On the 7th July, a truly hot summer’s evening, 18 credible performers took to the stage of Pjazza Teatru Rjal as participants of “L-Għanja tal-Poplu – Festival tal-Kanzunetta Maltija”. This year, under a different light and perspective was the fact that 17 of the 18 songs were accompanied by the PBS Orchestra under the direction of Mro Joe Brown and the co-ordination of Mro Paul Abela.
The result was exceptional, and here’s to hoping that the festival will continue to grow in the same manner in the years to come. The participants knew that at the end of the evening, their fate rested completely on the weight of five professional jury members, who aim was to reduce the field by 6. Their selection was made, and 12 acts have now been chosen to compete in the final.
01. Ta’ Billejl (Mark Spiteri Lucas / Paul Ellul) - Neville Refalo
02. Ħallejt il-Passi Wrajk (Glen Vella / Paul Ellul) - Jurgen Xerri
03. Is-Sinjur (Mark Scicluna / Emil Calleja Bayliss) - Cherylis
04. Ħabta u Sabta (Mark Scicluna / Andy Muscat) - Andy Muscat
05. Mellisni (Mark Spiteri Lucas / Joe Chircop) - Mikaela Bajada
06. Pupa tal-Plastik (Marco Debono / Paul Ellul) - Domenique
07. Il-Biża u Jien (Pamela Bezzina / Rita Pace) - Nadine Fenech
08. Ngħidlek (Miriam Christine / Joe Julian Farrugia) - Miriam Christine
09. Id-Dieher (Augusto Cardinali) - Neville Refalo u Graziana Axisa
10. X’Se Jsir (Corazon Mizzi) - Corazon
11. Jien Biss (Dominic Cini / Joe Julian Farrugia) - Dorcas Debono
12. Xagħar Twil (Mark Laurence Zammit / Ingrid Vella) - Denise Spiteri
Hosted by Sean Buhagiar, and supported off stage by the comedic theatrics of Wayne Flask and Gilbert Camilleri, the evening was organized to extreme professionalism, even incorporating the special guests into the thematic use of Maltese, noting that the Gozitan band ‘The Travellers’ were on hand to provide the public with some of their original work.
Be sure to tune into TVM this Saturday 9th July for the grand final of “L-Għanja tal-Poplu – Festival tal-Kanzunetta Maltija”. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about the local music scene as soon as it becomes available. We would like to wish all of the acts a very Good Luck!
Source: Press Release, Ghanjafest.com
In 2 weeks, 40th edition of “L-Għanja tal-Poplu - Festival tal-Kanzunetta Maltija” will be taking place at Pjazza Teatru Rjal, featuring a total of 12 participants, those chosen by a professional panel of judges from the semi-final stage which is slated for Thursday 7th July. Those who made it thus far are already winners, noting that they managed to make it to the shortlist from 144 submissions, a record number.
What’s different about the local music competition this year is that the participating songwriters and artists were given the opportunity to perform alongside the Orchestra of the National Broadcaster, led by Mro Joe Brown and Mro Paul Abela.
It is worth noting that every participant was also given equal airtime on local television, with a coordinated promotional schedule to ensure that the messages of the songs are not only heard on the actual festival nights, but also directly from the artists prior to the showcase.
The running order for the semi-final on the 7th July is as follows:
01. Ta’ Billejl (Mark Spiteri Lucas / Paul Ellul) - Neville Refalo
02. Ma Ninsiex (Augusto Cardinali / Joe Julian Farrugia) - Deborah Dalli
03. Ħallejt il-Passi Wrajk (Glen Vella / Paul Ellul) - Jurgen Xerri
04. Is-Sinjur (Mark Scicluna / Emil Calleja Bayliss) - Cherylis
05. Ħanini (Walter Micallef) - Walter Micallef
06. Ħabta u Sabta (Mark Scicluna / Andy Muscat) - Andy Muscat
07. Mellisni (Mark Spiteri Lucas / Joe Chircop) - Mikaela Bajada
08. Tama (Dj Mac, David Legeusse / Shyli / Jasmar / Kapitlu 13) - Shyli, Jasmar ft Kapitlu 13
09. Pupa tal-Plastik (Marco Debono / Paul Ellul) - Domenique
10. Il-Biża u Jien (Pamela Bezzina / Rita Pace) - Nadine Fenech
11. Ngħidlek (Miriam Christine / Joe Julian Farrugia) - Miriam Christine
12. Id-Dieher (Augusto Cardinali) - Neville Refalo u Graziana Axisa
13. Bħal Tifla Żgħira (Marco Debono / Rita Pace) - Maria Cassar
14. Taptipa fuq l-Ispallejn (Pamela Bezzina / Emil Calleja Bayliss) - Michela Dalli
15. X’Se Jsir (Corazon Mizzi) - Corazon
16. Jien Biss (Dominic Cini / Joe Julian Farrugia) - Dorcas Debono
17. Xagħar Twil (Mark Laurence Zammit / Ingrid Vella) - Denise Spiteri
18. Waħdi Miegħek (Kaya / Ingrid Vella) - Graziella Vella
L-Għanja tal-Poplu – Festival tal-Kanzunetta Maltija will be held on two evenings, both of which will be transmit LIVE on Television Malta (TVM). 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.
