Malta: Interview with Donna Marie Ellul (FiKM ’13)

217 has been granted permission to speak to the local artists competing within this years’ edition of the International Festival of Maltese Song, fourteen in total. Apart from speaking to them about their careers thus far, it is pivotal to denote that we have focused on their participation within this competition in particular and their stance on Maltese being passed onto future generations through the medium of song. The order in which these interviews are being presented does not reflect the running order of the competition. Donna Marie is the tenth artist and she will be performing the song Paċi Sovrana which she wrote.

For many, Donna Marie Ellul is a relative newcomer to the scene, but many have to recall that you managed to get through to two editions of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza, first time in 2005 with the track Qmugħ tad-Deheb and then, in 2007 with the song Ma’ Nofs In-Nhar, both of which were composed by Chan Vella to the lyrics of Paul Ellul. Both songs were extremely different from each other but managed to show your vocal strengths relatively well. What kind of experience did you draw from such events and looking back, would you have done anything different? 

The three songs are very different from each other and very special….perhaps we placed second in 2004 because the song was very different from all the others. The experience I got in the field is that of a high level. I had been waiting to participate in prestigious festivals since I was a child and then once I was in with the others, the experience I got was quite positive and it kept me moving forward.  I had always learnt a lot from others who are much more experienced than I am. I wouldn’t have changed anything since during that time I made sure that I was going to be satisfied with my performance on stage.

One of the most intriguing aspects of your participation within the International Festival of Maltese Song is the fact that you are one of two vocalists to act as a singer/songwriter following in the footsteps of the magnificient Corazon and Walter Micallef whose local music has become part of our cultural heritage. What encouraged you to take up this brand new challenge considering that this is your first time competing in a local festival in which you will be singing your own material and is it a daunting prospect? 

I feel that it is of greater success and satisfaction. The song wasn’t actually produced at one go. I kept on refining different ecomposing my own personal songs. It is not easy but it is a challenge to manage to come up with an original melody which blends well with a set of lyrics…but I managed.

It is fair to say that in these past six years that you have been away from local competitions, Donna Marie has grown up and developed more skills, possibly even outside of music. Do you think that the track that you’re presenting, Paċi Sovrana best represents you as an individual at the moment and would you care to explain to our readers what the song is about along with the genre it encompasses? 

Most of the other songs which I have interpreted were ballads…when I was more passive about everything in life. Now, life experiences have led me to become more of an extrovert and more assertive. The lyrics of my song express some anger towards the civil wars which have been going on for years in some countries and I emphasised the importance of worldwide peace. The song can be easily associated with an extrovert and assertive person.

As a music competition, the International Festival of Maltese Song will be following in the footsteps of L-Għanja tal-Poplu and Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza in promoting the national language through the medium of music. With the Public Broadcasting Services supporting the event, it makes it only second to the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. Do you believe that there’s a place for this competition within the local music industry and do you support it’s continuation in the years to come? 

I love Maltese music, thus for me it is natural to support a festival which is of a very high level of professionalism and which supports our unique language. For Maltese singers it serves for greater exposure and it presents opportunities. Since it is of a high level it will surely be followed by the public and therefore the festival also leads to some popularity….something which each singer strives for I believe.

Well, you are one of the finalists in this years’ edition of the International Festival of Maltese Song, a competition which had been stopped for eleven years. Tell us, how does it feel to know that this competition has returned to the local music scene and to be amongst some of the most recognised artists within the industry including those who have been part of several other competitions, even abroad? 

I feel very excited about it and very looking forward for this special festival which will surely enhance my experience.

Would you like to say anything to our readers at

Appreciate and give support to new comers. They can only move on with your support!


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