29 March 2017

In a Press Release issued by the organising committee of L-Għanja tal-Poplu – Festival tal-Kanzunetta Maltija, it has been made public that 144 submissions were received on Tuesday 19th April at the Youth Travel Circle (YTC) in Merchant Street, Valletta. This is a record number of original songs for the ever-growing festival which is being organised under the auspices of Spazzju Kreattiv, the Public Broadcasting Services, Pjazza Teatru Rjal and Fondazzjoni Valletta 2018.

As of Friday 22nd April, the first phase of the judging will commence, with a panel of expert judges whittling down to the songs by the end of the weekend, and leaving a shortlist of potential candidates, from which a second panel of expert judges will then select the 18 qualifiers. It is expected that the names of the songs through to the final phase of the competition will be made public by the end of April, hence in a weeks’ time. 

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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: Press Release

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Published in Latest News - Local

Olivia Lewis, a female singer/songwriter who was given the opportunity to represent Malta in the 2007 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest with "Vertigo", composed by Philip Vella to the lyrics of Gerard James Borg. recently gave an interview to Josmar on Sibtek stating that the competition was a big part of her life for about ten years, and is unsure about a possible return in the future.

Since returning to the local music scene about two years ago, Olivia Lewis has been on a positive string of results, finishing in first place at the 2013 International Festival of Maltese Song with "Hawn Mill-Ġdid", composed by Paul Abela to the lyrics of Joe Julian Farrugia and also in third place at L-Għanja tal-Poplu 2014 with the song "Wara l-Kanċell", a duet with Miriam Christine, the latter of whom is also credited as songwriter with Joe Julian Farrugia. 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: Sibtek, TVM

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Published in Latest News - Local
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

The 39th edition of L-Għanja tal-Poplu, considered to be one of the most renowned local competitions, will be officially launched on the 15th January 2015 at the St James Cavalier in Valletta, with the inclusion of a select number of successful former participants.

Karen DeBattista, Rita Pace, Olivia Lewis, Miriam Christine and Frank O'Neill are currently on the performers' bill as the competition evolves by another year. Due to the fact that attendance for the event is limited, an email could be sent to Noel D'Amato, who is coordinating this event on behalf of the committee of L-Għanja tal-Poplu.

In the meantime, due to the interest in the upcoming edition of the local music competition, the committee has thought it best to extend the pre-submission period by a couple of weeks, with submission day now set for the 23rd January 2015. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: L-Għanja tal-Poplu (Official Website, Official Facebook Page)

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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

'The Celebrity Night' is the new Saturday night show which will be broadcast at 20:30 on F Living Channel. The series which officially kicked off last week, revolved around the one-to-one interviews, which speak of class, decadence and wit, and have become synonymous with Deo Grech's presenting style.

Tonight's special guests are the singer/songwriter, Lyndsay; former Eurovision Song Contest representative, Olivia Lewis and actor Heinrich Camilleri. In the meantime, Fiona Vella from Fiona Couture and Natius Farrugia join in the second part of the show for the Celebrity Discussion. This and much more during the first show of the series 'The Celebrity Night' tonight at 20:30 on F Living Channel. 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: F Living, Press Release

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Published in Latest News - Local

Xarabank, one of the longest running television shows in Malta, produced by WE Media and hosted by Peppi Azzopardi on Television Malta, will be revealing the names of the twenty semi-finalists competing in the 2014-2015 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest.

A quick recap of the selection process, would denote that the Public Broadcasting Services received 134 entries, out of which 48 entries have been shortlisted to the second phase. All of the artists have been invited to the popular programme Xarabank, in order to ascertain their fate in the competition, hoping that they got through. The programme kicks off this evening at 20:45 on Television Malta which will be streamed LIVE.

12, Baker Street – Karen DeBattista

Beautiful to Me – “L-Aħwa”

Break All Borders – Jacqueline Richard

Breakaway – Glen Vella

Call It Love – Kurt Cassar

Chasing a Dream – Trilogy

Close Your Eyes – Danica Muscat

Closed Doors – Chris Grech

Could Have Been Me – Iona Dalli

Dark Dark Waters – Domenique

Dream of Love – Rebecca Mifsud

Eclipse – Ana-Maria Grima

Empty Hearted – Domenique

Fandango – Jessika

Flame – Monroe

For All Those Times – Gloriana Arpa Belli

Freedom – Simaria Galea

Hey Yo – Domenique

Hold My Hand – Estelle Imbroll

Hold On To Love – Olivia & Miriam

Home – Lyndsay Pace

Hurricane – Marilena Gauci

Indestructible – Annabelle Vella

It’s OK – Deborah C

Look – Neville Refalo

Love & Let Go – Sr Michaela, Sr Monica, Sr Rita, Sr Claudia, Sr Denise & Sr Magdalong

Love Call – Danica Muscat

My Next Tattoo – Domenique

Never Ask Why – Andreana & Fiona

Once in a While – Minik

Ringside – Gabriella Azzopardi

Rush – Christabelle

Secretly – Corazon

See Through Lover – Larissa Borg

Shine a Light – Malcolm

Something in the Way – Daniel Testa

Still Here – Franklin

Stop Haunting Me – Raquel Galdes

Stuck Without Me – Kylie Coleiro

Take Me as I Am – Domenique

The One That You Love – Lawrence Gray

The Thief – Dario Mifsud Bonnici

Warrior – Amber

What You Wanna Hear – Stefan Galea

What? When? Where? – Joseph Refalo

Where Do We Go? – Kurt Cassar

Who Needs a Heart – Soraya Cardona

Your Phone – Fiona Cauchi

Apart from the 6 former Eurovision Song Contest representatives, there are a number of well known figures from the local music industry, with a lot of surprises to be expected amongst the songwriters. In 2014, Malta got through to the final of the Eurovision Song Contest with the track "Coming Home" which Firelight performed impeccably. We urge you to stay uned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: TVM, WE Studios

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Ira Losco, Malta’s top female singer/songwriter has been somewhat distant of mentioning a possible return to the Eurovision Song Contest throughout her successful music career, opting for a different genre, one which is more mature, and defines her growth as an artist. It is worth noting that in 2014, Ira somewhat re-ignited that flame to compete, following her role as co-host of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, alongside Gianluca Bezzina and Moira Delia. 

