Sunday, November 7, 2010

I Caught Dengue Fever

I've become a fan of Dengue Fever. They are another indie band that has been around for years. I was recebtly made aware of them a few months ago, although I may have listened to a song or two some years back too. Thanks to my friend Daniel, he turned me on to their music and today I own 3 of their albums and enjoy nearly all of their songs.

The thing that make Dengue Fever quite unique is the fact that this high powered indie rock outfit pays homage 1960s style Cambodian Psychedelic Rock, complete with female Cambodian singer Chhom Nimol singing most of the songs in her native Khmer language. The other members of the band are all from California - Zac Holtzman also on vocals and guitar, his brother Ethan Holtzman "farfisa" organ/keyboards, Senon Williams on bass, David Ralicke on saxophone/brass and drummer Paul Smith.

According to their Facebook biography, Dengue Fever was started by brothers Ethan and Zac Holtzman in 2001 "when they discovered they shared a love for the Cambodian pop music of the 60s. After adding sax man David Ralicke, drummer Paul Smith and bassist Senon Williams, they went looking for a Cambodian singer. Enter Chhom Nimol, who performed regularly for the King and Queen of Cambodia . Her powerful singing, marked by a luminous vibrato that adds exotic ornamentations to her vocal lines, and hypnotic stage moves based on traditional dances, complimented the band's driving Cambodian/American sound."

I was lucky enough to catch them at a free concert held in Honolulu on the night before Halloween (see photo slide show above). Like most bands in the alternative rock genre, Dengue Fever sounded way better live than they do on their records. They have a lot of energy with Chhom the mesmerizing center-point of their show. Any guy could fall in love with her! She's great on vocals and to me has a gracious way of connecting with her audience, not to mention that she can also ROCK.

I hardly make it many live concerts, but for 2010, Dengue Fever probably tops the list of favorite live performances that I have seen.

Find out about Dengue Fever by watching the video and listening to the audio tracks below.

Dengue Fever - Tiger Phone Card (live in studio)

Dengue Fever - Seeing Hands (music video)

Dengue Fever - A Go Go (live at UC Davis)

Chhom Nimol - Dontrey Besdoang (live, 9-2009)

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