22 September 2017

Local society has somewhat become infatuated with using the English language as a main source of dialogue which is definitely a positive for the upcoming generation as they head into a world which mainly uses the language. Nevertheless, Maltese is a national form of speech and writing and it is stunning that competitions like the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza and L-Għanja tal-Poplu still support music written in Maltese because original tracks are already hard to come by and this is the manner which could still support one of the core elements of a national identity. This years' edition of the Għanja tal-Poplu officially commenced yesterday and escflashmalta.com is in a position to exclusively  reveal that 38 entries have been submitted.

Philip Vella, Janvil, Corazon, Walter Micallef, Ina Robinich, Kaya, Eleanor Cassar and Glen Vella could all list themselves as winners of the renowned competition throughout the years with more recent participants being Grecia Bezzina and Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2012 semi-finalist; Janice Mangion. Last year, L-Għanja tal-Poplu received around 42 entries and therefore, one could denote that despite the drop, the amount of submissions is roughly around the same. Should the quality be somewhat similar, then the people are clearly in for a treat. The finalists are expected to be released within the next couple of days whilst the competition is set to take place on the 20th April 2013 at the Sir Temi Zammit Hall. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com and ghanjafest.com for all of the latest news. 

Source: YTC, Għanja tal-Poplu Committee, escflashmalta.com

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Published in Latest News - Local

Throughout the years, people have had a tendency to look at something from the outside but nevertheless, appearances could be deceiving and that is why, behind every track presented in the industry, there is a team of songwriters who came up with the concept and the lyrics along with a producer who made the final adjustments prior to the recording of the vocals. At the last stage, a vocalist comes in and the people get to listen to the song by virtue of that individual. It has become somewhat rare for a singer to be a songwriter as well and that is why, the team behind the scenes bear importance. In the 2013 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, there are thirty six different songwriters involved and they each have a contribution of at least one entry, with some having as much as three in the shortlist that will be performing in the semi-final stage of the competition. Promotion is key and whilst the Public Broadcasting Services has noted the songwriters, we are offering a short recollection of each. A set of critics have listened to the competing entries and their favourite will be getting an award on the show Sas-Sitta. The twenty-first entry from the competition to be presented is Ultraviolet performed by Jessika to the music of Philip Vella & Thomas G:son with lyrics by Gerard James Borg. 

Precious Time has to be the first original song that Jessika had presented in a major competition, noting that she had competed in the 2004 edition of the Malta Junior Eurosong competition. It would be the beginning of a career though, because in just a matter of three years, the artist grew up to have stunning looks and a strong voice, taking to the stage of the Malta International Television Song Festival with the song Nistennik composed by Philip Vella and penned by Doris Chetcuti which was then followed by an even more notable appearance at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest in 2008 with the track Tangled composed by Philip Vella and penned by Gerard James Borg. Later on that year, she entered another local competition known as the Malta Hit Song Competition with the song Sweet Temptation written by the same songwriters, finishing in second place. She would ultimately return with the track Smokescreen also written by the same duo in 2009 but did not finish in the top three positions this time.  Her experience in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest grew in 2011 and 2012 having made the cut with the songs entitled Down Down Down and Dance Romance, both composed by Philip Vella to self-penned lyrics by Jessika. Her most recent experience in the industry though has come with the track Golden Ways which has been play listed on 89.7 Bay in the past couple of days.

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Jessika is moving forward musically, both in her career and within this competition noting that she has escaped the typical pop/dance sound for a variant of pop, and one which is somewhat being enjoyed by the public. In the preview video shot by the Public Broadcasting Services, Jessika is seen enjoying herself whilst performing the track on her own in a short cream dress with stunning blue, yellow and red lighting surrounding her throughout. There is a thumping beat in the background which is very reminiscent of the type of music being released by Emeli Sande at the moment and this shows that there is significance in the line of though, and that is to succeed. The catchy bridge featuring a male vocal is somewhat outstanding and gives the track the fresh edge that it requires it to stand out. There is a lot of backing required in the vocals and one has to hope that competency will be the key to success. The songwriters behind this track are Philip Vella and Gerard James Borg with the addition of Thomas G:son. The first two have written a number of entries throughout the years together and have also represented Malta in the international showcase on five occasions, the last time coming in 2008 with Vodka performed by Morena. In the meantime though, G:son is a well recognised figure having written the Spanish and Swedish tracks in the last Eurovision Song Contest whilst working on another five, totalling his number to seven.

