Marc Calleja Bayliss
Sharon Vaughn from the United States, Martin Isherwood from the United Kingdom and Stano Simor from the Czech Republic represent diverse music scenes in their respective nations with their contributions duly noted across the year. Their aim in joining this feature is to see what lies beneath each track of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. The first semi-final along with the three finalist countries voting there have long been concluded as we edge towards the mid-way of the second semi-final. Attention turns to Greece whose broadcaster, ERT has been drawn in slot number #9 with the producers thinking this position best. The song entitled Alcohol is Free is co-written by Stathis Pachidis and Ilias Kozas whilst the vocalists will be none other than the group, Koza Mostra featuring. Agathon Iakovidis.
Ilias Kozas, as the lead singer of the band Cabaret Balkan, one of the best Greek Balkan Bands, in their most creative period. Kozas had a restless mind with many significant collaborations, and he sought a more personal way of expressing himself. He realised his goal by forming the band Koza Mostra, which became one of the most famous Balkan, ska bands in Greece. Christos Kalaitzopoulos, Born on February 22nd, in Ptolemaida, Northern Greece. He started studying accordion with Aleksandar Tchuev. He has twice won the first prize in the Greek Accordionists competition and once the second prize at Star Ways, Kragujevac. Co-founder of the group “Los Mujeros” he participated at a very young age in several gigs such as Schoolwave 07, 08, 09.
Vassilis Nalbantis was born in Kozani. He had the opportunity to play and record as a full member or guest artist, with bands and orchestras from almost every music gender: A funk-reggae band called Orchestra Sonora, the Balkan-swing band Melios Balkana Mama, pop-RnB band Elements, surf band Meanwhile in Mexico, reggae band Global Vibe, electronica-dub trip-hop band Auditors Domination, and the Balkan-ska-punk band Koza Mostra. Alex Archontis was born in Thessaloniki, on May 23rd, 1984. In 2005, he joined Cayetano’s live band and performed all over Greece. Succeeding the tour with Cayetano, he joined the band Emigre as a session musician and he participated in the recordings of three albums. Finally, in September 2011 he met with Ilias Kozas and joined the newly formed band Koza Mostra.
Stelios Siomos was born in Thessaloniki, on December 16th, 1980. He discovered his passion for music at a very young age and he formed his first band James Down playing soul, funk music and participating in local gigs. Further down the road he joined Koza Mostra where he performs as a musician. Agathon Iakovidis is devoted to rebetiko music, loyally serving it since 1973, refusing to sing any other –even more popular- styles. He is a keen collector of vinyl records of rare rebetiko recordings. In 1977, Iakovidis created the Rebetiko band of Thessaloniki and he released two records. In 1981 he moved to Athens, where he worked with famous musicians such as: Kostas Papadopoulos, George Koros, Vassilis Soukas, Lazaros Koulaxidis, Nikos Filippidis, Nikos Chatzopoulos and many others. He has toured all around Greece, Europe and USA.
Greece organised a national selection in conjuction with MAD Television for this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest due to financial constraints. The idea was to bring about record labels to contribute artists and this was the case in the four entry selection process. In the meantime, the nation is one of the most success in the international competition especially since 2001 when the group Antique took to the stage with the song Die for You finishing in third place. A couple of years later, in 2005, Helena Paparizou who was the lead singer of the aforementioned group took the crown with the song My Number One just ahead of Chiara who is currently making headlines in Malta for her track Żarbun. Following eight consecutive years in the top ten, the country did not sustain such a positive outcome in 2012 with Aphrodisiac by Eleftheria Eleftheriou finishing in seventeenth place with just sixty-four points.
Professional Critics Voice their Opinion
Martin Isherwood: The title will probably go down well! Only managed to get the chorus lyrics - I presume the rest is about booze. Good mix of ideas. Truly 'Madness' Booze, bouzoukis, kilts and ska - great combination.
Sharon Vaughn: Fun and well performed but too frantic for the listener to receive the full impact
Stano Simor: Up-tempo "SKA" song. This type of song normally works because the people act funny. Title of the song is well thought out as well. Singing melody is more near the Russian songs rather than Greece though. It seems to me that this could very well be the intention of the group and the nation, to try and lure Eastern Europe. Don’ t think it can jump to the top positions.