Following a promotional campaign led by both local and international websites trying to convince Ira Losco to return to the prestigious music event, the singer/songwriter has opted to consider the possibility for 2016, according to a post on her Official Facebook Page. She is currently gearing up for the release of her final 2 singles from her latest album “The Fire” and is working on her next studio album, which will most likely be released in the next 2 years. 

Hence, all the rumours which were spreading like wildfire could officially die-down because Ira Losco is not going to be a part of the 2015 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, which nevertheless features no less than 5 former representatives; Miriam Christine (1996), Olivia Lewis (2007), Ludwig Galea (2004), Glen Vella (2009) and Gianluca Bezzina (2013). Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook & Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: Ira Losco (Official Facebook Page), Allen Venables

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Friday, 26 September 2014 21:23

MESC 2015: Shortlist of 48 Entries Made Public

On the 3rd October, Xarabank will kick-off for another season, and it will do so with a bang, as the revelation of the acts through to the semi-final of the 2015 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest will be made public. Following the initial submission process, where the Public Broadcasting Services received 134 entries, a shortlist of 48 entries has now been published through the official website.

A quick glance at the list of shortlisted entries, one would realise that the list features a relative amount of established artists including; Glen Vella (ESC 11), Miriam Christine (ESC 96), Olivia Lewis (ESC 07), Lawrence Gray (MESC 98-99, 01-04, 09, 11), Gianluca (ESC 13), Trilogy (MESC 05-07, 09), Daniel Testa (JESC 08), Chris Grech (MESC 13-14), Jessika (MESC 08, 11-14), Amber (MESC 11-14), Domenique (MESC 11, 13), Danica Muscat (MESC 12-13), Marilena Gauci (MESC 11, 13), Andreana (MESC 98, 02-06, 09-10, 14), Fiona Cauchi (MESC 98, 01, 02, 05, 09) & Franklin Calleja (MESC 13, 14).

12, Baker Street – Karen DeBattista

Beautiful to Me – “L-Aħwa”

Break All Borders – Jacqueline Richard

Breakaway – Glen Vella

Call It Love – Kurt Cassar

Chasing a Dream – Trilogy

Close Your Eyes – Danica Muscat

Closed Doors – Chris Grech

Could Have Been Me – Iona Dalli

Dark Dark Waters – Domenique

Dream of Love – Rebecca Mifsud

Eclipse – Ana-Maria Grima

Empty Hearted – Domenique

Fandango – Jessika

Flame – Monroe

For All Those Times – Gloriana Arpa Belli

Freedom – Simaria Galea

Hey Yo – Domenique

Hold My Hand – Estelle Imbroll

Hold On To Love – Olivia & Miriam

Home – Lyndsay Pace

Hurricane – Marilena Gauci

Indestructible – Annabelle Vella

It’s OK – Deborah C

Look – Neville Refalo

Love & Let Go – Sr Michaela, Sr Monica, Sr Rita, Sr Claudia, Sr Denise & Sr Magdalong

Love Call – Danica Muscat

My Next Tattoo – Domenique

Never Ask Why – Andreana & Fiona

Once in a While – Minik

Ringside – Gabriella Azzopardi

Rush – Christabelle

Secretly – Corazon

See Through Lover – Larissa Borg

Shine a Light – Malcolm

Something in the Way – Daniel Testa

Still Here – Franklin

Stop Haunting Me – Raquel Galdes

Stuck Without Me – Kylie Coleiro

Take Me as I Am – Domenique

The One That You Love – Lawrence Gray

The Thief – Dario Mifsud Bonnici

Warrior – Amber

What You Wanna Hear – Stefan Galea

What? When? Where? – Joseph Refalo

Where Do We Go? – Kurt Cassar

Who Needs a Heart – Soraya Cardona

Your Phone – Fiona Cauchi

Apart from the established names, it seems that the line-ups of established groups such as Trilogy and Monroe have both been altered for the upcoming edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest with Ludwig Galea replacing Daniel Debono in the former, and Nadia Vella becoming a new member of the latter, joining former Malta Eurovision Song Contest finalist; Kelly Schembri.

Other names which have caught our eye in the list are surely those of; Karen DeBattista, winner of this year’s edition of L-Għanja tal-Poplu; Kurt Cassar, winner of the Best New Talent at this year’s edition of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza; Annabelle Vella, backing vocalist to Malta’s entry at the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2008 and a group of nuns, who have most likely been inspired by the recent phenomenon on The Voice of Italy.

Everyone is somewhat gasping about the non-inclusion of Ira Losco in the first shortlist with the general feeling around the industry being that the Public Broadcasting Services may go ahead and offer a wildcard as is stated in the rules and regulations. This will be made public in a week’s time as Peppi Azzopardi and his dedicated team at WE Media reveal the chosen acts. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about the 2015 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest.

Source: PBS / TVM

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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
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