Stunning! One word, commonly used as a phrase to describe perfection. Somewhat rare that I use such language, for those who have come to know me, believe that I am difficult to please.
Last night at Rockestra, an annual event held under the auspices of the Office of the President of Malta in support of the Malta Community Chest Fund, I used this word a mere 3 times; for the collective Malta Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Sigmund Mifsud, and then for the powerhouse female vocals of Julie Zahra and Raquela.
Raquela, a stand-out artist, whose talent has been showcased time-and-time again on the national stage, having been in the finals of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest in 2009, 2011 and 2013 as well as Teatru Unplugged 2013, was the highlight of Rockestra in 2014, performing a duet of "Say Something" with Konrad Pule, originally by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera. This year she took on, "A Thousand Years", originally by Christina Perri. Tried by several other local acts before her, all of whom were sub-standard, Raquela was in her element and zone, getting a rapturous applause mid-way through the performance.
Julie Zahra, one-half of Malta's representative duo at the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2004, recently back to Malta following a lengthy stay in the United Kingdom was absolutely flawless in both her numbers, starting out with a jaw-dropping performance of Queen's "Who Wants to Live Forever", where she swayed left to right in a beautiful white gown, before giving an impeccable performance of "The Phantom of the Opera" in a duet with Frank Cardassia.
The two ladies were truly in a league of their own, and gave performances which bring talented foreign acts to shame and ridicule. The evening, a positive celebration of talent, featured several well known artists, all of whom gave their absolute best. Notable mentions include Raquel Galdes, Ludwig Galea, Justin Galea, Chris Grech, Brooke Borg, Lawrence Gray, and Victorio Gauci of The Crowns. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about the local music scene.
Valletta, Malta's capital city has played host to several cultural events along the years, the most recent being the International Festival of Maltese Song, seeing to the victory of Olivia Lewis. Nevertheless, the streets of the famous capital city of culture in 2018 were used to display a flashmob in promotion of NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto under the slogan Feels Good, Looks Good, Tastes Good! The music used for the flashmob was one which the public could relate to having been entries that have successful represented the country on an international level.
As the first notes of Desire (2000) by Claudette Pace were played, the public stopped to notice the growing crowd of dancers close to the open theatre. The music changed and as L-Imħabba (1972) by Joe and Helen played, the public went crazy and started to involve themselves. Other tracks which featured were On Again .. Off Again (2004) by Julie & Ludwig, Tomorrow (2013) by Gianluca, One Life (2011) by Glen Vella and This Is The Night (2012) by Kurt Calleja. This was a stunning initiative which was appreciated by both the locals and the foreigners and apart from promoting a specific brand, ended up also showcasing the beauty of the streets of Valletta. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.
Source: NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto
Julie Zahra, a former representative of Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest, is currently preparing for the release of her debut collection, an extended play entitled No Loving which includes seven (7) cool alternative tracks, which will definitely put the listener in a relaxing mood. Musical Identity UK will be supporting the digital international release, in hope of finding success in Malta and abroad, including the United Kingdom where Julie is currently based. The whole project was composed and produced by Owen Caruana at Musical Identity UK studio and then mastered at the legendary Abbey Road studios where some of the greatest musical magic was created.
It is somewhat weird to denot this debut collection as an extended play noting that the least number of tracks seen in a studio album were ten (10), noting that therefore, No Loving was just three (3) shy. Nevertheless, it is encouraging to see that neither the producer nor the female vocalist pushed for the emergence of a studio album. The release will be available for puchase on iTunes, Media.net, at&t, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon, Rhapsody, Zvooq, Nokia Music, Basepoint Media, emusic, Sony Entertainment Network, 7digital, and Juke. The team has selected Take Me Away as a promotional radio single, one which has already captured the attention of escflashmalta.com contributor, Toni Sant. Julie Zahra has earned enough recognition to be nominated in his listeners' poll, which we as a portal will also be supporting. Below, we have posted a forty-second preview of the song, an exclusive snippet, the first to publish the track online. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.
Source: Press Release, escflashmalta.com
There's no business like show business indeed and the music industry does not sleep at any times noting that artists have to put in the effort to succeed otherwise the achievements will be somewhat minimal. It is imperative to note that sometimes, the public have the ball in their court when it comes to the coming together of an individual career and this very much seems to be the case with Julie Zahra, whom many will surely recall as being a former representative for Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest joining then partner Ludwig Galea for a stunning rendition of the track On Again ... Off Again which reached the finals finishing in twelfth place when competing in Istanbul, Turkey. Nevertheless, Julie started her career as a soloist before joining forced as a duet coming up with some great tracks along the way.
Going back twelve to thirteen years ago as the dawn of a new millennium was breaking in, Julie Zahra had competed in the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza, Festival Internazzjonali tal-Kanzunetta Maltija and also the Malta Song for Europe on her own but unfortunately, it seems that she did not hit the right notes throughout failing to impress the public at hand in those days. The first time in this period that she made a nationwide appearance was during the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza in 2000 with the track Jum Wara Jum (Day after Day) composed by Renè Mamo and penned by Walter Micallef. She would ultimately return with her original composition in 2001 as she entered the Malta Song for Europe competition with the track Eternity composed by Renè Mamo and penned by Joe Julian Farrugia. Both songs unfortunately did not score well in the long term but nevertheless, they did prove that Julie would be a force to be reckoned with noting the strong chops of Eleanor Cassar and the sweetness of Karen Polidano in her vocal range.
During the year, she would ultimately have to fill in for Adelina Attard in the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza due to the fact that the original singer was stuck abroad after the tragedy of the Twin Towers in America. The track entitled Ma Jixjieħ Qatt (He Will Never Get Old) was composed by Renato Briffa and penned by Joe Chircop. Nevertheless, things did look up for the artist making the finals of the Festival Internazzjonali tal-Kanzunetta Maltija with the song Ħdejk (Near You) composed by Renè Mamo and penned by Joe Julian Farrugia. The fact of the matter remains that Julie had a lot of faith in the young composer, one who would work with a number of local artists including the likes of Fiona and Annabelle Debono. Her last appearance as a solo performer in a local competition would come in the Malta Song for Europe of 2002 when she performed the track Secret to Share composed by Marco Debono and penned by Fiona Cauchi. It was not her track originally and she took it up because it's original performer had another two songs to perform and that was the limit.
Julie Zahra did join forced with Ludwig and finished fourth in the Malta Song for Europe in 2003 with the track My Number One composed by Philip Vella and penned by Joe Julian Farrugia before winning with the aforementioned On Again ... Off Again composed by Philip Vella and penned by Gerard James Borg. The duo went onto achieve many accolades in international competitions together but once they both went their separate ways, they seem to be looking more into their individual niches once more noting that whilst in the United Kingdom, Julie has been exploring her Jazz side coming up with tracks such as No One In Heaven. One has to add that such a style would definitely be welcome in the local music scene should it be taken up. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for more of such features.
Source: escflashmalta, YouTube