20 August 2017
Friday, 01 January 2016 15:02

2015: Reviewing a Successful Year in Music

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 2015, the year in which no Malta Eurovision festival was held because it was held back in late 2014 but other annual competitions keeping the singers busy such as; l-Għanja Tal-Poplu, Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza, the Summer Hit Song Contest and for the very first time a singers competition for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.  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 surely started in full swing for Amber who after winning the right to represent Malta in November of 2014, a lot of work was done to ensure that the song is given the right boost and everything would be ready for the big night in Vienna. Sadly, Malta finished in 11th place in the semi-final and missed out on a chance to compete in the grand final in Vienna but this whole experience was surely one to treasure for the Maltese ‘Warrior’ and as we head into 2016, Amber is ready to release her first singe ‘What They Say’ by the same team behind ‘Warrior’, Elton Zarb and Matthew Mercieca. 

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The first local festival of the year, happened to be one in Maltese in 2015 in the name of ‘L-Għanja Tal-Poplu’, 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 winner of the festival was the song ‘Ġismi’ interpreted by newcomer Ecca Muscat. Mark and Matthew Pellicano’s composition attracted a lot of attention from the beginning, thanks to its graphic theme which deals with sexual abuse in fact, Mark Pellicano, the author behind this number won the prestigious  award for the best social theme in the festival. Raquel Galdes finished as the first runner up with the song ‘Ċans Ieħor’ which was penned by Daniel Paul Farrugia and Norbert Borg, whilst Rita Pace ended in third place with ‘Battibekk’ she wrote along side Emil Calleja Bayliss and Paul Attard. 

Following this event, the finalists of other competition were announced but the attention turned to towards the Junior Malta Eurovision Song Contest, where for the very first time 20 singers competed for the right to represent Malta in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Bulgaria. The three favourites from the get go where, Christina Magrin, Veronica Rotin and Destiny Chukunyere, and these three super talented girls surely did not disappoint as they belted out their number and managed to finish in the top three positions. Destiny Chukunyere was the one who ended up on top. After consultation with her team, PBS selected the song that Destiny was going to sing in Bulgaria which was composed by Elton Zarb and penned by Matthew Mercieca, the team behind Malta’s last two Junior Eurovision entries and Malta’s 2015 Eurovision entry.

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Destiny gave her input in the song to both in the composition and also with the lyrics, these prooved to be vital in coming up with a number that suits Destiny’s voice and personality. The creation of a memorable, catchy number in terms of ‘Not My Soul’ was surely a successful formula – Destiny arrived in Bulgaria as one of the top favourites to win the Junior Eurovision for the second time for Malta and she did not let anyone down. She delivered the performance of a lifetime and won the competition with the biggest score to date – managing the rare feat of winning both the public vote and the jury vote. The win was well merited, throughout that week in Bulgaria, Destiny was nicknamed mini Aretha Franklin and we’re sure we will be hearing more of her in the years to come.

The annual Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza saw a number of new names in the competition, mixed with others who were no strangers to this festival. The result was slightly unexpected as Analise Mifsud’s self penned ‘Kuraġġ’ won the judges hearts with her simple yet very well sung number, a song that speaks about finding the inner strength to fight when you hit an all time low. This was Annalise’s second participation in this event and one can say she went by unnoticed until the final night where she emerged victorious over Dorcas Debono’s ‘Ma Ninsa Qatt’ written by Dominic Cini and Rita Pace which finished in second place and Dario Bezzina’s ‘Dment Li Malti Ħaj’ written by Ray Agius, which was seen as one of the top contenders from the beginning.

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Two other winners who emerged in the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza were Mikaela Bajada who won the New Talent Section and Paolo Micallef who triumphed in the second edition of Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza Junior. Mikaela Bajada reached the finals of the prestigious event and went on to win this section with the song ‘Għandi Ħolma’, a composition of Mark Spiteri Lucas & Francesco Pio Attard.

On the other hand, Paolo Micallef won the judges with his quirky number ‘Maġija B’Tekonloġija’ a composition of Augusto Cardinali and Etienne Micallef – he gave a very intriguing performance as through it he gave the song life. This was Paolo’s second participation in the event and surely celebrated his lucky birthday on the day of the festival. In second place was Nicole Falzon with the beautiful ballad 'Ngħix Ħolma', a composition of Mark Spiteri Lucas and Emil Calleja Bayliss, and in third place, another ballad, this time with a social theme in the form of "Inħobbkom It-Tnejn", a composition of Dominic Cini and Chris Azzopardi, with vocals provided by Rutger Scicluna Galea.

