"I would like to announce that I have not submitted any entries for the Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2016, focusing on my studies above anything else", announced Karen DeBattista through her official social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter.
Emerging on the local music scene as a finalist in the Summer Hit Song Contest 2011, the young versatile female vocalist made headlines winning L-Għanja tal-Poplu 2014 with "Jien Ma Naħdimx", an original song composed by Mark Scicluna with lyrics by Rita Pace. She quickly anticipated the possibility of partaking in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest and enlisted lyricist Emil Calleja Bayliss, and composer Jan Van Dijck to work on something different.
The result of this collaboration was "12, Baker Street", one of the songs which made it through to the final phase of the competition, eventually also making the iTunes chart. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about Malta's participation in the Eurovision Song Contest 2016.
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.
L-Għanja tal-Poplu is considered to be one of the most renowned local competitions. It is one of the very few that promotes our national songwriters to the full and it also makes it an important point that our mother language, Maltese, could be sung in a music competition. In 2015, the showcase is set to take place on the 21st of March. After analysing the regulations, it can be said that there were no major amendments to the rules and regulations of the festival.
Earlier this year, the competition was won by a relative newcomer, Karen DeBattista, with the song "Jien Ma Naħdimx", composed by Mark Scicluna to the lyrics of Rita Pace. It garnered national acclaim, having been discussed on several talk-shows, over the notoriety of the lyrical prowess which it possessed. Since then, Karen DeBattista has been through to the final of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest with the song "12, Baker Street", composed by Jan Van Dijck to the lyrics of Emil Calleja Bayliss.
Frank O'Neill, Christabelle Curmi and Il-Lajks were the first runners-up with the song "Kif Xrobbtuli l-Menti" written by Frank O'Neill himself, leaving Miriam Christine and Olivia Lewis in third place with "Wara l-Kanċell" co-written by Miriam Christine and Joe Julian Farrugia. In order to obtain a copy of the whole regulations they can be found on the official website of L-Għanja tal-Poplu. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about the local music scene.
Source: L-Għanja tal-Poplu
ONE Radio 92.7 and ONE Television merge into a professional broadcasting house, whose output is of extremely high quality. One such programme delivered through this system is "Clint on ONE" hosted by Clint Bajada, which aims to brings musicianship back into the term artist, promoting the singer in a setup where being comfortable is a necessity. Following the inauguration of the autumn/winter schedule, the programme made a much anticipated return, and later on, will be welcoming a true songbird, Karen DeBattista.
Still relatively fresh off her victory during this year's edition of L-Għanja tal-Poplu with the track "Jien Ma Naħdimx", composed by Mark Scicluna to the lyrics of Rita Pace, Karen has signalled an intent to mature, and grow into the music industry. Following a busy couple of months of post-competition promotional appearances, the young singer had a couple of months off, before making a special guest appearance during the Summer Hit Song Contest, in a duet with Simone Gauci.
"Clint on ONE" airs every Saturday morning as from 11am onwards, so make sure to tune into ONE Radio 92.7 and ONE Television. Any foreign fans will also be able to follow the show through the LIVE streaming portion which is offered through the official website of ONE. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news from the local music industry.
Source: ONE Television, ONE Radio 92.7
On the 15th March, Sir Temi Żammit Hall played host to the 38th edition of L-Għanja tal-Poplu, a revitalised music competition for which there were a total of seventy-one (71) submissions, sixteen (16) of which were presented to the audience present in the venue and at home with ONE Television broadcasting the event directly in real-time. Josephine Ebejer Grech & Clint Bajada presided over the competition as hosts, not only introducing the song title, artists and songwriters but even the musicians on stage, something which was innovative and well planned. Supported by the Malta Arts Fund and Fondazzjoni Ċelebrazzjonijiet Nazzjonali, it was truly an evening to remember.