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.
- Għanja talPoplu Festival talKanzunetta Maltija 2016
- Rita Pace
- Marco Debono
- Andy Muscat
- Mark Scicluna
- Paul Ellul
- Glen Vella
- Walter Micallef
- Augusto Cardinali
- Pamela Bezzina
- Joe Julan Farrugia
- Miriam Christine
- Mark Spiteri Lucas
- Kapitlu 13
- DJ Mac
- David Leguesse
- Ingrid Vella
- Mark Laurence Zammit
- Corazon Mizzi
The 40th edition of L-Għanja tal-Poplu, will be undergoing a radical change, as it will be merging with the Festival tal-Kanzunetta Maltija, with the support of the Creative Space, The Malta Council for the Arts, and the Public Broadcasting Services (PBS). The aim of this re-branding is to ensure that the local music scene, and most particularly, the Maltese language flourishes further.
Those who will be lucky to make it to the final shortlist will have the opportunity to be accompanied on stage by the Public Broadcasting Services Orchestra, which made it’s official debut a couple of months back, under the leadership of Maestro Joe Brown, and Maestro Paul Abela.
Each submission, not longer than 3 minutes and a half, will be received at the L-Għanja tal-Poplu Offices at 227, Merchant Street in Valletta, against a payment of €30 on the 19th April 2016. The committee will also give 2 complimentary tickets to the artist who submits a song. Following in the footsteps of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza, L-Għanja tal-Poplu – Festival tal-Kanzunetta Maltija will be staged at ‘Pjazza Teatru Rjal’ in Valletta.
It is also worth noting that another innovative change is that the event will be organised on two evenings, on the 7th and the 9th July. The idea is to have a semi-final and a final, as opposed to just a one-nighter event. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook or Twitter for all the latest news about the local music scene.
Spiteri Lucas Entertainment, stalwarts in finding and promoting talent, is proud to launch a new opportunity in 2016, "The Entertainers Singing Challenge", open for solo singers between 11 and 15 years. This will be airing during “The Entertainers”, a Saturday night variety show on NET Television, hosted by former Malta Eurovision Song Contest runner-up, Janvil.
As per the rules and regulations, the 1st phase will be a ‘behind-closed-doors’ audition with playback music and LIVE vocals which will be entirely judged by a professional panel of judges. They will be assessing technique, musicality, confidence, interpretation, confidence and originality.
From then onwards, 18 will reach the televised portion of the competition, with 3 soloists presenting their songs, this time with LIVE music and LIVE vocals, noting that the band during ‘The Entertainers’ will be provided to support the competing artists.
In a result decided through 80% jury and 20% tele-voting, 10 artists will make it through to the final stage of the competition, where they will perform twice, once in a celebrity duet meant to act as a showcase, and the second time in a competition, in a result decided entirely through a professional panel of judges.
A cash prize is to be won by the final winner, whilst the winner of the tele-vote in the 1st televised portion of the competition will also get an original song, music and lyrics. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.
Source: Spiteri Lucas Entertainment
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The prestigious Italian Festival will next year take place between the 10th and the 14th February, hosted by none other than Carlo Conti, who is one of the most popular TV presenters on RAI 1, mainly known for the quiz show “L’Eredita”.
Infact, Conti himself has just recently published a sort of handbook for the festival, which will also include some new concepts. The festival will yet again be divided into two categories, mainly the “Giovani” (Italy’s upcoming talent) and the “Campioni” (Famous Italian singers). Unlike the previous years, the “Campioni” will be competing with one song and not two. The shows will be divided as follows:
10th February 2015: 8 “Campioni” will premiere their songs and 4 “Giovani” will do the same (2 will proceed to the semifinal round held on 12/02)
11th February 2015: 8 remaining “Campioni” will premiere theirs songs and the next 4 “Giovani” will do the same (2 will proceed to the semifinal round held on 12/02)
12th February 2015: The 16 “Campioni” will perform cover versions of famous songs, normally in a duet. The 4 “Giovani” will be heard again and 2 will proceed to the final.
13th February 2015: the 16 “Campioni” will fight for 12 spots in the grand final. “Giovani” final will be held on this day.