The Critics Speak Out 

Rating: 55%

Sharon Vaughn: I am very disappointed to say that this is nothing compelling about the song or the performance which Jessika gives, which is rather unfortunate.

Martin Isherwood: Good title although it's hard to hear the title words when sung. Good chorus. Nice unusual voice, strong vocal hooks. Good energetic production. Good track that has a good strong impact. It does bear a certain resemblance to ‘Next to Me’ by Emeli Sande though doesn’t it?' 

Stano Simor: Jessika could clearly interest the European audience. Interesting murmur in her voice is giving special feeling into the song. Gimmick at the end of the song is clearly that the Swedish composers know that it works. The author's and the composers´s intention to retain main melody is very important, on the other hand the song is loosing variability between Chorus and Verse. Sound very similar and the whole composition is cast into one block. May by it can change by music production updating.

Roberto Meloni: OK, I believe that she should start by re-inventing her look because I just cannot really understand what she would like to say with that hair, make-up and well everything to do with the image. The recorded backing vocals are not a help to the live performance. Sorry, not my taste at all!

Lina Eriksson: Nice with an artist who stands out a bit from the rest. Jessicas voice does a lot for the over-all impression of this song. Like in your average G:son song the chorus sticks in your head.

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com

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Published in Opinions
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 04:37

MESC 2013: Reviewing the track 'The Remedy'

Music is a universal language through which communication can take place between people of all nations and as a matter of fact, the original idea of the European Broadcasting Union was to unite the continent through the medium of song. The competition which began in Lugano, Switzerland back in 1956 was proudly built on the confines of the still existent Sanremo festival and both have thrived and undergone progress despite the latter somewhat keeping in line with more original traditions. The Malta Eurovision Song Contest on the other hand has also been evolving in the past couple of years and it has truly become a stunning showcase of local talent with performers from both leading circuits of the country. The Public Broadcasting Services is promoting all of the twenty-four entries through radio and television but escflashmalta.com are also conducting their own form of promotion with international critics having a listen to each of the tracks and letting the people know their opinion. The eventual winner as per a vote in Eurovision format will be given an award during Sas-Sitta on NET Television during the telecast taking place on the 9th February. The next entry to be reviewed is entitled The Remedy, composed by Magnus Kaxe and Philip Vella to the lyrics of Gerard James Borg with vocals provided by Klinsmann

Klinsmann is one of the veteran performers in the competition despite being relatively young in terms of age and this is due to the fact that he has managed to make the finals of every edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest since 2007 with the results varying and the genre developing and maturing. In the beginning, it was all about pop/rock with the tracks presented in the vein of McFly and Busted but suddenly, there was a change, a positive one indeed when he came out on stage with his best friend, Benjamin Darmanin and performed an acoustic type of song with complete basis on guitars and vocals. His best result still came during his inaugural performance with his entry She Gives Me Wings composed by Mark Spiteri Lucas and penned by Rita Pace finishing in third place but nevertheless, the song presented in 2010 entitled This Love composed by Klinsmann himself to the lyrics of Jonathan C Spiteri was the second best result in seventh place. In recent months, Klinsmann joined as the lead vocalist of the band, Planet Seed who have been nominated for Best Newcomers at the Bay Music Awards and the Malta Music Awards respectively. Their debut material has done incredibly well on radio and therefore, it goes to show that success comes in small ounces and at different stages of life.