David Aloisio, Vince Fabri, Rosabelle Bianchi, Eric Montfort, Elaine Falzon, Kevin Farrugia, Maria Abdilla and David Azzopardi were the professional panel of judges for the competition and they selected a worthy bunch of winners, all of which were mentioned by the public present during several points throughout the evening. Nevertheless, it seems like the jury and the public agreed greatly on the winning entry Jien Ma Naħdimx with music by Mark Scicluna, lyrics by Rita Pace and vocals by songbird, Karen DeBattista. In second place was the comical upbeat song about social media entitled Kif Xrobtuli l-Menti, written by Frank O'Neill, who performed it with Christabelle Curmi and Il-Lajks, leaving in third place a soft beautiful ballad entitled Wara l-Kanċell penned by Joe Julian Farrugia to the music of Miriam Christine who also performed the song in a duet with Olivia Lewis.
In the meantime, this competition is known to award a number of other trophies, in order to point out the exceptional quality of talent that Malta is known to have. Christian Arding was awarded with the Best Interpretation for his entry Il-Karba tal-Mument composed by Chan Vella to the lyrics of Kevin Tanti whilst Denise Spiteri was given the Best New Artist accolade for her stunning performance of Pupa written by Mark Laurence Zammit. The coveted Social Theme award which is given to the lyricist who challenges the stereotype and comes up with a brilliant all around combination went to Rita Pace for the wonderful Il-Quċċata which she wrote to the music of Jeffrey Scicluna, performed by 7 Spadi leaving only the singer/songwriter award which went for the aforementioned Frank O'Neill.
We would like to thank the organising committee of L-Għanja tal-Poplu for their fantastic support throughout these past couple of weeks, giving us the opportunity to speak to the artists, and making the songs available beforehand, giving the event positive publicity. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news about the local music scene and participation in the Eurovision Song Contest as soon as it becomes available.
L-Għanja tal-Poplu, a music competition with original songs in Malta is turning thirty-eight (38) in a couple of days whilst encountering a resurgence, noting that the amount of submissions this year reached seventy-one (71), the highest in reality since the committee introduced the element of live instruments during the performances. escflashmalta.com has been granted permission to speak to the sixteen (16) competing acts, and thus we move onto the seventh act in our series; Karen DeBattista who will be performing the song Jien Ma Naħdimx composed by Mark Scicluna to the lyrics of Rita Pace.
Karen DeBattista, a newcomer to the local music scene whose vocals have well and truly been recognised by a couple of professional personnel, seeing you through to the finals of the Malta Summer Hit Song Contest, the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza and now, L-Għanja tal-Poplu. How have you as an artist grown throughout these competitions and what lies ahead in the future?
I must say that taking part in local competitions surely helps artists to grow first and foremost with regards to confidence and stage presence. I remember my first time on stage; I was absolutely petrified. By time I realised that all that was needed was self-assurance and experience. It also widens an artist’s circle of musical companions, meaning that with each experience I made new friends, both singers, and also composers and authors. I hope to work on new projects, although I don’t like to plan too far into the future. We’ll see what comes my way in the future!
Jien Ma Naħdimx, composed by Mark Scicluna to the lyrics of Rita Pace is the song that you will be presenting in this years’ edition of L-Għanja tal-Poplu. Would you care to explain the meaning behind the lyrics and the genre that the song encompasses?
The song is a simple ballad, yet its simplicity in music compliments the lyrics while allowing the audience to follow the theme of the song. The lyrics are directed towards society’s view with regards to the role of housewives. We seem to be under the impression that women who opt not to find a paying job have all the time in the world to do whatever they please.
In reality, the work which has to be done with regards to taking care of the family and doing all that is necessary to make a house a home requires the same, if not more, effort than a ‘regular’ job. There is no payment for a housewife’s work; all that she would want is the gratitude shown by family members and the proper importance given to her by society.
L-Għanja tal-Poplu is known to be a celebration of lyrical prowess amongst friends, noting that the competitive feel is very much forgotten during rehearsals or the actual night of the competition. With ONE, the most successful private broadcaster in Malta supporting this event, it seems to denote its successful reputation. 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?
Without a doubt! I believe that we need to push more boundaries with regards to local music especially when it comes to writing lyrics in Maltese. I sincerely hope that this particular competition leads the way to similar productions in the future. Our language is a jewel, especially when combined with sweet music composed by so many talented musicians.
Would you like to say anything to our readers at escflashmalta.com?
I would like to encourage the audience to be part of this celebration of local talent; it means the world to us performers!