Doors at 8:30 p.m. No cover.