14th February 2015: “I Campioni” final
Neitherless, each night will be a one to remember, in which the competition will be infused with a number of special guests, whom will be announced most probably sometime around January 2015. For the first time ever, during the 2015 edition of Sanremo, the public can also vote via internet and also through an application, which for the Italians is a huge step forward indeed! Here pops the question - how will the votes be shared then? I have your answer below.
In the first rounds, the public (50%) and the accredited journalists (50%) will vote. In the semifinals and finals, the vote will be split between the public (40%), an expert jury (30%) and an opinion poll panel (30%). Yes, Italians are sophisticated and confusing indeed. Last but not least, the winner of the festival, that is the “Campioni” winner, willbe automatically chosen to wave the Italian flag in Vienna at the Eurovision Song Contest.
And (yes, there is an ‘and’!) if the winner decided not to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest, no worries, RAI will hold an internal selection as a special committee will select the artist. Italians surely know “how to do it best”! J Let’s eagerly wait for the artists to be revealed now ... and get to hear some really good, and yes, romantic music I guess (maybe it will be the theme for the final night, seeing that is is falling on Valentine’s day). We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.
In a relatively surprise move, it has been revealed that the winning artist of Sanremo 2015 will have the opportunity to represent Italy at the upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna, Austria. Since returning to the international competition back in 2011, Italy has been extremely successful, finishing in the top ten on three occasions, only failing to do so, when Emma Marrone and her entry "La Mia Citta" could only garner 21st place.
RAI, the national broadcaster responsible for the participation of Italy had always made it's selection pertaining to the list of artists available in Sanremo, but went ahead with an internal selection in 2014, opting for a female artist who is extremely successful, and having been triumphant in the 2013 edition of Sanremo. Italy's most recent success in the Eurovision Song Contest came in 2011 when Raphael Gualazzi and his entry "Madness of Love" finishing in second place. 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 Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna, Austria.
Rumours are spreading like a wild fire that Ira Losco and Gianluca Bezzina would be submitting an entry into the next edition of the Malta Eurovision. Both singers were contacted by newsbook.com.mt about these rumours but they did not answer the big question but one would say that both their answers will give way for even more speculation. Ira Losco answered that she always thought that as long as she has a song she believes in and reflects her as an artist, she would not refuse to take part but whether this will happen is another story. On the other hand, Gianluca refused to comment for the time being.
It is important to note, that rumours have been circulating after they both hosted the Malta Eurovision successfully earlier this year and there they presented a number of duets that left the audience in awe. A number of Maltese enthusiasts and also foreign enthusiasts could not help but suggest that the duo should join forces and try representing Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest. The idea in itself is genial both artists are popular in Malta and they are also well know with the Eurovision crowd with Ira Losco securing second place in 2002 and Gianluca securing eighth place in 2013.
What fuelled the rumours even more was the change in the regulations which stated that the only artist who cannot represent Malta in next year’s contest is the band Firelight, all the others can try their luck once more. This regulation has been amended as up until last year it stated that the artists who represented Malta in the last five years cannot represent the country. So, with this change, the dream of many can actually be realized but one may say that if this happens, the dream of all the other artists who can actually represent the country will be put on hold for at least another year as no one sees the duo missing out.
With all this said, one would ask one simple question. If both artists are interested why is PBS holding a selection? Well this is a song competition and no matter who sings it, the best song should win. If this principal is applied than there would be no problems in terms of the popularity of the artists, especially baring in mind that the public say is rather limited and in any case of ties, they will be resolved by the jurors’ votes. So even, if Gianluca and Ira Losco go in for the competition they need to present a strong entry and compete with all the others artists who have the same exact goal. Their popularity would help them sweep the public vote, but as we saw in 2014, it was not enough for Jessika’s entry ‘Hypnotica’ or Kevin Borg’s entry “Needing You” the year before.
Yet, the regulations also state that the winning song can actually change and the winning team can be asked to write a different song. This might question the validity of the contest as a number of people commented whether this will be a song festival or a singer’s festival but one must note that since they are all competing with original song, the best song should triumph at the end. PBS put that clause to make sure that the country is represented in the best way possible abroad and hopefully we will slowly work towards achieving a win at this prestigious event which is followed by millions around the world!
In Malta, this is the biggest platform for all local artists and stopping the selection would mean you are not giving a chance for new talent to brew and showcase itself. On the other hand, all the artists and teams behind the respective songs pay a lot of money to even submit a song, and continue spending more money if they reach the finals so one expects everyone to have the same chance to win the contest. So it is very important to remember that this is not a popularity contest but a SONG contest. The public response and feedback for all the artists is more than enough to be part of the showcase but ultimately winning would surely be rewarding.