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The Summer Hit Song Contest returned for the second consecutive after having a break of nearly three years. The winner of this edition was the song ‘Tabula Rasa’ sung by the bubbly Julie Pomorksi who won her second festival, ten years after triumphing in L-Għanja Tal-Poplu as a young teenager. Her number was composed by Augusto Cardinali and Giovann Attard, she also had her input in both the composition and the lyrics. It was the first time for Julie, giving a go at songwriting and with the help of Augusto and Giovann, she wrote the beautiful and intriguing ‘Tabula Rasa’. The runner up of the competition was Michela Galea, who also managed to win two awards which are unique to local competitions, she won the best duet with ‘Bounce Back’ singing alongside Janvil and also the best Maltese Cover with ‘Għanja’, an original of Nadine Axisa. This composition was by Renato Briffa and Emil Calleja Bayliss. The second runner up of the competition was Danica Muscat with ‘Amour’, a song composed and penned by Philip Vella. 

2015 year finished off with the announcement of the 20 finalists of the Malta Eurovision, all fighting for a chance to represent Malta in Stockholm, Sweden among the competitors there’s the return of former Eurovision runner-up Ira Losco, who made her return to the local competition with two numbers after months of speculation of whether she will participate or not. Yet, the race is surely still wide open, with 20 strong numbers and varies styles which appeal to different people – in fact both locals and foreigners discussed how this could be one of the best Maltese national selections in a while. The competition will in fact open the festival season in the fourth weekend of January, with the semi-finals on the 22nd of January and the finals the next day.

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One rumour which went round during 2015 was the possible return of  the ‘Festival Internazzjonali Tal-Kanzunetta Maltija’ but unfortunately it was not the case, seems that it was put aside for 2015 for some reason or another. A real pity because it gave light to a number of new Maltese songs in the last edition and gave the enthusiasts another festival to look forward to on a national scale. Yet, so far it was not meant to be. Let’s hope that 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, we 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 2016. All the best! 

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Published in Opinions

Garnering a total of 185 points, Destiny Chukunyere from Malta has been crowned the winner of the 13th edition of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, following an exceptional performance of “Not My Soul”, an original song composed by Elton Zarb to the lyrics of Matthew “Muxu” Mercieca.

This is Malta’s second victory in three years, having previously finished in 1st place with “The Start”, also composed by Elton Zarb to the lyrics of Matthew “Muxu” Mercieca with vocals provided by Gaia Cauchi. What makes this victory even more special though is that Destiny has managed to set the record for the most accumulated points, as had been set by Maria Isabel at the 2004 Junior Eurovision Song Contest!

In second place was Mika from Armenia whose “Love” garnered 176 points, whilst Lina from Slovenia finished in third place with 112 points following a beautiful performance of “Prva ljubezen”. Below you could have a look at the full ranking;

1. 185 points - Malta

2. 176 points - Armenia

3. 112 points - Slovenia

4. 105 points - Belarus

5. 93 points - Albania

6. 80 points - Russia

7. 79 points - Serbia

8. 64 points - Australia

9. 62 points - Bulgaria

10. 51 points - Georgia

11. 38 points - Ukraine

12. 36 points - Ireland

13. 36 points - Montenegro

14. 36 points - San Marino

15. 35 points - The Netherlands

16. 34 points - Italy

17. 26 points - Macedonia

Malta’s result saw the top points go to Italy, followed by Australia, and host country Bulgaria in third place. Half of the result was decided courtesy of an expert jury made up of singers; Amber (ESC 2015), Georgina Abela (ESC 1991), Deborah C (MESC 2012-2015), Christabelle (MESC 2014-2015) and disc jockey Dorian Cassar of 89.7 Bay. On behalf of the editorial team at escflashmalta.com, we would like to congratulate Destiny on this astonishing result, and urge you to stay tuned to this portal even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about the 2016 Junior Eurovision Song Contest which may or may not take place in Malta. Fingers Crossed!

Source: junioreurovision.tv

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On Saturday 26th September, the 6th edition of the Summer Hit Song Contest took place at the City Theatre in Valletta, signalling the beginning of a new trend for the European Capital City of Culture 2018, with two (2) events in a short space of three (3) weeks occurring just a couple of metres away from one another.

The local competition, featuring a total of 20 participating entries, 19 of which qualified on merit, and 1 which won the right to compete following the triumph in last years' tele-voting, all competed for six (6) different trophies; 1st, 2nd, 3rd as chosen by the professional jury, 1st in the Duet Phase, first 1st in the Maltese Song Phase, and 1st in tele-voting.

Hosted by Deo Grech, under the hospices of F Living Channel, who will be airing the competition on Saturday 3rd October at 8:30 pm, the event went without a hitch, noting that each participant gave his utmost on the stage, rewarding the audience present with an eventful evening. The professional members of the jury was made up of; Norman Cristina, Josephine Ebejer Grech, Natasha Turner, and Rosman Pace, all of whom have a background in music, whether in composition or lyrics.

