This Friday, the 8th July will be a special day in the local music calendar as Joseph Barber Bonavia, known to many as a true fan of the Eurovision Song Contest is organising a get-together in the form of a party, with music from the international competition all night long.
Several artists from the local music scene, most of them having been part of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, or else a national music competition will be attending, interacting with the fans and performing some of their most iconic original songs, along with a couple of covers, some being rather well known.
The line-up for this event includes:
- Deborah C (MESC 2012-2016)
- Kaya (MESC 2000, 2010, 2012)
- Raquel (MESC 2014-2016)
- Stefan Galea (MESC 2016)
- Marie Claire (KKI 2008, 2013-2016 – BV MESC 2012)
- Dario Mifsud Bonnici (MESC 2016)
- Rutger (KKI Jr 2015)
- Claudia Faniello (MESC 2006-13)
- Ryan Axisa (SHSC 2015)
- Lyndsay (MESC 2015)
- Destiny (JESC Winner 2015)
This event, aptly titled ‘Eurovision Party 2’ is being supported by OGAE Malta, as well as escflashmalta.com who have always been on the forefront of covering news from the local music scene as soon as it becomes available. Stay tuned to this portal even on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.
Source: Joseph Barber Bonavia, escflashmalta.com
Devised as an international spectacle with the aim to bring about countries together through the medium of song, the Eurovision Song Contest has served a purpose for no less than 61 years, with Ireland holding the baton as the most successful participating country with 7 victories, the last of which coming back in 1996, at the hands of Eimear Quinn and "The Voice".
Malta, a 28-time participant is stir-crazy for the event, noting that the national selection coined as the Malta Eurovision Song Contest (previously; Malta Song for Europe) seeking the interest of every living song as the winning entrant is taken through a flurry of emotions prior to the experience in May. As a result of this fanatic approach, it should come as no surprise that both television and radio, with the latter in particular dedicate specific programmes in support of the event.
In fact, with the new autumn/winter schedule commencing as of last week, there are no less than 2 programmes in this season's programming; Euromix and Eurovision Radio. Airing on Radju Malta 2 every Thursday at 7:30 pm, Euromix is hosted by Frederick Zammit, and Luke Borg, a former journalist to the international website, esctoday.com bringing you the latest news, gossip and music from the 61 year old spectacle. On the other hand, airing on ONE Radio 92.7 every Friday at 7:45 pm, Eurovision Radio is hosted by Deo Grech and is the longest running radio show in Europe in dedication to the Eurovision Song Contest. Bringing even #live updates directly from the event in May, along with music and latest news from the competition.
We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about the Eurovision Song Contest. You may listen to ONE Radio 92.7 and Radju Malta 2 through the #live streaming.
Source: ONE Radio 92.7, Radju Malta 2
Every year brings with it a number of events, festivals and lots of new material that many appreciate and play over and over throughout the year. The editorial board of escflashmalta.com decided to have a look back at the main highlights of 2014, the year that saw two Malta Eurovision Song Contest competitions, the annual competition l-Għanja Tal-Poplu and Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza, the return of the Summer Hit Song Contest and also the Junior Eurovision Song Contest taking place in Malta. There were quite a number of events that kept our site busy and also our readers on the lookout for the next event.
The year started off with Firelight emerging victorious at the Malta Eurovision with their song ‘Coming Home’, the band came together for the Eurovision Song Contest but looked beyond the festival. The Micallef siblings came together along with their friends and gave us the country folk pop entry. One would not say it was a shocking win because some critics did tip the song on doing well, but surely surprised a number when it emerged victorious over public favourites Jessika, Daniel Testa & De Bee. The band managed to reach the finals of the Eurovision Song Contest in May and Richard Edwards’ composition received good airplay in a number of countries in Europe. This kicked started their career with new material being released recently and a number of gigs in Germany.
After the Malta Eurovision, it was time for the scene to focus on a local festival in Maltese. A festival that has been going for a number of years and has a good following thanks to the importance it gives to the themes of the songs. The outright winner of the festival was the song ‘Jien Ma Naħdimx’ interpreted by the relative newcomer Karen DeBattista. Mark Scicluna & Rita Pace’s composition was a hit from the get go and after it won the song received substantial airplay on a number of radiostations. The powerful lyrics were surely the reason behind its success; the message portrayed in the lyrics shows the work done by housewives which is normally not appreciated by the other members of the family. It was surely the stepping stone for Karen DeBattista who was participating only in her third festival in three years and after this success she also managed to reach the finals of the Malta Eurovision with ’12, Baker Street’.