In 2007, four male musicians in the form of Errol Sammut, Johann Schembri, Chris Curmi and Steve Farrugia came together to create the alternative male band known as Airport Impressions. Jagged House Studios, represented by Howard Keith knew that there was something special and thus a professional relationship began, one which culminated in the release of a number of successful singles such as Beside You and Wake Up. Nevertheless, the tracks only got better and in 2008, with the release of Borderline, it seemed that the star was set to shine and not for a short period but for a lengthy stretch. Airport Impressions continues to work hard and in 2010, put out their debut album entitled Minutes of a Lifetime which won rave reviews from critics and practically all possible awards.
In recent months, the group has been relatively quiet in the public eye with their last known appearances coming about at the end of summer of 2012 including concerts in Sweden, the country which just happens to be hosting this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. Errol Sammut on the other hand has also been busy co-writing with Claudia Faniello in recent months having been the composer behind the song When It's Time which finished in seventh place during this years' edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest prior to making it on 89.7 Bay, where it peaked at number #2 on the local charts. In the past couple of days, the group have been gearing up for an announcement on their Official Page on Facebook and finally, the wait is over with a sophomore album in the works. with the correct statement saying 'Proud to announce that we are officially back in the studio today to record our second album!' Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.
Source: Official Facebook Page
Only Love Survives, co-written by Wez Devine and Ryan Dolan, the latter of which will also be providing the vocals will be representing Ireland in the first semi-final of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. It seems that whatever the outcome of the competition, the track is destined to be a hit in the host country, Sweden noting that the track has already peaked at number #33 prior to the commencement of the rehearsals. Ireland have a stunning record in the annual music event noting that they have managed to finish at the top on a record seven occasions, the last of which was back in 1996 when Eimear Quinn had performed The Voice.
Ryan Dolan and his entry Only Love Survives were selected to compete in the Irish Eurosong competition by mentor, Stuart O'Connor who is known to many inside the entertainment circles as a celebrity choreographer. He has already garnered experience at the Eurovision Song Contest having helped set the tone of the performance that Jedward gave last year as they performed the track Waterline which included an energetic routine accompanied by a waterfall. iTunes, the digital platform for music, movies and books amongst other things has been very much involved in the sales of the entries competing in this years' showcase whilst preview shows have given the required push in a number of countries. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news as soon as it becomes available.
Betting Odds and Polls have become increasingly popular across the years but nevertheless have always had a somewhat bittersweet element when they end up being somewhat off from the final mark. Nevertheless, another poll which is highly publicised is that of the General Organisation of Eurovision Fans, also known as the OGAE. In Malta, the branch is led by Adrian Refalo and Deo Grech, the latter being a successful lyricist as well as former member of the committee which took care of the nations' representation. Today, escflashmalta.com is proud to exclusively reveal the points of the OGAE Malta.
Malta represented by Gianluca and his entry Tomorrow co-written by Boris Cezek and Dean Muscat have fared respectably thus far, always garnering a placing just outside of the top ten, being the only reason why points have not been racked up. In the meantime, the poll as conducted by the members has somewhat been accurate noting that they have managed to predict three winners from the past six years, these being none other than Euphoria performed by Loreen for Sweden in 2012, Fairytale sung by Alexander Rybak for Norway in 2009 and Moltiva performed by Marija Serifovic for Serbia in 2007 respectively. The full points are seen below.
- 1 point: Austria
- 2 points: Azerbaijan
- 3 points: Ireland
- 4 points: FYR Macedonia
- 5 points: Serbia
- 6 points: Ukraine
- 7 points: Germany
- 8 points: Norway
- 10 points: San Marino
- 12 points: Denmark
Sir Terry Wogan is somewhat British Royalty in the world of the Eurovision Song Contest and therefore, it comes as no surprise that Bonnie Tyler was invited to participate in his programme earlier this morning. Joined by four backing vocalists; two male and two female along with a male guitarist, she performed an acoustic version of Believe In Me, the song that she will be performing on behalf of the United Kingdom at the upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. Since leaving his commentary duties to Graham Norton, Sir Terry Wogan has continued to be a radio broadcaster, hosting the show Weekend Wogan on BBC Radio 2.
Bonnie has been doing a lot of press as of late, especially in the United Kingdom earning positive reviews of the track all over the nation in hope that she could earn more than twelve (12) points as achieved by Engelbert Humperdinck with his song Love Will Set You Free. Whilst the track itself has not really set the digital charts on fire in the United Kingdom, it has maintained it's entry and currently stands at around #387 on iTunes. The album from which it was taken entitled Rocks and Honey has had moderate success in mainland Europe including Germany and Switzerland where it peaked at number #59. We would like you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news about Bonnie Tyler and the United Kingdom in this years' Eurovision Song Contest.
