Leslie Sanazaro Returns with Daughters of Cambodia Tour, Album

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Singer-songwriter Leslie Sanazaro has a free show tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Wine Press (4436 Olive Street). This show holds particular meaning for her, though: She'll be debuting new songs from a forthcoming album, Daughters of Cambodia, which is due in May 2011. The album is part of a bigger project whose aim is to raise money for a girls' school in Cambodia.

"It's a little bit of an outside-the-box project," Sanazaro said in a press release. "We make the record with the help of musicians all over the country, raise money for the tour, and let the tour stops raise the money for the school in Cambodia. Each show is a fundraiser and is linked with a local women's organization. It raises awareness for women's issues at home and abroad at the same time."

Sanazaro first became interested in this cause while performing in South Korea in 2008.

"I played 70 shows there that year and would read about women sold into marriage to wealthy men from Seoul," she tells A to Z. "Many of them didn't make it. It was very hard to read.

"Then last year I came upon New York Times writer Sheryl WuDunn's book, Half the Sky. I also heard her speak at Webster this past fall. The detailed stories of women who had survived (and some who had not survived) being sold against their will into the sex trade (brothels), well, it just hit me very deeply. For weeks it was the first thing I thought about waking up and the last thing at night. It made me re-think many things."

A planned break from writing music soon fell by the wayside; Sanazaro says she "was suddenly filled with a reason to write new music! While my heart still aches and I still spend a strong portion of each day in thought about the realities of human trafficking, I feel like I've come alive again working on this project.

"I couldn't be more excited to work on something so important," she adds. "The importance of this issue is deeper than I can express. That is why I began writing this music. When words fail, music, time and intent can deliver!"

Sanazaro will follow the album's release with a U.S. tour and a show at the beneficiary Cambodian school. She's currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the project. Tonight's Wine Press show will have a raffle of prizes, including music from bands such as Bill Deschand, Bottoms Up Blues Gang, Auset, Javier Mendoza and Dub Kitchen.

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