27 May 2017
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 10:22

2014: Another Year Filled With Successful Stories

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.

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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’.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.  

Source: escflashmalta.com

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Published in Opinions
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 17:50

KKI Jr 2014: Inaugural Edition Winners Made Public

Media.Link Communications, part of a private media chain which also includes; Radio 101 and NET Television, played host to the inaugural edition of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza Junior last night, with Francesca Zarb and Maxine Pace acting as hosts, Annalise Ellul Dance Studio and Gaia Cauchi offering the interval entertainment and 20 acts proving that talent in Malta is well and truly alive amongst the younger generation.

It is well worth pointing out that the result was split into two; the first featuring the choice of the public, who have been voting throughout the past couple of weeks with the songs having been made available on viral website, YouTube and the second featuring the choice of the professional panel of judges.

Public Vote: Damma - Naomi Busuttil (Minik / Emil Calleja Bayliss)

3rd Place: Festa t'Ilwien - Destiny Chukunyere (Mark Spiteri Lucas / Emil Calleja Bayliss)

2nd Place: Ħajjitna f'Idejna - Jurgen Xerri (Minik / Rita Pace)

1st Place: Għannaqni - Kayley Cuschieri (Mark Spiteri Lucas / Rita Pace)

The editorial team at escflashmalta.com would like to congratulate the winners of the inaugural edition of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza Junior whilst commending Media.Link Communications on a fantastic production, one which opened this year's edition of the Independence activities. 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: Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza (Official Facebook Page)

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Published in Latest News - Local

Media.Link Communications, part of a private media chain which also includes NET Television, will be hosting the inaugural edition of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza Junior on Tuesday 16th September on The Granaries in Floriana. The event, set to kick off the celebrations in relation to Independence Day will be featuring some of the nation’s top upcoming talent, in every sense of the word, incorporating the right competition, guest acts and also the hosts.

Ironic PR & Artist Management is proud to present Maxine Pace, a new face on NET Television as well as Francesca Zarb, an experienced co-host, who has been responsible for the Junior Eurosong on more than one occasion in the past. Special guests for the night will include a choreography by Annalise Dance Studio and also a couple of songs by none other than; Gaia Cauchi, winner of the 2013 edition of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.

01. Żogħżija - Chantel Abela (Chan Vella / Alexia Schembri)

02. Festa T'Ilwien - Destiny Chukunyere (Mark Spiteri Lucas / Emil Calleja Bayliss)

03. Destin Ħabib - Martina Micallef (Marco Debono / Rita Pace)

04. Kull Ma Xtaqt - Nicole Falzon (Roger Tirazona / Clifton Casha)

05. Flimkien - Hayley & Britney (Carlos Vella / Alison Ellul)

06. Kliem - Scheriden Balzan (Kaya / Clifton Casha)

07. Xewqa ta' Kantant - Aidan Jay Drakard (Kaya / Christopher Azzopardi)

08. Għannaqni - Kayley Cuschieri (Mark Spiteri Lucas / Rita Pace)

09. Dinja Kull Kulur - Anhelica Pace (Kaya / Clifton Casha)

10. Nokkli Sbieħ - Kylie Grixti (Kaya / Rita Pace)

11. Malta Maltija - Amy Marie Borg (Minik / Alison Ellul / Gerard J Borg)

12. Ħajjitna F'Idejna - Jurgen Xerri (Minik / Rita Pace)

13. Mid-Dlam għad-Dawl - Paolo Micallef (Roger Tirazona / Clifton Casha)

14. Damma - Naomi Busuttil (Minik / Emil Calleja Bayliss)

15. Ħbieb - KellyAnn & Melissa & Yasmin (Elton Zarb / Alison Ellul / Paul Ellul)

16. Rebbieħa - Nicole Galea (Minik / Rita Pace)

17. Żewġ Kewkbiet - Ilenia Camilleri (Andrew Zammit / Rita Pace)

18. Tagħna T-Tnejn - Aidan Irvine Cassar (Minik / Joe Julian Farrugia)

19. Libertà - Michaela Agius (Roger Tirazona / Clifton Casha)

20. Rakkont - Rutger & Kylie (Gillian Attard / Emil Calleja Bayliss)

As already noted down, the inaugural edition of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza Junior, hosted by Maxine Pace and Francesca Zarb will take place on The Granaries in Floriana with NET Television broadcasting the event as it happens. It is pivotal to state that the final result will be selected by a panel of professional judges, whilst a separate award for the public vote will also be given. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news as soon as it becomes available.

Source: NET Television

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Published in Latest News - Local
Saturday, 02 August 2014 20:11

KKI Jr 2014: 20 Entries Through to the Final

Media.Link Communications, part of the private chain that also includes NET Television, have just published the list of finalists for the inaugural edition of the Konkors Kanzunetta indipendenza Junior. This competition came to fruition following the dismay put forward by songwriters, vocal coaches and performers who did not have enough avenues to showcase their abilities. Now, not only do they have that ability but they also have the opportunity to perform original material which would serve them well for the future.

Following the second phase earlier this morning, Media.Link Communications have published the results through the Official Facebook Page. A panel of professional judges comprising of Vinny Vella, Bryan Manning, Miriam Christine, Felix Busuttil and Charles Stroud selected the 20 finalist entries, with one artist, Kylie Grixti having qualified with two entries, and thus having the opportunity to drop her second song, or else support the songwriters in finding an alternative artist.