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Entering the 2013 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, following a disappointing result achieved last year, Klinsmann needed to be different and fresh to the audience once more and it seems that this is somewhat the case according to the international audience who has been keeping an eye on the proceedings. The track that he is presenting entitled The Remedy is predominantly pop/rock but nevertheless, the thumping elements throughout give it that arena feel and with the right lighting and setting could definitely work in a large venue. Klinsmann on the other hand is going for a very relaxing look and this very much suits him. Three songwriters are contributing to this track including composers; Philip Vella and Magnus Kaxe who are working together for the very first time and have managed to qualify with two entries. It is worth noting that their pedigree is strong noting that Philip has produced and co-written some for some of the most notable names in the local industry including Ira Losco, Lawrence Gray, Annabelle Debono and Claudia Faniello whilst Magnus Kaxe has been involved in some stunning productions including those of Aqua, Westlife and Celine Dion. The lyrics are penned by Gerard James Borg, the most successful lyricist in Malta who has worked with songwriters from all over Europe and has hit tracks in Iceland, Norway, Sweden and The Netherlands.

The Critics Speak Out

Rating: 70%

Sharon Vaughn: Despite the fact that the vocals are strong, Klinsmann seems insincere performing this entry.

Martin Isherwood: Good chorus. Not sure about the title, a bit too literally medical. Good voice and performance. One of the better entries with good energy but without a real spark of originality.

Stano Simor: A true singer who knows how to sell a song. Klinsmann has power in this entry which also has a chorus that is extremely easy to remember. This style of music is popular currently in the Czech Republic by national singers.

Roberto Meloni: A charismatic performer and a very good song. I am quite intriguing to see how he will be performing this interesting composition live because it is not an easy track. Nevertheless, a definite contender for me.

Lina Eriksson: This song also immediately sticks in my head. And I must admit that I do like the arena oh-oh’s in the chorus. Like some of the others this song will probably do well on the radio. Good, positive lyrics. Remains to see what Malta think about this one, hard to say… 

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com

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Published in Opinions
Saturday, 19 January 2013 16:00

MESC 2013: Reviewing the track 'Overrated'

The European Broadcasting Union is promising a lot of changes in this years’ edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, some of which have already been detailed accordingly, including the running order which will be decided by the producers rather than by the typical draw which has always managed to garner interest amongst delegations and fans alike. Sweden is always the nation used as a hub to experiment with the event noting that the millennium competition held in Stockholm was not far too different in terms of bringing about innovations. Malta will be sending its twenty-sixth (26th) representative in Malmo and considering the improvements that have been pushed into the Malta Eurovision Song Contest in these past couple of years; a positive result should be expected. Last year, the country overcame the odds and in a tough semi-final managed to come out on top, qualifying in seventh place with This Is The Night performed by Kurt Calleja. All of the respective acts competing in this years’ selection are currently receiving promotion and escflashmalta.com is also aiding by publishing the thoughts of professional critics on each entry. Ultimately, the winner will get an award, as presented on the program Sas-Sitta set for the 9th February. Entry number thirteen (13) is entitled Overrated, composed by Philip Vella to the lyrics of Gerard James Borg with vocals provided by Marilena.

Studies have always taken precedent for Marilena but nevertheless, many will surely recall that she has grown into the scene through her experiences in the past, especially by virtue of representing the country in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest back in 2004 alongside the rest of the group known as The Young Talent Team whose entry Power of a Song did not set the scoreboard alight yet managed a mid-table position at the end of the evening. Nevertheless, the first major competition as a teenager surely came in 2007 when participating in the Ghanja Tal-Poplu competition, she achieved first place with the track B’Fommu Sieket composed by Mark Spiteri Lucas and penned by Paul Ellul. As a matter of fact, this was only the beginning noting that she had managed to gain entry into a number of competitions including the Malta Hit Song Contest in 2008 with One Goal composed by Elton Zarb and penned by Rita Pace, and in 2009 with Unforgettable composed by Philip Vella and penned by Gerard James Borg. The latter ended up being a successful track winning an esteemed competition in Egypt where thirty-seven countries had been competing. In 2011, she entered the finals of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest with the song He’s A Demon composed by Michael Henry and penned by Anthony Grech whilst she managed to reach the same stage during the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza with Dil-Qalb Kbira and Bl-Ikbar Serjeta composed by Philip Vella and penned by Joe Chircop, of which the latter reached second place.

