A group of Danish musicians under the stage name The Chopsticks on Thursday night were set to perform music inspired by the plight of residents of the former Dey Krahorm community, the last of whom were violently evicted Jan 24.
The show, to be held at Gasolina in Phnom Penh, was also meant as an unofficial release of “Love & Eviction,” an album inspired by Dey Krahorm residents and their four-year-long resistance to eviction.
“The Chopsticks is a band made up for the occasion. The lead singer [Karl Bille] was here a year ago as a monitor and activist, and was inspired to write songs about it,” said guitarist Cornelius Lundsgaard.
The four members in the band—Lundsgaard, Bille on guitar as well as vocals, Andreas Bennetzen on double bass, and Helga Jorgensen on violin and accordion—originally came to Cambodia to participate in a “Sounds of Solidarity” tour of Dey Krahorm and other villages facing eviction. The tour was also going to play at some of the relocation sites where many villagers have been forced to move, Lundsgaard said.
“But after the tragic events in Dey Krahorm [on Jan 24] we had to change focus,” he said.
The inspiration for the album came when Bille visited Cambodia in Jan 2008 and started working with the musicians in Dey Krahorm.
The songs are about everyday life in Cambodia and about activism, corruption, culture and evictions, Bille said.
“I also volunteered as a monitor and as a monitor you do a lot of observing,” Bille said. “I was so inspired by the people, and when I got home I had all these songs in my head and I started to record them.”
The band said they would be offering CDs for a $30 donation to rights group Licadho Canada and would give concert goers the ability to donate money to aid former Dey Krahorm residents.