This installment of the Earth Stringband’s Southeast Asian tour with the U.S. State Dept./Jazz at Lincoln Center is all about the videos. These guys (all Berklee alumni) did some amazing things in Cambodia.
They composed an old-time tune from Lao folk melodies:
This is sort of a bluegrass/Cambodian conga line:
They jammed with the Cambodian trad music crowd—here’s mandolinist Eric Robertson on the experience:
I was immediately excited when the first musician walked in with a “bangjo”, which was like a mix between an asian lute, banjo, and mandolin. Then poured in the “tro,” “thon,” “khim,” and “roneat thung,” which are basically fiddle, drum, hammered dulcimer, and xylophone. They played for us, we played for them. Everybody was stoked. Then the jamming commenced—we learned some beautiful Cambodian tunes and taught some traditional American music. We also taught them “Stingray Stew”—which is comprised of music we heard in Laos that we put to an old time groove. So we played Lao melodies to an American groove with Cambodian musicians. Now THAT is what I call an Earth String Band.
And to top it all off their music got a seven-month old baby to clap for the very first time.