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Coming into the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, the timing might not be right considering that exams at the University have just commenced today but nevertheless, she is poised to bring her best cards to the table and with her entry Overrated, many consider her slightly lucky. Marilena entered the competition as the twenty-fourth entry following the withdrawal of Dress Rehearsal performed by Saska Hunt which was also a composition of Philip Vella and Gerard James Borg. The genre of this track is predominantly pop featuring a bit of dance but nevertheless, the sound is very reminiscent to the material being released by Jessie J which is definitely an added positive. Comparing the two entries she has presented in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, this has to be significantly better and would literally beat the other one out of the water. Song-writing credit in this entry is given to Philip Vella and Gerard James Borg who have together worked on five Eurovision entries for the country including the ones presented in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2007 and 2008 respectively. This is the only entry which they are presenting as a duo noting that despite having a couple of songs, there are other songwriters involved.

The Critics Speak Out

Rating: 50%

Sharon Vaughn: I do not think this song makes any sense to be truthful, and I just cannot feel what the lyrics are trying to convey.

Martin Isherwood: Well put together pop song with catchy oohs and aahhs – chorus could be stronger hook-wise although the verse is good. Got a Eurythmics feels to it. Dangerous title for a song.

Stano Simor: Marilena act on stage very sympathetic  Colour of her voice is nice, but does not fit into the song she sings. Chorus has that "hand ups" feeling, but is just not strong enough. Uuuh Aaaah is too much cliche. Anyways keeping fingers to get final top 10.

Roberto Meloni: Well, the title is perfect for this song, .Sorry Marilena, you have a really good image but this song is not that good.

Lina Eriksson: This track feels a bit dated and I'm missing a great hook to keep me interested. Though, I've only heard a minute of this song, maybe it gets going later on? A very positive artist with a cute voice...therefore I get a little bit confused listening to the lyrics.

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com

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Published in Opinions

The tickets are selling fast and that could only mean that the 2013 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest is not too far away and indeed, as in less than a month, a winner will be known and the preparations for the final product would have also begun. The Public Broadcasting Services have carefully planned a promotional strategy for each respective entry through Television Malta, Radju Malta and Magic Malta whilst our web portal escflashmalta.com initiated this feature yesterday with high profile critics introduced late last year having a say of each respective entry, with their compiled score ultimately listed as a percentage out of the total maximum points which could have been awarded, fifty but nevertheless, the result will be based on their top ten preferences, with a Eurovision styled voting pattern to decide the winning track which will be revealed during Sas-Sitta on the 9th February. The second act, is Richard Edwards who will be performing the song Fall Like Rome composed by Philip Vella and Magnus Kaxe with lyrics by Gerard James Borg. This will be the opening entry in the semi-final of the 2013 Malta Eurovision Song Contest.

Since 2010, Richard Edwards has picked up a number of accolades to his name and gained fame across the country for his performances at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest along with a couple of singles which have been released on the local airwaves. As a matter of fact, his entry Finally is still thought to be one of the most beautiful songs presented in the competition and to this day, many international critics still question the choice of the public over the one of the jury noting that he would have achieved a higher placing but nevertheless, it was just not meant to be. Ultimately though, Richard returned last year with another track entitled Look at Me Now and once more finished in third place with the public vote, yet failing to wrack up the support of the judges succumbing to a respectable sixth place finish. His single releases, have included You're Gonna Thank Me and My Mistake and it is still expected that an album will be following within the next couple of months considering that his material is becoming increasingly numerous. It is important to note that he also auditioned for the X Factor competition a couple of years back and unlucky for him, had to follow a tough act such as Leona Lewis but with his tracks played on 89.7 Bay and XFM, success is seemingly within reach.

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This time round, instead of presenting a solo entry on his own alongside the composition of renowned composer, Jan Van Dijck, he has teamed up with a set of new songwriters who might be familiar to the local public. Fall Like Rome, is a very intriguing type of entry because it features a mixture of genres but has a predominant country tinge surrounding pop and rock at the very same time. There is a certain uplifting element in the way that the backing vocals come together with the sound of the violins and that is what makes the whole track come together. Philip Vella and Gerard James Borg have worked together on numerous entries in the past with their most recent success coming last year with Pure performed by Claudia Faniello which finished in second place but they have been to the Eurovision Song Contest on five occasions, all in the past decade. Yet, joining their musical expertise in the composition is none other than the Swede, Magnus Kaxe whose first experience in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest came last year with Dorothy Bezzina and her entry Autobiography. This is not a man to be taken lightly in the industry having proudly worked with the international superstar; Celine Dion and recently disbanded Irish group; Westlife.