Damma - Naomi Busuttil (Minik / Emil Calleja Bayliss)

Destin Ħabib - Martina Micallef

Dinja Kull Kulur - Anhelica Pace (Kaya / Clifton Casha)

Festa T'Ilwien - Destiny Chukunyere (Mark Spiteri Lucas / Emil Calleja Bayliss)

Flimkien - Hayley & Britney

Għannaqni - Kayley Cuschieri (Mark Spiteri Lucas / Rita Pace)

Ħajjitna F'Idejna - Jurgen Xerri (Minik / Rita Pace)

Ħbieb - KellyAnn & Melissa & Yasmin

Kliem - Kylie Grixti (Kaya / Clifton Casha)

Kull Ma Xtaqt - Nicole Falzon (Roger Tirazona / Clifton Casha)

Libertà - Michaela Agius (Roger Tirazona / Clifton Casha)

Malta Maltija - Amy Marie Borg

Mid-Dlam għad-Dawl - Paolo Micallef (Roger Tirazona / Clifton Casha)

Nokki Sbieħ - Kylie Grixti

Rakkont - Rutger & Kylie (Gillian Attard / Emil Calleja Bayliss)

Rebbieħ - Nicole Galea

Tagħna T-Tnejn - Aidan Irvine Cassar

Xewqa ta' Kantant - Aidan Jay Drakard (Kaya / Christopher Azzopardi)

Żewġ Kewkbiet - Ilenia Camilleri (Andrew Zammit / Rita Pace)

Żogħżija - Chantel Abela (Chan Vella / Alexia Schembri)

The Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza Junior 2014 will be staged during the week in which the actual Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza will be taking place, noting that it has become another additional event to the week-long list of activities which take place on The Granaries in Floriana. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza Junior

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Published in Latest News - Local

Erseb Productions, a renowned company in the local festival circuit with well over thirty years of experience, has given rise to several talents along the years, including acts such as former Eurovision Song Contest representative; Miriam Christine. As days, weeks, months and years go by, the talent in Malta continues to evolve and we aim to promote that talent in the best possible way by offering international exposure.

During the course of the year, Erseb Productions will be visiting a total of 3 international competitions. Kicking off the proceedings is the "Voci dal Sud" festival in Italy between the 26th and the 28th July with 12 participants; Giulia Cilia, Jahel Cardona, Kelsey Bellante, Raisa Marie Micallef, Michela Pace, Althea Mifsud, Michela Dalli and Lindsay Mallia who have directly qualified to the final as well as Kayley Cuschieri, Mariah Nicola Vella, Emma Muscat and Danika Cutajar who have to pass the semi-final stage of the competition.

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In August, Erseb Productions will be heading to the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia with Jean-Claude Azzopardi, Veronica Rotin, Rachel Lowell and Clarissa Cauchi as part of the line-up in the 'Lake Pearls', a competition taking place between the 14th and 15th. Then between the 8th and 9th August, it will be time for Martina Cutajar, Riona DeGeorgio and Aidan Abela to do the honours for Malta as they partake in the "Oltreoceano" showcase in Italy. On behalf of escflashmalta.com, we wish all the participants the very best of luck.

Source: Press Release

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Published in Latest News - Local

escflashmalta.com was the first media outlet to promote the exhibition of Dario Bezzina and Kayley Cuschieri in Istanbul, Turkey as they were set to represent Malta in the Shining Star Festival taking place between the 5th and the 11th June. They have just returned from the competition achieving extremely positive results. It is worth noting first and foremost that both participated in different categories which pertained to age groups. The participation of both artists could have not been possible without the support of the World Association of Festival and Artists whose Chairman is none other than former Malta Eurovision Song Contest Chairman, Norman Hamilton.

During the competition in Istanbul, Turkey though the association was represented by secretary Robert Cefai who was also the Head of Delegation for Malta as well as Vice-President of the Jury. Kayley Cuschieri finished in the first runner-up position in her category which included artists between ten (10) and fourteen (14) years whilst Dario Bezzina finished in first place within his category which included artists between nineteen (19) and twenty-five (25). Whilst Dario performed Valentine Lost and Era Stupendo from the Eurovision Song Contest, Hayley chose classics in the form of Proud Mary and Think of Me. escflashmalta.com would like to congratulate both the artists for their successful participation and also encourage our readers to stay tuned for all of the latest news.

Source: Press Release

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Published in Latest News - Local

Istanbul, Turkey will be hosting the Shining Star Festival starting as from next week featuring artists from all over the continent including Malta. As a matter of fact, the World Association of Artists and Festivals selected a male and a female from a different demographic to represent the nation in two categories. The chosen ones were none other than Dario Bezzina and Kayley Cuschieri. Both have experience in competitions, whether local and foreign and with a number of accolades to their name it made the selection slightly easier.

In the space of a couple of years, Dario Bezzina has made leaps in his career, reaching the final of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza on numerous occasions both a soloist and in duet with his sister, Grecia whilst also making the finals of L-Għanja tal-Poplu both as a songwriter and lead performer. In recent years, he was approached to do backing vocals during the Malta Eurovision Song Contest for Amber and Franklin Calleja. Dario Bezzina will be performing two covers in Turkey, both tracks from the Eurovision Song Contest, those being Valentine Lost (Iceland 2007) and Era Stupendo (Switzerland 2008) whilst Kayley Cushcieri will be performing notable songs including Proud Mary and Think of Me. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news as soon as it becomes available. 

Source: Emil Calleja Bayliss (Image), escflashmalta.com

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Published in Latest News - Local

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