The much awaited return of the Summer Hit Song Contest was imminent and many were happy to see that this festival was finally back, after a break of nearly three years. The winner of this edition was Domenique who although still relatively young, she has cemented herself as one of the established artists in the local music scene. Domenique always expressed her love towards festivals and is a popular face in a number of local competitions in Malta. ‘Back to...’ a composition by Mark Scicluna & Emil Calleja Bayliss managed to scoop the top prize in this festival and many commented that Domenique’s strong interpretation thanks to her experience in these competitions was vital in this win. The song was always seen as a strong entry but many saw it as a contender after the stunning celebrity duet Domenique delivered alongside Rosman Pace – a unique factor to this competition.
The annual Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza saw an influx of songs related to the fifty year anniversary of Malta’s independence and even though competing authors were free to write on different subjects, this one proved to be the most popular. The result was surely unexpected as the song which was highly tipped on winning the competition finished in fourth place whilst the young and upcoming star Michela Galea won the judges hearts with her rendition of ‘Mixja Li Bdiet’ a subtle song that speaks about the stages Malta has been through since its independence fifty years ago. Renato Briffa & Alfred E. Baldacchino surely did their homework right as they write a catchy tune, with subtle lyrics that embrace the country’s vision of independence and gave it to an apt, fresh and confident performer who delivered the song strongly. It was a well deserved win for the teenager who won the first festival in her first major competition.
Two other winners who emerged in the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza were Kurt Cassar who won the New Talent Section and Kayley Cuschieri who triumphed in the inaugural edition of Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza Junior. Kurt Cassar reached the finals of the prestigious event and went on to win his section with the song ‘Inservi’, a composition of Elton Zarb, Gillian Attard & Emil Calleja Bayliss. The song was well received from the start and many saw it as a potential winner as the whole package stood out from the rest of the field. This surely opened the horizons for Cassar. On the other hand, Kayley Cushcieri is a known face in the music circles but she surely left a lasting impression when she triumphed with the song ‘Għannaqni’ - an emotional heartfelt song that speaks about a daughter begging her mother to hug her instead of abusing her; another strong message written by Rita Pace to Mark Spiteri Lucas’ composition.
The biggest highlight this year for the local industry has definitely been the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. The event was the biggest live broadcast the national broadcaster has put up and Malta was represented by the talented soprano Federica Falzon who rose to fame after winning the popular Italian show ‘Ti Lascio una Canzone’. Federica Falzon had the opportunity of a lifetime performing at such a esteemed event in front of her home crowd and she surely made the most of it as she delivered an excellent performance of 'Diamonds' finishing in a prestigious fourth on the night. Many local fans though would love to see the return of the pre-selection show for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest as this would involve the audience at home choosing their junior representative and also be the perfect showcase for up and coming talent – something which sadly is not given as much prominence as it should.
Given that Malta was hosting the Junior Eurovision, it came to no surprise that the PBS announced that the Malta Eurovision will be brought forward this year. It caught the singers and songwriters a bit off guard and this showed in the number of submitted entries but many critics argued that the quality of songs in the finals was the best it has ever been. Although a tough competition, Amber emerged as the clear front runner and after two strong performances on both Friday and Saturday night it was a unanimous decision by the judges and the public vote that she should be the next Maltese representative at the Eurovision Song Contest. She conquered the festival with Elton Zarb & Muxu’s composition ‘Warrior’ which so far has been well received from abroad. The song is expected to be enhanced and many are looking forward to hear the finalised version of the next Maltese representative.
After all that one can realize that it has been quite a year and if one would think that everyone is currently taking a break, one would be mistaken as in November the committee of L-Għanja Tal-Poplu issued its regulations so the year will be once again kickstarting very soon although the first major festival of 2015 is expected in March and not in February like last year. This is due to having the Malta Eurovision a few months earlier. A festival many would love to see its return would definitely be the ‘Festival Internazzjonali Tal-Kanzunetta Maltija’ which saw its return in 2013 but seems that it was put aside for 2014 because of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. A real pity because it gave light to a number of new Maltese songs in the last edition these include Olivia Lewis’ winning entry ‘Hawn Mill-Ġdid’, Mark Tonna’s ‘Poeta Bla Kliem and Dario & Grecia’s ‘Solitaire’. Maybe 2015 would be a year were one gets to celebrate through more competitions and more songs to feast the keen Maltese music lover.
On behalf of the editorial team of escflashmalta.com, I would like to wish you a Happy New Year filled with joy, health and success in whatever your heart desires. We urge you to keep following escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about the local music scene in 2015. All the best.