The Critics Speak Out

 Rating: 70%

Sharon Vaughn: Impressive singer, nevertheless, the mass mixing of metaphors, so the message ends up getting lost leaving the singer performing without having anything to believe in.

Martin Isherwood: Good title and strong chorus. Clever lyric but not sure that the simile stands up. Strong engaging introduction bit the verse doesn't live up to the promise. Great track with good ideas. 

Stano Simor: One of the best songs of this year's Eurovision Song Contest in Malta. Catchy vocal line, arrangement, production. Composers and authors have done a good job. Richard is a good singer, but the colour of his voice doesn't fit with such a song in my opinion. Overall, with some aided visuals, this will get a strong result.

Roberto Meloni: I needed to put on the refrain for three times to get over the shock of the lyrics. Richard, Rome will NEVER fall! Sorry, but I can’t get the metaphor. Good melody though, and remarkable falsetto skills.

Lina Eriksson: Just when I’m about to give up my hope for Malta based on this running order, Richard Edwards appears and totally sweeps me off my feet. I love this! I've said it in other years and I’ll say it again; Richard has got it all. He’s got the voice, the looks, the charisma and this year his best song entry ever. Melody, lyrics, production… For me, this is the winner…perhaps of the whole Eurovision Song Contest. I simply fall like Rome.

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com

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Published in Opinions
Thursday, 03 January 2013 15:00

MESC 2013: 'Overrated' Preview Video Published

The 2013 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest will be taking place in the opening weekend of February and it seems that preparations are currently ongoing at full swing noting that the twenty-four preview videos of the tracks will be participating have now been published on the official website of the Public Broadcasting Services for the public to enjoy. The last edition to the preview videos has been the replacement entry Overrated performed by Marilena, composed by Philip Vella and penned by Gerard James Borg, keeping the songwriting duo with the same amount of entries that they originally had noting that they had also been behind Dress Rehearsal by Saska Hunt. You can watch the full preview video here.

The festive break surely reflected why the video took longer than expected to be uploaded whilst the Public Broadcasting Services have to be commended on how they approached the situation of withdrawal by virtue of inviting the first alternate to compete in the semi-final alongside another twenty-three entries on the 1st February at the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre. Marilena was overjoyed at the opportunity and it seems that the people have quickly grown fond of her entry placing her in fourth place on the escflashmalta.com poll, in which each person is entitled to one vote per IP Address. The preview video is slightly different to the other ones due to the fact that it took place exactly after one of the live shows of the popular television programme Xarabank but it is still a positive promotional use and will put her on sync with all of the other competing entries. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news about the 2013 Malta Eurovision Song Contest in due course.

Source: Public Broadcasting Services

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Wednesday, 26 December 2012 07:50

MESC 2013: 'Never Walk Away' Most Viewed Thus Far

2012 is becoming another relic in just a couple of days time noting that Christmas has officially come to an end and people are paving the way for the new year which will surely be intriguing especially for those who might have thought that the world was really coming to an end. The Public Broadcasting Services wasn't an entity which had such a belief and thus started to organise the 2013 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest noting that the list of twenty-four semi-finalists was concluded just a couple of days back following the withdrawal of Dress Rehearsal by Saska Hunt which was eventually replaced by Marilena Gauci with the song Overrated. Whilst the official videos are being widely promoted on the engine used by the Public Broadcasting Services within their website, they have also been uploaded on viral website, YouTube and thus, one could take up the idea of views per track and it seems that the top five is quite intriguing with the leader of the pack running away with it at the present moment.