Source: BBC on Twitter
escflashmalta.com is proud to have engaged such professional individuals to analyse and assess the entries competing in this years' Eurovision Song Contest taking place in Malmö, Sweden noting that they had not had a whiff of what is seemingly in contention this time round. The first semi-final along with the three finalist countries voting there have long been concluded as we edge towards the mid-way of the second semi-final. Attention turns to Iceland whose broadcaster, RUV has been drawn in slot number #8 with the producers thinking this position best. The song entitled Ég Á Líf performed by Eythor Ingi is co-written between Örlygur Smári & Pétur Örn Gudmundsson.
Music was clearly a major part of Eyþór Ingi’s childhood; he used to sing Elvis Presley songs while still in kindergarten and he also loved acting. In 2004, at the age of fifteen, he won a part in the Icelandic version of the musical Oliver!, which turned out to be one of the most successful theatrical works ever staged in Akureyri, the capital of northern Iceland. This was only the beginning of his theatrical career as he was offered a part in Óvitar in 2007 as well as taking the leading role in a college staging of the musical Jesus Christ Superstar.
Eyþór Ingi won the College Song Contest in the spring of 2007 and was selected to compete as a contestant in TV talent show ‘Bandið hans Bubba‘. After winning the show in early 2008 he soon began working as a professional singer, musician and sound technician. Eyþór Ingi founded the progressive rock group Eldberg and in 2010 joined the renowned Icelandic band Todmobile, contributing to their seventh album, which was also entitled ‘7’. In 2011 Eyþór Ingi was nominated as best singer in the Gríman Theatrical Awards for his role as Riff Raff in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The following year he played hippie leader Berger in the musical Hair.
He also featured in the cast of Les Misérables as law student Marius Pontmercy, when the musical was staged in Þjóðleikhúsið, the National Theatre of Iceland, in 2011-2012. Eyþór Ingi was inspired to start singing by the music of Jeff Buckley and is also a big fan of David Bowie, Thom Yorke, Ian Gillan and Freddie Mercury. He has been a member of a Deep Purple tribute band and performed in the Freddie Mercury Tribute Show in Harpa Concert Hall in 2011-2012. The Icelandic national selection is one which people are seemingly becoming accustomed to every year and considering the recent tracks that have been submitted, it comes to no surprise. There were two former representatives competing this year, with only Birgitta from 2003 making it to the final.
Like Malta, Iceland will be taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest for the twenty-sixth time and their fortunes have also been quite similar with two first runner-up finishes, the first one coming in 1999 with Selma and her entry All Out of Luck and the second time round in 2009 with Yohanna and her song Is It True? Since the introduction of the semi-final system, the nation has been successful in getting through to the final on five occasions from a possible eight, as they were direct qualifiers in 2004. After three years of disappointments, Iceland got through to the final in 2008 with This Is My Life performed by Euroband and have always been there ever since but got their worst result since doing last year as Never Forget by Great & Jonsi mustered only forty-six (46) points in the final to finish in twentieth place.
Professional Critics Voice their Opinion
Martin Isherwood: Translates as 'I have a life' - I wish. Good voice Good strong tune. Oooh, interesting dry vocal at the end. Nice Irish type piano ballad and a little in the style of Hallelujah in places. This type of song sometimes goes all the way but it’s very predicatable.
Sharon Vaughn: Very moving and compelling melody and performance, understated and sincere!
Stano Simor: "My Life" (Ég á Líf) is a beautiful emotional song. Eyþór Ingi has a pleasant voice color that when combined with a weeping melody transposed dramatic end, creates a perfect hit ballad. I believe that the audience will appreciate this enough to vote it into the final.
Gianluca, who will be representing Malta in the upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest with the track Tomorrow co-written by Boris Cezek and Dean Muscat is doing a series of promotional rounds on local television prior to leaving for the international spectacle. Ħadd Għalik has become a weekly Sunday appointment for several because it is a game-show with a difference involving particular themes and specific games. Angie Laus is the main host of the show, alongside Mario Coleiro and PJ Vassallo who aid and carry out features respectively.