Late last week, we saw Valentina Monetta treat her fans with a wonderful present. A brand new video! No, not for her entry for the upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest but a sublime collaboration with Joshua Alamu entitled, A Kiss. During the recent days, some of the familiar artists to have graced the stage of the international showcase have released new material in the form of singles and videos, respectively.
The 2005 Greek entrant who went to will the whole contest that year which was held in Kyiv, Helena Paparizou presented a new video called De thelo allon iroa. This is the fourth release from her latest album Ti Ora Tha Vgoume?. This genre is quite different from what we usually from Helena, but yet again, her latest seventh album is a flavour of different experiments for the artist. After years of speculation and rumours, Helena will try her luck again to be at the Eurovision Song Contest but this time for Sweden. She will be competing at the 2014 edition of Melodifestivalen with the song Survivor which will be presented during the 1st Semi-final.
This year Belarus was represented by Alyona Lanskaya who successfully qualified to the final night in Malmo with the song Solayoh that ended up 16th. After that night, Alyona released an English album with the same title as her Eurovision Entry, Solayoh, and now has released a video called Speak. This song can be found on her latest album and once again this Eurovision star has released some material with a different style that we normally associate her with. Alyona shows a more mature and fashionable side in this video and has released it in 2 languages, English and Belarusian.
During the 2013 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest we saw Serbia being represented by 3 female artists that formed the group Moje 3. One of the female artists from this group, Mirna Radulovi, has released a new single titled Slusaj Dobro and recently also performed it live. Mirna performed her new single on a Serbian show called, Your Face Sounds Familiar, and showcased her performance in an extravagant Las Vegas way. Mirna is not the only female artist from Moje 3 to release a new single as Nevena Bozovic also released a single called Znam da Nocas Gubim te. This is a jazzy uplifting song which show cases some strong vocals from Nevena. This is her second single released after her time with Moje 3.
Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news about the upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark as well as the local music scene which is set to flourish in the first quarter of next year with events such as the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, Malta Music Awards and L-Għanja tal-Poplu amongst the items which we will be covering in great depth and detail. Make sure to Like our page on Facebook, and also Follow us on Twitter.
As previously reported, Valentina Monetta has released her new music video and single titled L'Amore Verra but this week has been a pretty much hectic week for new singles and videos from past Eurovision Artists together with other artists who tried to represent their native country in previous years.
Roberto Bellarosa has released a new singled titled Suivre Mon Etoile. He was the 2013 Belgian representative that was chosen internally to be on the Swedish Eurovision Stage in Malmo. He successfully sailed through the semi final and placed 12th on the final night with his entry Love Kills. The 2006 Croatian representative, Severina Vučković has released a new single and video. With Turkish elements to complement the song, the song is titled Hurem. She had graced the Athens stage during the 2006 Contest with her entry Moja Stikla and placed 12th on the final night with 26 points.
From a non Eurovision representative, Carina Dahl has released a new single titled If That's The Only Way. Carina has tried to represent Norway twice. Her first attempt was in 2011 with the song Guns and Boys and in 2013 with Sleepwalking. Both entries unfortunately didn't make it to the final night of the Norwegian pre-selection stages.
Another non Eurovision representative and from another Scandinavian country is Ola who has released a brand new video for his single Jackie Kennedy. Ola had tried to represent Sweden twice. His first attempt was in 2008 with the song Love in Stereo but didn't make it to the final. He returned to the Swedish pre-selection heats (Melodifestivalen) in 2010 with the song Unstoppable and managed to be in the final but placed 7th on the night. He is currently hitting the Italian Radio airwaves with huge successes to his brand new singles.
Sources: Official Facebook (Roberto Bellarosa, Carina Dahl, Ola Svensson, Severina Vučković)
In the months leading up to the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, Kevin Borg was the outright favourite to the win the local competition and thus represent the country in the international spectacle which was set to take place in Malmo, Sweden. Needing You co-written with Thomas Thornholm, Danne Attlerud, Michael Clauss and Simon Gribbe was a beautiful ballad but the international judges were right to select Tomorrow co-written by Dean Muscat and Boris Cezek with vocals provided by Gianluca because the Eurovision Song Contest in 2013 was somewhat presided by an endless amount of ballads. The result truly spoke for itself, as both performances of the semi-final and the final were met with a top ten finish, the first for Malta since 2005 when Chiara had performed the track Angel.