The track Never Walk Away co-written between Peter Borg, Matthew James Borg, David Cassar Torreggiani and Chris Grech has wracked up the most views at the moment noting that the band influenced entry performed by Chris Grech is being singled out for the very reason why the artist has become known, his raspy vocals which soar towards the end of the track making it sound like that typical song from the radio. It has not been a case of the locals falling in love with it wholeheartedly noting that there is a lot of foreign support for the track which sounds like a promising single from a budding new artist, stating what people have come to denote it. At this present moment, it has managed to garner around 10,000 views and has been shared many times of social media including Facebook and Twitter. Chris Grech himself is not a well known artist to be receiving multiple views based on his name so this is pretty much an intriguing start.

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In second place comes none other than Kevin Borg with his entry Needing You a co-write between Thomas Thornholm, Simon Gribbe, Dan Attlerud and Michael Clauss. This has to be the most obvious option because despite the national interest at hand, the following that Kevin has in Sweden is relatively huge and therefore, the hits are picking up slowly and have at this point in time gone up to more than 6,000. This could be dubbed to be a mixture between the Maltese and Scandinavian ballad because it has a slow build up worked mainly around the vocals of the performer which also have a slight rasp to them in the vein of an Italian performer or even one of his good friends, Fabrizio Faniello. The fact that the Eurovision Song Contest is set to be held in Sweden seems to be the asset that many people are counting on and having a host country working in your favourite is definitely a positive idea.

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A newcomer always somewhat finds it difficult to kick start their preparations for the Malta Eurovision Song Contest in the best order but it seems that glitz and glamour are calling onto a new performer, one whose name is Melanie Zammit and who will be performing Loverdose composed by Niclas and Maria Lundin and penned by Gerard James Borg, whose international collaborations are becoming somewhat more common in recent years. Melanie Zammit is a relative unknown in the Maltese music scene having only released one single prior to this competition through 89.7 Bay Radio and also major television stations. She has charisma and fashion sense and that seems to have got the crowd going but nevertheless, it is important to say that her pop/dance number is putting people in third gear and dancing along even in places where they shouldn't. The live performance is going to be quite the showcase, or rather, that is my feeling.

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Whenever a certain songwriters comes into the fray, it seems that it could be pure instant gold and as a matter of fact, Thomas G:Son who also co-wrote the winning entry of this years' Eurovision Song Contest has worked with the renowned local songwriting duo of Philip Vella and Gerard James Borg to create Ultraviolet performed by Jessika who is currently in a process of re-branding herself. The singer/songwriter who is also starring in a television series known as Il-Klikka on ONE Television has been receiving a lot of positive comments with regards to her track whose opening notes have been similarly linked to Emeli Sande's popular song Next to Me but nevertheless, the focus here is definitely on the catchy tune which one easily hums along and performed at the slightest listen. Jessika has become a true artist and with the right staging, this could very much be one of the favourites on the night. It has received almost 4,000 views at the moment making it the fourth most watched entry.

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The final track that we are featuring due to being in the top five of the most viewed thus far is none other than Tomorrow performed by Gianluca Bezzina and co-written between Boris Cezek and Dean Muscat. The songwriters are not your typical festival duo and as a matter of fact, it shows that the competition is becoming more of a merge between the festival and the radio scene making it one of the most successful transitions in the industry. This Jason Mraz, Train inspired entry is hitting the right notes with many people due to the fact that it puts you in a cheery disposition and instantly get you hooked. Humming is one of the most important elements to get to know a particular track and this is one of those songs which you hum along daily without even realizing. It has received around 3,500 views at the moment and seems to be most vulnerable at the helm but nevertheless, a charming pop/acoustic number. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news about the 2013 Malta Eurovision Song Contest.

Source: YouTube

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Published in Latest News - Local

Commotion doesn't being to describe the discussions that have been ongoing within the music industry for the past couple of days noting that the withdrawal of Saska Hunt with the track Dress Rehearsal composed by Philip Vella and penned by Gerard James Borg has raised eyebrows although rumours have said that due to exams in the United Kingdom where Saska resides, she was unable to continue her journey within the competition and therefore, the first placed individual not to make the cut, being Marilena Gauci with the song Overrated has eventually been revealed as the twenty-fourth semi-finalists in a Xarabank programme which was celebrating the festive season.