In this weeks' game-show, Gianluca joins his whole family including Malta Eurovision Song Contest Finalist, Dorothy Bezzina against the team that will be accompanying him abroad including Louise Ann Bugeja Tate, Christopher Tate, Kenny D'Ugo and Gabriel Cassar noting that Samaria Bezzina is still in the United Kingdom. In the meantime, special performances on the show are expected by resident singers including three time Eurovision Song Contest representative; Chiara who has just premiered her latest single Żarbun, as well as Malta Eurovision Song Contest finalists; Eleanor Cassar and Deborah C and Azeri representative, Farid Mammadov who will perform his entry Hold Me. Tune in to Television Malta between 12:10 and 15:30 CET and let yourself be entertained. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.
Source: Where's Everybody
Like any other industry, music is known to have a lot of experienced figures who lurk in the shadows either as songwriters, producers or musicians and as a matter of fact, escflashmalta.com has been in touch with three in particular to help assess the entries competing in this years' Eurovision Song Contest. Hailing from the United Kingdom, United States and the Czech Republic, they bring a lot of knowledge to the table. In the second semi-final, seventeen (17) countries will be in contention and in slot number seven (7), the producers have decided to put none other than Bulgaria represented by the broadcaster known as BNT. The nation will be participating in the esteemed international competition for the ninth time and hoping to reach their second final. Elitsa Todorova and Stoyan Yankulov were selected internally by a selective committee appointed by the respective broadcaster with the song Samo Shampioni co-written by Elitsa Todorova and Christian Talev chosen through a public and jury vote.
Elitsa Todorova was born on 1977 in Varna. She studied music, specialising in authentic folklore singing and in percussions. She attracts the attention of both the audience and the critics with her specific voice - strong, deep-toned, clear and hardy, the tone-quality being one of a beautiful and rich ornamentation. She worked at the State Dance and Music Ensemble in Varna, in the choir The Mystery of the Bulgarian voices, and the Cosmic Voices of Bulgaria choir where she performed authentic Bulgarian folk songs, and compositions in Yiddish and Sanskrit. In 2003 Elitsa Todorova began working with Bulgaria's most popular and renowned drummer and percussionist Stoyan Yankulov. The unique Elitsa Todorova-Stoyan Yankulov Duo turned into a phenomenon in no time. Elitsa Todorova develops a percussions-playing style of her own, combining quick ostinate rhythms on the tarambuka with synhronised tarambuka with synchronised playing and singing. The result is a mosaic of unique vocal movements and impeccable musical improvisations.
She plays traditional percussion instruments in a most non-traditional way. The singer easily mixes traditional folklore with jazz, drum and base, ethno-motifs, classics and spontaneous improvisation. The result is fascinating. In her repertoire Elitsa Todorova plays instruments like the tarambuka, drums, maracas, clavess, old silver coins, shepperd's chimes, horses' bells, a magical thunder-wand, guirro, chimes, but of all musical instruments the best, in her opinion, is human voice. Through combining authentic Bulgarian folk songs with the energy of percussions Elitsa Todorova presents in a most touching way the core, the potency and the emotional power of Bulgarian culture. Stoyan Yankulov was born on September 10th in Sofia. At the age of eight he started taking piano lessons. At the same time he showed interest for percussion instruments. Since a young age he was the base of musical bands as a drummer, and he eventually graduated majoring in percussion instruments. Yankulov plays with rock and jazz bands, with folklore ensembles and with jazz-rock and fusion bands.
Stoyan Yankulov has already won many highly-ranked prizes. He records jazz, pop and ethnic music. This has significantly influenced his unique playing style. He manages to produce orchestral sound on percussion instruments. Sometimes the listener has the impression that there is more than one percussionist playing. "The acquisition of other techniques - from bass, piano or other instruments is useful in this process. For me to play means to communicate", Stoyan describes his very own style. Yankulov breaks and stretches the traditional way of playing drums, tupan, percussion by applying new techniques and non-standard musical ideas. Combining authentic folklore with new ways of expression with percussion instruments Stoyan Yankulov reveals the unlimited variety and emotional intensity of the unique Bulgarian culture. Elitsa & Stoyan have already performed together on the Eurovision Song Contest stage together in 2007, gaining the fifth place in the Final with Voda - the best placing for Bulgaria to date.
