27 May 2017

In a Press Release issued by the organising committee of L-Għanja tal-Poplu - Festival tal-Kanzunetta Maltija, the song-titles and the songwriters of the 18 songs chosen through to the semi-final have been made public. This year's edition of the music competition is being organised  under the auspices of Spazzju Kreattiv, the Public Broadcasting Services, Pjazza Teatru Rjal and Fondazzjoni Valletta 2018.

The professional jury for this phase of the competition was comprised of: Adrian Mamo, David Azzopardi, Martina Caruana, Miriam Cassar, Noel D’Anastas and Vince Fabri. The semi-final phase of the competition is set for the 7th July where all the 18 participating entries will be interpreted #live with the PBS orchestra. Out of these, 12 will then be chosen to compete on the 9th July during the final.

Bħal Tifla Żgħira” (Rita Pace / Marco Debono) – Maria Cassar

Ħabta u Sabta” (Andy Muscat / Mark Scicluna) – Andy Muscat

Ħallejt Il-Passi Wrajk” (Paul Ellul / Glen Vella) - Jurgen Xerri

Ħanini” (Walter Micallef) – Walter Micallef

Id-Dieher” (Augusto Cardinali) – Neville Refalo & Graziana Axisa

Il-Biża u Jien” (Rita Pace / Pamela Bezzina) - Nadine Fenech

Is-Sinjur” (Emil Calleja Bayliss / Mark Scicluna) – Cherylis

Jien Biss” (Joe Julian Farrugia / Dominic Cini) – Dorcas Debono

Ma Ninsiex” (Joe Julian Farrugia / Augusto Cardinali) - Deborah Dalli

Mellisni” (Joe Chircop / Mark Spiteri Lucas) - Mikaela Bajada

Ngħidlek” (Joe Julian Farrugia / Miriam Christine) - Miriam Christine

Pupa tal-Plastik” (Paul Ellul / Marco Debono) - Domenique

Ta’ Billlejl” (Paul Ellul / Mark Spiteri Lucas) – Neville Refalo

Tama” (Shyli / Jasmar / Kapitlu 13 / DJ Mac / David Leguesse) – Shyli and Jasmar ft. Kapitlu 13

Taptipa fuq l-Ispallejn” (Emil Calleja Bayliss / Pamela Bezzina) – Michela Dalli

Waħdi Miegħek” (Ingrid Vella / Kaya) – Graziella Vella

Xagħar Twil” (Ingrid Vella / Mark Laurence Zammit) – Denise Spiteri

X’Se Jsir?” (Corazon Mizzi) - Corazon

L-Għanja tal-Poplu – Festival tal-Kanzunetta Maltija will be a coordinated effort, with the support of the PBS Orchestra, led by Mro Paul Abela and Mro Joe Brown. The last winner of L-Għanja tal-Poplu was “Ġismi”, written by Mark & Matthew Pellicano, with vocals provided by Ecca whilst the last winner of the Festival tal-Kanzunetta Maltija was “Hawn Mill-Ġdid”, written by Paul Abela & Joe Julian Farrugia with vocals provided by Olivia Lewis. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: Għanja tal-Poplu - Festival tal-Kanzunetta Maltija

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Published in Latest News - Local
Wednesday, 04 November 2015 01:35

MESC 2016: Karen DeBattista Will Not Participate

"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.

Source: escflashmalta.com, Karen DeBattista (Facebook, Twitter)

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In 2014, a local music competition known as the Summer Hit Song Contest was revived, with the aim being to submit entries with a particular vibe, one which radio stations across the country would not have any issue in promoting through airplay. A professional panel of judges assessed the quality of each respective submission before reaching a desired result, one which gave success to the song "Back To..", written by Mark Scicluna and Emil Calleja Bayliss, with vocals provided by Domenique.

It has been around 4 months since then, and the organising committee, in conjunction with F Living is proud to announce the 6th edition of the Summer Hit Song Contest, with the rules and regulations made public. There are no major amendments, apart from the fact that songwriters, irrespective of nationality are now permitted to submit entries. For the FULL version of Regulations along with the Applications, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and it will be answered back as soon as possible.

