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Dengue Fever Releases Cannibal Courtship & Hits The Road: Tonight in Santa Barbara!

April 28, 2011

Tonight Dengue Fever will show up at Soho, a groovy intimate upstairs joint with an outdoor balcony just off State Street in Santa Barbara to play their wild psychedelic surf rock take on world music, particularly the Cambodian pop sounds of the 60s. As the LA Times put it, Dengue Fever offers “world music for the cool kids.” While I’m writing up this post, I’m listening to their brand new release Cannibal Courtship which they posted on youtube in early April:

Dengue Fever and this new album has everything I want in a band: lots of fat sax (ahh, memories of Morphine), great lyrics (ok, the ones in English, I can’t speak about the ones in Khmer, the language of Cambodia), and you can even dance to much of it! Which you’d expect if you know the pedigree of the band: rumor has it many members are LA studio musicians and vocals are by Chhom Nimol (pictured on the album cover), well-known in Cambodia as a singer before she came to the US. The band was started in 2001 by brothers Zac Holtzman and Ethan Holtzman. They’re joined by Senon Williams, David Ralicke (who was also in one of my favorite LA bands, Brazzaville and gave that band and this one its distinctive horn sound) and Paul Smith.

At about 10 minutes into the video–or into the album, just when you least expect it, some flute comes wafting through the air channeling Jethro Tull. And a vaguely Asian guitar riff gets you swaying to a warm breeze. You want to lean up against someone and move together to the tune.

While the “video” isn’t much on the visual end (more like a work in progress) it’s a great place to listen to the album. It starts with video, then has video and music, then not.  About 15 minutes in, there’s video of them performing a fun little dance tune.

If you catch Dengue Fever in concert, you will see some unusual instruments, including a “Mastadong” which is the guitar-like musical instrument on the cover.

Below is a video where Zac discusses the odd-looking instrument on the cover (please note that I learned last time I went to see the band in April 2008, we were talking and I discovered that his long beard is incredibly soft…)

So where’s Dengue Fever playing and when now that their new album is out? Personally, I’m planning on seeing them:

Tonight 4/28 in SANTA BARBARA  at SOHO — TICKETS:

Other dates in SoCal are:



While you may not be familiar with them, Dengue Fever has been making music since 2001 and albums since 2003:

  • Dengue Fever (2003)
  • Dengue Fever EP (EP, 2005)
  • Escape from Dragon House (2005)
  • Sip Off the Mekong (EP, 2006)
  • Venus On Earth (2008)
  • Sleepwalking Through the Mekong (2009) –this is the album that turned me onto the band
  • Cannibal Courtship (2011)

To close out the set, for your listening and viewing pleasure, here’s one of my favorite Dengue Fever songs from their previous album (and a great video too!):

and one of my husband’s favorite Dengue Fever songs in a live performance:

Check them out!

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