Media Release 15.07.10: The Mekong Sessions Responds
As local promoters of the Leonard Cohen Live in Phnom Penh benefit concert at the Olympic Stadium on 27 November 2010, the Mekong Sessions is issuing the following singular statement:
1. Leonard Cohen Live in Phnom Penh is, thanks to the exceptional generosity of Leonard Cohen and AEG Live, a benefit concert with proceeds going to Cambodian Red Cross, the athletes with a disability of Cambodia and a full renovation of the indoor court of the Olympic Stadium. This has been made absolutely clear from the outset including the official media release of June 17 2010, on the Mekong Sessions website and associated media. Those purchasing tickets can be assured not only of experiencing one of the greatest musical and cultural events anywhere but also that they will be positively contributing to assisting some of the most vulnerable in Cambodian society through two of the most reputable organisations in the nation.
2. Given the pioneering nature of the concert, significant production costs are involved given the lack of resources necessary for a concert of this calibre at the present time in Cambodia - hence the lack of artists to date of the stature of Leonard Cohen playing here.
3. The Olympic Stadium is a relatively very small venue with just 3600 seats available. This has obvious impacts on the ticket prices as does its present dilapidated condition. Purchasers are guaranteed the most intimate concert on the World Tour in an international standard venue.
4. Sadly, while the Mekong Sessions has been embracing the enormous privilege of hosting Leonard Cohen in Cambodia, a vocal minority of expatriates in Phnom Penh have been using digital forums to post highly inflammatory critiques.
5. The nub of the issue is not the concert; rather it stems from a small segment of expatriate community bloggers in Phnom Penh who enjoy Cambodia for lifestyle opportunities impossible in their own countries and now complain when something is perceived to be beyond their reach despite the clear benefits for Cambodia and Cambodians. Those who criticise the motives behind the concert not only display an astonishing lack of knowledge or true long term commitment to the development process in Cambodia but denigrate the dignity of Leonard Cohen and his decision to honour us with his performance.
"I am deeply honoured, as is every Cambodian I’ve spoken to, that Leonard Cohen has chosen to perform a benefit concert in Phnom Penh," Mekong Sessions CEO Chris Minko said today ahead of a Cambodian media conference on Friday 16 July,
"This is the culmination of 15yrs work on behalf of the disadvantaged in Cambodia. After watching Live in London with Khmers for the last three nights running and witnessing their reactions to the elegance and humanity of his performance, I hold no reservations as to the welcome Leonard Cohen will enjoy here. The Mekong Sessions is focusing its entire energies on ensuring a seamless event regarded as a highlight of Leonard Cohen’s acclaimed world tour."
"In a world where humanity is lauded but often measurably limited in those that grasp the chance to make a difference, who better to cast light than one of the greatest statesmen and poets of the human condition?"
EDDIE BURNS - HARD HEARTED WOMAN
19 hours ago