Dengue Fever (band)

Dengue Fever (band)
Dengue Fever
Background information
Origin Los Angeles, California
Genres Cambodian rock, Rock, psychedelic, surf, indie
Years active 2001–present
Labels M80 Music, Birdman, Real World
Chhom Nimol
Zac Holtzman
Ethan Holtzman
Senon Williams
David Ralicke
Paul Smith

Dengue Fever is a six-member band from Los Angeles who combine Cambodian pop music and lyrics with psychedelic rock.



The band was formed in 2001 by Ethan Holtzman and his brother Zac after Ethan was inspired by a trip to Cambodia. As Ethan and Zac were searching for a vocalist to sing in Khmer, lead singer Chhom Nimol was discovered in a nightclub in the Little Phnom Penh area of Long Beach. She was already a well-known karaoke singer in Cambodia, but decided to move to the United States after visiting her sister, and thought it was a good chance to make more money to send to her family back home.[1] Zac is a vocalist and guitarist, fomerly with Dieselhed, while Ethan plays the Farfisa organ. Rounding out the band are bassist Senon Williams (who played in Radar Bros until January 2009), drummer Paul Smith, and David Ralicke on brass.

Their self-titled debut album was released in 2003. All lyrics on the earlier albums are sung in Khmer, while the third album introduces some songs in English. Many of the songs are covers of 1960s Cambodian rock tunes by such artists as Sinn Sisamouth, Pan Ron, and Ros Sereysothea, but some are originals, first written in English by the Holtzmans before being translated.

In 2005, the band toured Cambodia during the Bon Om Thook water festival, to critical acclaim. The documentary film Sleepwalking Through the Mekong documents the band's touring in Phnom Penh and other major Cambodian cities. There, singer Chhom Nimol, whose family included renowned singers from the 1970s onward, reconnected with the Cambodian fanbase, many of whom remembered the heyday of Cambodian rock from that era. The trip was a transforming experience for the rest of the band as they performed with master musicians and recorded new songs along the way, providing the band with new material. The film also reveals aspects of modern Cambodia, as the band crosses a cultural chasm with the same spirit as Cambodia's original rock pioneers.[2]

Also in 2005, their second album, Escape from Dragon House, was released, containing more original songs. Escape from Dragon House was one of's Top 100 Editor's Picks of 2005. It was re-released on limited edition colored vinyl on August 26, 2008.

Dengue Fever at Beautiful Days Festival 2008. Photo: Brian Marks

In June 2008, Real World Records released Venus On Earth in all territories outside of the U.S. and Canada.[3] Peter Gabriel, founder of their new label, said of the deal, "We have Dengue Fever coming out on Real World Records (outside of the USA) - it’s really cool stuff, with the small Cambodian singer and big American guys behind! They’re California based but have taken 60’s Cambodian pop as their main source of inspiration and it’s done with a lot of style. It’s spirited, impassioned stuff." Venus On Earth was selected as one of the best world music records of 2008 by the iTunes Store.

Dengue Fever has entered into partnerships with a number of charitable organizations to support causes in Cambodia. They are involved with the wildlife and forest conservation organization Wildlife Alliance,[4] and have donated recordings for charity records with the Sweet Relief Fund, a charity that aims to provide financial assistance to musicians dealing with illness, disability, or age-related issues. The group also compiled a collected of Cambodian rock music from the pre-Khmer Rouge era, entitled "Electric Cambodia", in 2010.[5] All proceeds from this album were dedicated to Cambodian Living Arts.[6]

Dengue Fever were winners of the 8th annual Independent Music Awards for best World Fusion Album.


  • 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)
  • Cannibal Courtship (2011)

Use in other media

"Ethanopium", a cover of a song by Ethiopian jazz musician Mulatu Astatke, was included in the soundtrack of Jim Jarmusch's 2005 film Broken Flowers.

"One Thousand Tears of a Tarantula" was included on the soundtrack for the second season of the Showtime series Weeds, as well as on the recap of that episode for the third season.

The band's Khmer cover of Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" was included on the soundtrack of Matt Dillon's 2002 film set in Cambodia, City of Ghosts.

"Seeing Hands" was used as the theme tune to the 2008 UK television series Sanchez Get High.

"Escape From Dragon House" was featured in the fourth episode of True Blood.



External links



Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Dengue fever (disambiguation) — Dengue fever is an endemic viral infectious disease. Dengue fever may also refer to: Dengue virus, the virus that causes dengue fever Dengue Fever (band) See also Dengue fever outbreaks This disambiguation page lists articles associa …   Wikipedia

  • Dengue Fever — Dengue Fever …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Brazzaville (US band) — Infobox musical artist | Name = Brazzaville Img capt = David Brown, the second from the left, with the European lineup of the band Img size = 220 Background = group or band Origin = Los Angeles, California, USA Instrument = Genre = Romantic… …   Wikipedia

  • syndrome — The aggregate of symptoms and signs associated with any morbid process, and constituting together the picture of the disease. SEE ALSO: disease. [G. s., a running together, tumultuous concourse; (in med.) a concurrence of symptoms, fr. syn,… …   Medical dictionary

  • Aedes albopictus — Female at the start of feeding Conservation status …   Wikipedia

  • Malaria — Classification and external resources Ring forms and gametocytes of Plasmodium falciparum in human blood. ICD 10 B …   Wikipedia

  • El Salvador — /el sal veuh dawr /; Sp. /el sahl vah dhawrdd / a republic in NW Central America. 5,661,827; 13,176 sq. mi. (34,125 sq. km). Cap.: San Salvador. Also called Salvador. * * * El Salvador Introduction El Salvador Background: El Salvador achieved… …   Universalium

  • Diversafest — (Dfest), Oklahoma s Music Conference and Festival, was an annual live event that showcased independent and emerging artists and hosted educational music industry panels and a tradeshow. Dfest took place the last weekend in July in the historic… …   Wikipedia

  • performing arts — arts or skills that require public performance, as acting, singing, or dancing. [1945 50] * * * ▪ 2009 Introduction Music Classical.       The last vestiges of the Cold War seemed to thaw for a moment on Feb. 26, 2008, when the unfamiliar strains …   Universalium

  • Womad Charlton Park — is the name given to the World of Music Arts and Dance (WOMAD) festival held in Charlton Park in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, England, since 2007. It replaced Womad Reading, which was held in the Rivermead Centre and Little John s Farm in Caversham,… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.