Following the final of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, there were calls of impropriety over the significance of the professional jury. One has to keep in mind that the jury is also present during the Eurovision Song Contest and they did select Malta as their favourite entry in the semi-final. Thus, it is another reason why the juries should be given more importance. The Maltese public has unfortunately made the wrong selection on more than one count, including in 2006 when they selected I Do sung by Fabrizio Faniello, in 2007 when they selected Vertigo performed by Olivia Lewis, in 2008 when they selected Vodka sung by Morena and in 2011 when they selected Glen Vella with his song One Life. The public has to be commended for the choices made in 2009 with regards to What If We sung by Chiara and 2012 when Kurt Calleja won with This is The Night.
In all of the aforementioned years, the first choices of the jury had noticeable more chance of achieving success abroad including Echoes of Gaia performed by Natasha & Charlene in 2006, Sunrise sung by Claudia Faniello in 2008 and Finally sung by Richard Edwards in 2011. Tele-voting in Malta has been known to favour people based on their reputable name whilst the jury, especially the foreign ones have the faculty of voting for the best package. I support the current system of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest that gives the jury the chance to select the entry. Anton Attard, Head of the Maltese Delegation has already confirmed our participation at the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest and will be hoping to implement some changes in the selection format. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.
Source: escflashmalta.com, eurovision.tv (image)
Preceding the annual Eurovision Song Contest, Gianluca was asked on a regular basis if he had heard any of the competing entries in the competition and he had always signalled his favourite to be the track from Iceland entitled Ég Á Líf, co-written by Örlygur Smári & Pétur Örn Gudmundsson. The track which will be performed in slot number #8 meaning just over three minutes after Malta is a beautiful ballad which has been coming across beautifully on the screens. There is a strong visual lighting presentation but an even stronger vocal interpretation by Eythor Ingi who is proudly showcasing his skills in musical theatre.
Since arriving in Malmö, Sweden for this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, the two had yet to meet but when they did it seems that things got an extremely friendly reception considering that the two artists who had a small chat exchanged promotional discs and called the support of both nations. Iceland and Malta should have a strong relationship because of the fact that we have both sent the same amount of entries to the Eurovision Song Contest without ever finishing in the top position yet managing two first runner-up slots. Eythor Ingi has another intriguing link to Malta, noting that he is signed to Hands-Up Music, which is the same record label behind Chiara's recent releases, including the debatable Żarbun, a number #2 charting sensation on iTunes. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for more news.
Source: escflashmalta.com, tvm.com.mt
RTP, the broadcaster responsible for the participation of Portugal at the Eurovision Song Contest was set to be privatised earlier this year but it seems that the decision was overturned by the Government at the last minute. This was seemingly the reason behind the non-participation in the event noting that the Western nation is the one of the countries with the most nods in the competition without having yet won. Vida Minha, performed by Filipa Sousa was the entry to be performed under the Portuguese flag last year but could only muster up thirteenth place despite an impeccable performance in the second semi-final.
In 2008, following four years of disappointment, the country made it through to the final for the very first time since the system was implemented with Senhora do Mar (negras Aguas) receiving the first runner-up position before achieving a mid-table position in the final.This was the case in the next two years with their last successfully qualified entry coming in 2010 in the form of Ha Dias Assim performed by Filipa Azevedo. Portugal is seemingly set to show the final of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, which is a requirement for all of the participating countries. This shows that their great respect towards the competition continues and with insiders saying that they will be returning in 2014, one will be hoping that this is the case. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.
Malta has finally kicked off the campaign to find Kurt Calleja’s successor in Sweden. Kurt Calleja managed to get Malta back in the finals after a three year gap and also managed to achieve the best ever result for the country since Chiara's second participation in 2005 with her self-penned entry Angel, finishing 21st on the scoreboard on the night following a relatively mediocre performance from the lead vocalist. By virtue of doing this Malta has officially confirmed its participation in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest that will be taking place in Malmo which last hosted the same event back in 1992 hosting Mary Spiteri and her entry Little Child which had finished in third place behind Linda Martin for Ireland and Michael Ball for the United Kingdom.
The songs have to reach Public Broadcasting Services by the 30th and the 31st of October; once again foreign composers and authors are eligible to take part in the selection but the main performers have to hold a Maltese citizenship. The songs submitted will be heard on a CD in front of a panel of judges where they will shortlist 24 songs that will make it to the first final stage of the festival, 16 of which will then compete in the grand finale. The final 24 songs shall be announced on the 30th of November 2012 through the official website of the Public Broadcasting Services which could be found here. The 16 entries will once again be decided by a mix of jury and a public vote, and so does the final result. The date of the festival has not been established but it would be safe to assume that this will be taking place either in January or in February.
