In 2013, following an 11-year absence, the International Festival of Maltese Song returned to the local cultural calendar under the auspice of the Secretariat for Culture, then led by the Hon Dr Jose Herrera. The music industry was excited, and exuberant to learn of the return, with several well known artists putting their name forward in the hope of restoring pride back into a returning showcase which had in the past featured winners such as; Ira Losco, Lawrence Gray and Georgina.
What added to the grandeur of the showcase though was the inclusion of a small orchestra, led by Maestro Sigmund Mifsud, largely responsible for the Rockestra in recent years. Following the exclusion of live music from the Eurovision Song Contest, no local festival decided to invite the orchestra back, citing it as a waste of financial resources, a reason which we disagree with, wholeheartedly. Anyway, the issue at hand is that rumours are quickly spreading round that despite the promise made by the Secretariat for Culture less than 12 months ago, the International Festival of Maltese Song might not be making a return in 2014.
This comes as a surprise to many, especially in a year in which Malta is celebrating several anniversaries in relation to becoming an independent and republic country. Nothing represents Malta better than original music in the national language, but it seems that this element is well and truly miscalculated by our lawmakers, because if the festival does not take place then we are back to square one, lacking an independent competition which best represents the local music scene and the language that represent the nation and it’s communities abroad, in countries such as Australia, Canada and the United States, who proudly following the competition in 2013.
The International Festival of Maltese Song has helped several artists, acting as a launch pad, noting that even upon it’s return, it saw to the beginning of a brand new music career, that of Dorcas Debono whose merited 4th place with the song “Din Jien” written by Minik and Rita Pace would have never took place. At this stage, this editorial is being written for the authorities to make the right choice and not remove this competition from the cultural calendar. It would be wrong, immoral and deeply unpatriotic. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.