Each submission is to be handed in against a fee of €50 in total. Submissions will be received at BME Studios in Luqa on the 21st March 2015, between 10 o'clock in the morning, and 1 o'clock in the afternoon (10 am till 1 pm). There are cash prizes to be won by the top three of the competition, whilst the winner of the sms voting will get a seperate award as to ascertain a professional choice. For more information, visit the Official Facebook Page

Even though the competition will feature 18 different acts, 1 has already been given the greenlight to proceed, having been given the opportunity to compete as a result of the Public Choice Award given in 2014. As a matter of fact, Rita Pace & Audrey Marie will be competing in a duet for the second consecutive year. 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: F Living, Summer Hit Song Contest

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Published in Latest News - Local

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

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Published in Latest News - Local
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 12:24

SHSC 2014: Triumphant Domenique in First Victory

The 5th edition of the Summer Hit Song Contest, hosted by Deo Grech & Natius Farrugia, at The Dome Theatre within the Seabank Hotel, was truly a memorable night, a triumphant journey. 18 acts, carefully chosen by a select panel of professional judges, took to the main stage to perform their entry, having received ample promotion throughout the summer season, courtesy of F Living, Music News, escflashmalta.com and RTK Radio.

Lyndsay Pace, Mireille Bonello, Marisa D'Amato, Charlene Azzopardi, Daniel Falzon Mallia, George Cremona and Heathcliffe Balzan were solely responsible for the result last night, picking Domenique and her entry "Back To...", composed by Mark Scicluna to the lyrics of Emil Calleja Bayliss in first place. Nevertheless, with around 10 points separating the top three, one has to commend the first runner-up, "My Hero" composed by Renato Briffa to the lyrics of Keith Zammit with vocals provided by Anna Azzopardi as well as the second runner-up, "Pretend" composed by Renato Briffa to the lyrics of Doris Chetcuti.

On the other hand, "Overboard", the only duet competing in this year's edition of the Summer Hit Song Contest, featuring Audrey Marie & Rita Pace were chosen as winners of the tele-voting and as a result, also granted the opportunity to compete in next year's edition fo the Summer Hit Song Contest, a revelation made by Deo Grech & Karl Bonaci during the course of the evening. Remember, the competition will be broadcast on F Living on Saturday 27th September at 20:30 CET. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook & Twitter as we bring you the latest news from the local music scene.

Source: Summer Hit Song Contest, Marc Calleja Bayliss (image)

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Saturday, 30 August 2014 11:55

Malta: Awe Inspiring Local Tune for August

And here we are, presenting to you all another monthly Maltese awe-inspiring tune. Riflessi (Reflections), sung by Karen DeBattista and composed by Mark Scicluna to the lyrics of Emil Calleja Bayliss is my next choice following Tema 79, reviewed in July. This song participated in last year’s Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza. Although it  did not make it to the very top, it was surely a magnificent stepping stone for DeBattista, following her triumph in this year’s Għanja tal-Poplu with Jien ma Naħdimx (literally, I don’t work).

The song’s vocab at the very beginning is predominantly marine and this reminds me of the first seconds of another successful song penned by Calleja Bayliss, Poeta Bla Kliem (Lost Muse), with words like nixxiegħa (spring), ilma (water), fond (depth) and riflessi (reflections) all related to water.  She finds herself stepping in this spring without managing to catch a glimpse of her own reflection, an absence which urges her to keep on insisting and go into another world, what she calls the surreal.

This is alluding to the incredible capacity we all have to immerse ourselves into another world, a world of our choice, doing away with our bitter reality and retreating into a better place, maybe another place of our own creation. Following her going into another world, her own reflections reappear, hinting her encounter with her very own self. Troubles with how her life might be unfolding become more evident and explicit by means of this stanza:

Din ħajti paradoss,

Għajjat bla ħoss

Kemm se ndum mitlufa nħuf?