Bulgaria does not have too much of a history to look back to within the Eurovision Song Contest noting that this will be their ninth participation in total, having entered the international competition for the very first time back in 2005. Their debut entry entitled Lorraine finished in nineteenth place with just forty-nine (49) points but despite their results improving in later years, they have only managed to qualify just once, and that was in 2007 with the same duo that will be doing the honours this year. Water performed by Elitsa & Stoyan reached fifth place with one hundred, fifty seven (157) points. In recent years, BNT which is the public broadcaster in Bulgaria has been working hard to ensure success and this has been seen in terms of results with Na Inat (2011) and Love Unlimited (2012) finishing in twelfth and eleventh place respectively. The latter was actually joint tenth but after a close review of how the points were distributed, it was Norway's Stay performed by Tooji which got the spot in the final round.
Professional Critics Voice their Opinion
Martin Isherwood: Melodically strong chorus Didn't get the lyrics! Good voice Interesting chromatic melody with strong eastern influences. This track is doing its own thing really with pipes and live drums against a dance track but I doubt it will have sufficient appeal to do very well. A bit crackers really!
Sharon Vaughn: Astounding. Can't wait to see this live.
Stano Simor: I must start off by saying that this track impressed me in the beginning but slowly started to fade after just one minute and this is due to the fact that there were too many genres infused together. The bridge, involving a timpani solo is just too cheap and sounds very cliché continuing to bore me. The duo look to enjoy their performance and this will surely work well on the cameras of the Eurovision Song Contest.
Track Number #9 off the fifth studio album by Ira Losco is entitled Dead or Alive (Save my Soul) and it seems that the public have grown extremely fond of the track, so much that they have bought it several times to make it peak at number #1 on the iTunes singles chart. Jagged House, the company that represents Ira Losco have already released two official singles in the form of What I'd Give, winner of the Best Video Award at the Malta Music Awards, and The Person I Am which features vocals by David Leguesse and has amassed several views through viral website, YouTube. It is yet unknown whether Dead or Alive (Save my Soul) will be officially released as a single but nevertheless, the public have a right to select the tracks which they enjoy listening to the most.
To signify the importance of the first two digital singles, official music videos were created and as a matter of fact, both tracks made it to number #1 on iTunes as well as on leading radio station, 89.7 Bay. The album itself entitled The Fire was at the top position of the chart for five consecutive weeks and despite sales still shifting at the moment, it finds itself at number #2 behind the album 21 by British singer/songwriter Adele. 'I keep re-confirming that The Fire keeps burning! So many positive comments which obviously make me ecstatic!' are the words which echoed from the mouth of Ira Losco this morning as the editorial team of escflashmalta.com got in contact to announce her latest success. We urge you to continue purchasing the record through the iTunes Digital Store and to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for another blog from Ira Losco in a couple of weeks time.
Source: iTunes, Emil Calleja Bayliss (Image)
Gianluca, a recently graduated medical doctor, will be representing Malta at the upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest but prior to jetting off for the esteemed event in a couple of weeks time, he had teamed up with the National Blood Transfusion Service and the team of Xarabank for a day of events outside the National Blood Transfusion Centre in St.Luke’s Square, G’Mangia. The aim, generally speaking is for the public to give blood and aid increase the supply which has been running on a relatively low amount in recent weeks. The eveng is taking place today between 08:00 and 15:00 CET.
A number of special guests will be making their way to greet the present crowd noting that fan favourites, Gorġ & Pawlu known for their hit track Hot & Famous will be present as well as former Eurovision Song Contest representative; Kurt Calleja whose song This Is The Night took Malta back into the final for the very first time in two years. Gianluca, being a doctor as mentioned above will be assisting the nurses and doctors present yet nevertheless, will surely bring a smile to those present during the day especially with his charisma clearly always viable for those to see.
In a Press Release issued by the Public Broadcasting Services in collaboration with the National Blood Transfusion Service, it is stated that 'anyone interested in donating blood is advised to eat lightly and drink water before visiting the blood transfusion centre. Alcohol and food that contains high fat content, such as junk food should be avoided before the blood donation as this may impact the results of the blood tests. Blood donors will be required to present their ID Card before the blood transfusion takes place.'
In the meantime, Tomorrow, co-written by Boris Cezek and Dean Muscat will be representing the country in the sixth slot of the second semi-final. According to bookmakers, our entry is one of the top eight within the semi-final and should therefore qualify. Gianluca has listed the Icelandic entry Ég á líf performed by Eyþór Ingi Gunnlaugsson as his favourite entry. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news about the upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest as soon as it becomes available.
Source: Television Malta