Televoting Award: "Dangerous" (Elton Zarb / Matt 'Muxu' Mercieca) - Jillianne Camilleri

Best Duet: "Bounce Back" (Renato Briffa / Emil Calleja Bayliss) - Michela Galea & Janvil

Best Maltese Song: "Għanja" (Walter Vella / Mark Attard / Joe Julian Farrugia) - Michela Galea

3rd Place: "Amour" (Philip Vella) - Danica Muscat

2nd Place: "Bounce Back" (Renato Briffa / Emil Calleja Bayliss) - Michela Galea

1st Place: "Tabula Rasa" (Augusto Cardinali / Julie Pomorski / Giovann Attard) - Julie Pomorski

On behalf of the editorial team at escflashmalta.com, we would like to congratulate the winners circle, as well as the other 16 participants who made this year's edition of the Summer Hit Song Contest a memorable one. A round of applause also for the organising committee, led by Deo Grech, as well as F Living Channel namely, Karl and Romina Bonaci for their continuous support. Stay tuned to this portal even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about the local music scene.

Source: F Living, escflashmalta.com

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Published in Latest News - Local

On the 17th and 18th April 2015, at the Republic Hall in the Mediterranean Conference Centre, the Public Broadcasting Services will be staging ‘Amber in Concert - Warrior’, a spectacular event which will serve as a farewell concert to Malta’s representative at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015.

Joined by a 40-piece orchestra, inaugurated in December during ‘A Night at the Theatre’, under the direction of Maestro Paul Abela, composer of “Could It Be?” (Eurovision 1991), “In a Woman’s Heart” (Eurovision 1996) and “Another Summer Night” (2001), Amber will have the opportunity to perform several songs LIVE whilst accompanied by a variety of supporting artists, all of whom are instantly recognisable in the local music scene.

Joe Cutajar (Eurovision 1972), Franklin Calleja (Malta Eurovision 2013, 2014, 2015), Kurt Calleja (Eurovision 2012), Gianluca Bezzina (Eurovision 2013), Christabelle (Malta Eurovision 2014, 2015), Gaia Cauchi (Junior Eurovision 2013), Federica Falzon (Junior Eurovision 2014), Luisana Bartolo (Malta Eurovision Backing Vocalist 2012), Ivan Grech (Lead Singer of WinterMoods) and the Southville Dancers have all been given supporting act roles.

If you have not yet obtained your tickets for the event, and do not want to miss this event, then make sure to visit the official website of the Mediterranean Conference Centre. ‘Amber in Concert – Warrior’ tickets for the 17th April are still available, noting that the Public Broadcasting Services only added this date, after the high demand on the previous standalone date. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: tvm.com.mt

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Thursday, 02 April 2015 03:40

Malta: Fresh Modern Sound for Stefan Galea

"Escape", composed and produced by Carlo Gerada, lyrics by Matthew Mercieca (Muxu), and mastered by Elton Zarb at Freetime Studios, with vocals provided by Stefan Galea, is currently receiving airplay on all major radio stations, whilst supported by a music video, one shot and directed by Angie Laus, Duane Laus, and Marlon Polidano on behalf of WE Media.

The music video was shot entirely at So City Club, Paceville courtesy of Graham Testa. The location fits perfectly with the theme and genre of the song, thus making it a dance floor filler in order to appeal to various teenagers, whilst highlighting a new direction in Stefan Galea's career. The setup of the music video is very diverse, thus making it unique and special. It portrays different characters in the club scene, with a spectacular team of break-dancers, choreographed by Peter Ray Portelli (Waterfall Dance Company).

Stefan is currently busy performing live acoustic gigs with his guitarist Kurt Aquilina (Maltese representative at the Eurovision Young Musicians 2014) on various TV shows. At present he is being vocally coached by Gillian Attard from La Voix Academy and Alison Ellul where he is also, currently busy preparing for his trinity guildhall voice examinations. 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: Press Release

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Published in Latest News - Local
Wednesday, 01 April 2015 03:24

Malta: Amber Hints Vienna Stage Presentation

The Maltese representative has been busy with her preparations for the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest and the team behind her has been working hard in making the 2015 experience a positive one. Amber is working hard with her vocal coaches, lyricist and composer in making sure that she delivers a strong performance on stage. 

A lot of rumours have spreading around about Amber’s presentation and something which always catches the attention of a lot of people is certainly the outfit for the final night. The whole team behind the song has been working hard in improving on every sector and has taken each and every comment on board to ensure that the song has the desired visual impact needed to impress on the Eurovision night.

Something that a number of people criticized during the final night back in November was that her outfit was too common and far too dark especially with the general setting of the stage for the song. In fact after a number of consultations with industry professionals, the team is working on making sure that she will impress with what she would be wearing on the actual night.  In a recent interview, Amber quoted saying that she will be a true warrior. 