The applications for the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest will close on the 29th of August and the competition will take place in November, two months earlier to what the Maltese crowd is used to. In fact this was a bit of a shock for all the people interested in participating because this meant they needed to start working and finding studios which are available surely proved to be a nightmare for all those interested as no one had foreseen such an eventuality.
The editorial team of escflashmalta.com would like to wish the best of luck to all the artists, composers and authors interested in submitting a song. May the best product triumph and represent Malta successfully at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest updates.
It has become customary for the escflashmalta.com editorial board to engage professional individuals from the music industry to assess the songs competing in the Eurovision Song Contest as presented to the European Broadcasting Union during the Heads of Delegation Meeting. Greig Watts, Joseph Zammit, Sharon Vaughn and John Scott from the United Kingdom, Malta, Sweden and the United States have been entrusted with the second semi-final, comprising of sixteen songs and set to take place on the 8th May 2014 at the B&W Hallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark. Making use of the running order and moving onto number #12, we catch up with Switzerland (SSR SRG) who will be represented by Sebalter with the song Hunter of Stars written by Sebastiano Paù-Lessi.
On stage at the Swiss event, Sebalter thanked the audience by raising his fiddle to the sky. This was no coincidence, as the instrument has accompanied him throughout his musical career since its start at the tender age of six. Learning to play the fiddle throughout his boyhood years had opened Sebalter’s eyes to the infinite possibilities that music offers. During his teens, Sebalter felt the need to expand his horizons: he picked up a guitar and tried his hand at writing songs. However, when the then 18-year-old Sebalter had his first career break, it was again thanks to his faithful fiddle. Sebalter's versatile and energetic playing propelled him on a 10-year musical ride as co-frontman of a well-known country-folk band based in Switzerland.
In 2012 - after four albums, more than three hundred live performances, and playing in front of crowds of more than 10,000 people - Sebalter felt his teenage songwriting itch coming back with a vengeance. He decided to close one wonderful career chapter and open a new one as a solo artist. He immediately started writing and recording songs, searching for the perfect sound that would provide a balance between his folk roots, his poetic sensibilities and his live-on-stage energy. After a year of intense work, he knew he had found it - and he decided to put it to the test by entering the Eurovision Song Contest.
It was a gamble, but it has paid off. His song Hunter Of Stars, which is also the lead single off his forthcoming debut album, was selected as the winner and thus Switzerland’s official entry for the Eurovision Song Contest. This achievement could not have come at a better time for Sebalter, who is putting the finishing touches to his new album, and is getting ready for an official tour this summer. "To be on the Eurovision Song Contest Stage is a dream come true", that's what Sebalter stated after his victory in the Swiss national selection. The trademark of the charismatic singer is his fiddle, which has accompanied him throughout his musical career since the tender age of six.
Switzerland, a two-time winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, first in 1956 with Lys Assia and the song Refrain and then in 1988 with Celine Dion and the track Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi. In recent years, Switzerland has not come close to winning the international competition with their last top ten result coming back in 2005 at the hands of Vanilla Ninja and their entry Cool Vibes. It is to be noted that since the semi-final format was introduced, Switzerland has also failed to make a solid impact on the competition failing to get through on several occasions, only managing qualification in 2005 and 2011.
Professional Critics Voice their Opinion
Greig Watts: Interesting riff and whistle definitely grabbed my attention. Vocal comes in, is it Elvis Costello? Not my personal cup of tea, Chorus ok, but actually love the whistle at the end, that’s a really strong hook, and we’ll all sing that on the night. 2nd chorus, oh its growing on me a lot!! (although not sure I can hear the words properly), ah, and no whistle hook (that’s because of time restrictions Im sure as should be there if it’s a single over 3 mins). Nice breakdown clap section, Not sure the lyrics make much sense to me that much, but hook’s got me for sure, and yes ending on the whistle!!! Well done!!!
Joseph Zammit: Sometimes intricate and complex musical skills and tricks are not crucial to create a great song. Sometimes all you need is a banjo and a whistle and voila! That is all this song has and yet, here I am finding myself uncontrollably bobbing on my chair as I listen to it. Thanks to a simple banjo line, 1970's style rock organ chords and an unbelievably catchy whistle tune, this piece delivers something which most songs in this competition do not, and that is emotion.
Add in an awesome violin 'riff' in the bridge and you get yourself a song that will be stuck in your head and will put a smile on your face. There isn't anything bad I can say about this song really, but I'm never one to give away a perfect score so...
Sharon Vaughn: This was a message lost. Just instruments and words strung together.
John Scott: Interesting instrumentation on this one. The whistle is quite effective as a hook.