Qed nitkisser f’elf biċċa

Qed inħossni nispiċċa

which suggests a life of opposites, a complete paradox (paradoss), ironically without any sort of life whatsoever, as implied by the mute screaming  (għajjat bla ħoss) and her being literally shattered (nitkisser) in a thousand of pieces (f’elf biċċa).  However, the comparision that follows, to a hopeful  (ma nieqaf qatt nittama)boat  in the middle of a storm (bħal dgħajsa f’maltempata) symbolises the strength of her very own persistence:

bħal dgħajsa f’maltempata

ma nieqaf qatt nittama

Confirmation to my interpretation of the reflections at the start of this review materialises close to the end of the song, previous to the very last chorus:

Kemm bkejt u kemm ħlejt żmien

Infittiex jien min jien

Ma kelli l-ebda ħjiel

Kif negħleb dan ix-xkiel

Imma issa sibt it-triq

Dak kollu li nixtieq

Riflessi ta’ min jien 

She is now face to face with who she really is (riflessi ta’ min jien), and the reflections she could not perceive with her eyes at the beginning of the song are now well visible at its final seconds, hinting a hopeful ending. However, one could well easily ask, but is she still in a surreal world, where everything is possible? And if she still is, what would happen should she return to the real, cold world that wipes out all reflections of who we are? 

Karen DeBattista, a year ago, gave an outstanding interpretation to this song and adding this up to her accomplishment at the 2014 Għanja tal-Poplu I believe that she’s surely one of the best emerging artists at the moment.

Further Reading: Karen DeBattista (Facebook / Twitter)

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Published in Opinions

Mark Tonna, a veteran singer/songwriter, most recently recognised for finishing in second place during the 2013 edition of the International Festival of Maltese Song with "Poeta Bla Kliem", composed by Mark Scicluna to the lyrics of Emil Calleja Bayliss, is jetting off to Ravello, a scenic town in south of Italy where he will be making a guest appearance during the Canzoni Dal Mondo competition.

The appearance is coming directly as a result of the success achieved by the veteran singer/songwriter in the local competition and keeping that in mind, lyricist Emil Calleja Bayliss has translated the first runner-up entry to English, "Lost Muse", in order for the public to enjoy the song and give it meaning. escflashmalta.com is proud to present this version at the bottom of the article. In the meantime, we urge you to stay tuned to this portal even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: escflashmalta.com

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Published in Latest News - Local

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.

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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.

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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.

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Published in Opinions

A career in music is somewhat subjective to the opinion or either the public or a panel of professional judges, pertaining to the audience. In three years, one of the artists who has truly shown potential for growth has been none other than Karen DeBattista, a female vocalist whose first venture in music came at the Summer Hit Song Contest back in 2011.

Performing the song "Memoirs" composed by Mark Scicluna to the lyrics of Daniel Muscat was just the beginning, garnering traction when duetting with Thea Garrett, months shy after representing Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest. Since then, Karen has never looked back and had the opportunity to perform as part of the BOV Children's Choir during the Joseph Calleja Concert as well as The Voices Choir in support of charity.

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Whilst thriving in the spotlight, Karen knows when the time is right, and putting herself forward for the Passport 2 Indifest competition was a good idea. Garnering the support of Annabelle Debono and Janvil in the final round of the competition, she triumphed and found herself in the 2013 Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza. The song allocated to her, "Riflessi" composed by Mark Scicluna with lyrics by Emil Calleja Bayliss was extremely well received.

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Whilst the reviews were glowing, the results were not as forthcoming, but all that would change as her L-Għanja tal-Poplu 2014 entry "Jien Ma Naħdimx" composed by Mark Scicluna to the lyrics of Rita Pace won the support of the professional jury and has received the backing of several key figures, praising the image that Karen gave the song, along with crystal clear diction. The future is ripe for this young 21 year old, who is on constantly keeping her fans updated through Facebook and Twitter. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news.

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Published in Opinions

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.

Source: Official Website, Official Facebook Page

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