Source: MESC Team, www.eurovision.tv
Following a sixteen year break from the Eurovision Song Contest, the Public Broadcasting Services made a successful returning by virtue of finishing in the top ten on each and every occasion until 1998 when the country had been represented by Chiara and the track, The One That I Love which almost won on the night noting that the representative still became one of the most iconic individuals in the country. Nevertheless, that year, during the Malta Song for Europe, it was the beginning of a new chapter for the local music industry with the introduction of male artists such as Fabrizio Faniello as well as Lawrence Gray who has since been dubbed as the man with the Golden Voice due to the fact that he brings a certain tone which when mixed with a stunning vibrato, sounds absolutely incredible in every sense of the word. Together, we will be looking back at the history of Lawrence Gray within the competition and how close he has been on representing Malta at the event.
The very first participation of Lawrence in the Malta Song for Europe came in 1998 with the track New Born Heart composed by Joe Brown and penned by Joe Julian Farrugia. The piano ballad was very much in the zone for those years and considering the fact that there was live music on stage made it even stronger in terms of presentation. The debut is always important but everything seemed carefully planned noting that in the backing vocals, there was also none other than future representative, Julie Zahra. This was not the one according to the jury who did see it fit to finish in the top ten at the end of the night, giving it a total of 76 points and thus a respectable ninth place. He would return in 1999 with the even better track The Right Time composed by Philip Vella and penned by Paul Abela. This seemed like the swansong and apart from Claudette Pace, nobody was being earmarked as the next winner of the competition yet it seems that by some weird disastrous fate, the group Times Three would finish at the top of the board pushing him into second place with a total of a 114 points, missing out by just five (5) points in the long run.
Following his runner-up finish, he decided to stay put and take a break, ultimately returning with a brand new style in 2001, through two songs, the first one being none other than A Song in My Life written by Ray Agius which would end up in a respectable sixth place position and the second track being entitled Count On Me composed by Paul Abela and penned by Philip Vella, the same team that had brought him success two years before. In the year 2002, Lawrence managed to make it through with another two songs, the first track being entitled What Happened To Our Love composed by Ray Agius and penned by Alfred C Sant and the second one entitled Moment of Truth composed by Paul Abela and penned by Alfred C Sant. This had to be one of his least successful times in the competition though as the tracks would only finish in fourth and eighth place respectively. Thus, he was to make sure that he was ready to put the result behind him and come back stronger than ever in one of the largest Malta Song for Europe editions yet. He entered in 2003 with the song Why Not? written by Ray Agius as well as And The Music composed by Dominic Galea and penned by Mark Doneo. The first song would come in second place whilst the other was languish in thirteenth place unfortunately.
The defeat in 2003 was very much unexpected because as soon as the songs were played for the very first time, it seemed that everything had been aligned for him to finally end his drought of being close yet not winning. The very fact of the matter remains that he was being by Lynn Chircop whose ridicolous performance of the song To Dream Again earned us just four points at the Eurovision Song Contest despite the fact that the vocals were upped amazingly well by a strong team of backing vocalists. The very fact that he was beaten once more still gave him the energy to come with something in 2004 and the track that was submitted was You're On My Mind composed by Philip Vella and penned by Joe Chircop. It ultimately finished in fourth place and this gave Lawrence his final beating, going incognito for the Malta Song for Europe for a very long time actually noting that he would only submit a song six years later in 2010 when things had settled down and somewhat falling into place once more. His return to the competition was published through online media, escflashmalta.com. The track entitled Stories was a song which spoke volumes about the life of Lawrence Gray and it was composed by Ray Agius and penned by Godwin Sant.
The song did not do as many people expected it to place even though public support was still very much evident noting that there were a lot of screams in the hall. Stories was performed to perfection but the jury along with the public pushed it into seventh place. He found the right formula to return into the competition and therefore, he decided to also submit a song into the 2012 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest this time working with composer Philip Vella and lyricist Cher Vella who just happens to be his daughter. The song which bore the name In Your Eyes was a beautiful pop/rock type of ballad and really sounded well in the hall. One had to consider that Lawrence did not have a voice going into the final on the night and it was nothing short of a miracle that he did eventually finish in seventh place, cementing that position for yet another time. It will be interesting to see whether Lawrence can come close to finishing at the top or finally winning the trophy and representing Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest because he is an individual who truly deserves the position. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for more of such features in the weeks to come.
Source: National Finals