This interview generated loads and loads of interest and Amber was heard saying ‘off air’ that the team got the inspiration from ‘Xena the Warrior Princess’ hence the reason why she is working daily on her fitness routine, in order to look the best possible way. It seems that the team of designers will be taking a modern take on the warrior princess’ costume as they clearly want to highlight that Amber is a good warrior who is there to inspire others.

Whether the outfit is the best way to highlight this is yet to be seen but it is surely something on the right track. Malta and its people have proved to be warriors over the years, decades, centuries and it is believed that Maltese history will be taking the forefront for Malta’s visuals on stage with numerous sights and locations. Amber is going to be Malta’s gladiator in Vienna and she will truly represent Malta, its history and its beliefs by one dynamic performance.

No matter what the result would be, Malta this year is being represented by a strong independent woman with strong beliefs who loves ghost hunting and judo… one would never know but these two hobbies can surely come in handy in Vienna. Maybe she will have the opportunity to communicate with Mozart’s spirit who will give her some guidance in order to secure herself the victory whilst she fights her way thanks to her judo skills against some of the competitors.  

Update: On behalf of escflashmalta.com, we would like to wish Amber and the Maltese delegation the best of luck for the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest. We trust that the team is surrounded by the right individuals in ensuring that Amber's outfit and stage presentation is of high caliber. Those who were left wondering whether Amber will be ghost hunting in Vienna and using her judo skills against them, rest assured she will definitely be focused on the task at hand. For yet another year, we have brought you a light article for April Fools Day - always good to have a laugh on such days.

One thing is for sure, Amber will be Malta’s true warrior in Vienna as she will dress, look and act like one. 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 2015 Eurovision Song Contest.

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At the end of 2014, the jury and public agreed unanimously that "Warrior", written by Elton Zarb and Matthew Mercieca with vocals provided by Amber, would represent Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna, Austria. The journey is heading into it's final stages, as the female vocalist has been busy with the music video launch, the release of the digital single on iTunes and Spotify, and most recently the recording of the postcard.

The introductory clip, shot by the host broadcaster of the international event, ORF is split up into two parts, the first part set in the silent city of Mdina, Malta's former capital city, and the second part set in the picturesque town of Zell Am See, a ski resort in Austria. 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 upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Source: Television Malta

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Published in Latest News - Local

Warrior”, composed by Elton Zarb, to the lyrics of Matthew Mercieca (Muxu) with vocals provided by Amber, has been given an extensive revamp, in preparation for the upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, which is set to take place in Vienna, Austria on the 19th, 21st, 23rd of May 2015.

In a Press Conference, held at the Public Broadcasting Services (PBS) Creativity Hub, the female vocalist, Amber was visibly overcome with emotion, as she introduced the final product, which the gathered media had long been waiting for, in anticipation. The new version of the song, worked on by Manolito Galea, Elton Zarb, Gordon Bonello, Arturo Pellegrini and Kevin Abela, will be the final version, as sung in front of millions of people.

“Warrior” is about dealing with the difficult challenges in life, and having the strength to overcome obstacles. The preview video is extremely faithful to every word of the song as the interpretation represents the changing mood from negative to positive. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest.

Source: tvm.com.mt/eurovision

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Back in November, following the successful duties as host nation of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, "Warrior" composed by Elton Zarb, to the lyrics of Matthew Mercieca (Muxu) with vocals provided by Amber, was selected as Malta's entry for the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest.

Since then, with the support of Arturo Pellegrini, Manolito Galea, Kevin Abela, Gordon Bonello and composer Elton Zarb, the music of the song has been re-worked, or rather strengthened, in order to give the song more depth. This brand new version, along with the accompanying music video will be officially launched on Monday 9th March at 16:00 CET at the Public Broadcasting Services (PBS) Creativity Hub.

In a first for Malta in recent years, the music video does not have an accompanying storyline, with the song being the sole focus, noting that every lyric was taken into consideration to assure that the graphic is fully representative. Given the fact that there were a lot of special effects, including items being smashed, most shots were taken with just one taken, with no manoeuver space. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: tvm.com.mt/eurovision

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"Eurovision Talk", a 15-minute segment, featuring guest panelists from renowned websites which cater to the latest news from the music scene, inter-related to the Eurovision Song Contest, will start airing on Strada, the most watched television programme on Saturday afternoon.

Hosted by Wayne Aquilina every Saturday between 12:40 pm and 15:00 pm, "Strada" is a programme where youths discuss a spectrum of subjects. It aims to shed light on various topics, whilst acquiring different opinions, based on facts and life experiences. Instead of solely providing debate, it is enhanced through entertainment slots provided by LIVE unplugged sessions, creating a truly vibrant and unique atmosphere.

Due dilegence is to be given to the Maltese Delegation, specifically Gordon Bonello for the support required in putting on this weekly slot. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna, Austria.

Source: ONE Television

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Published in Latest News - Local
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