It very much seems that the artist had not even known about this decision with the host, Peppi Azzopardi saying that this was planned a week in advance but due to the show cancellation, the announcement was delayed even further. Several people unfortunately missed their chance to watch the preview of the song Overrated which is intriguingly being said to resemble the popular track Domino by Jessie J. There might be some slight similarities but one has to remember that there are only so many notes on the piano and therefore, resemblance is not really an issue. We could only denote that the track is an uptempo one, adding to the several already in the competition and somewhat seemingly written for the vocals of Marilena noting that she seems to perform it well. The live performance will definitely be a different story but the editorial team of escflashmalta.com would like to congratulate her on making it through and would also like to extend their wishes for an extremely festive season for the days which lie ahead. Stay tuned for more news as soon as it becomes available.

Source: YouTube

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Published in Latest News - Local
Friday, 02 November 2012 09:04

Malta: Ira Losco headlines Innovative Soiree

When George Cremona, my secondary Maltese teacher and nowadays, a great friend of mine, told me about this innovative idea … I was already thinking about writing this article about this great event which I’m sure, will delight both the young audience, but also, the older generation. Cremona, casually encountered Trevor Zahra’s book “Il-Ktieb tal-Fenek l-Ahmar” (The Red Rabbit’s Book), which was written in 1986. Trevor Zahra is one of the most popular Maltese writers, who adapts his stories to the young generation, but also writes books and novels for the older ones. The book’s main character, the Red Rabbit, became a very close friend of Cremona, and thus, they built such a strong bond, that they started to work on this project together, back in November 2011.

Thus, Cremona manages to merge two main roles of his everyday life. First and foremost, that of a dedicated teacher and educator, always on the lookout for the latest and most innovative teaching methods to reach out to his students, and secondly, his other role, that of an experienced broadcaster, who in the past eleven years, produced and presented programmes as a tribute to Maltese songs. The synergy of these two different roles in continuous collaboration with well-known author Trevor Zahra led to the development of this thoroughly researched, carefully studied unique production for the Maltese islands. Consequently (and mainly, so that the rabbit himself, who might be reading this write-up will enjoy it because it makes him feel so famous) one can honestly say that the friendship between Zahra and Cremona, whose roots date back to many years ago, was further strengthened as a result of this chance encounter with the rabbit. Cremona was all the time being assisted by Marisa Aquilina and Tanya Caruana, with whom the rabbit.

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The soiree will network theatrical, creative art, under the able direction of veteran actress, Josette Ciappara and Maltese hits thereby giving the audience a taste of musical history to be enjoyed by all and sundry. The main roles will be played by Renato Dimech (the rabbit) and his companions Thea Farrugia and Craig Roy Vella, two children who love the rabbit, but at the same time like to tease him and make his life ‘harder’, because let’s face it, the rabbit has some decidedly strange ideas about us humans!!! t collaborated even more fervently! What makes this soiree totally different to all the many other intelligently and enthusiastically produced musicals in Malta and Gozo, is the fact, that this time, the singer themselves will sing those hits which have endeared the ears and touched the hearts of generations of Maltese of all ages. Besides doing what they can do best, these singers will be the main guests of the rabbit, and we leave it to your imagination to think what is actually in store for all of them. Whilst all this will be happening on stage, the audience will not remain passively silent but will be playing an active role all through the evening. It will sing along, participate actively and above all… we are afraid we have to stop there, because the rabbit explicitly warned us not to reveal any more! 

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The participating singers include some of our most popular ones the likes of Augusto Cardinali, David Azzopardi, Debbie Scerri, Eleanor Cassar, Enzo Gusman, Fr. Karm Debattista, Freddie Portelli, Ira Losco, Janvil, Jade Vella, Mary Rose Mallia, Mike Spiteri, Nadine Axisa, Philip Vella, The Greenfields u Vince Fabri. They will surely guarantee a most enjoyable evening adorned with the greatest Maltese past and present hits. Apart from these, there will also be a group of able dancers under the direction of Jade Schembri and two children’s choirs, one belonging to Sant Iermu School in Valletta and the other being none other than the ‘Mirabitur’ choir under the masterly direction of Simone Attard. The latter won the gold medal at the International Choir Festival held in 2011.

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This activity will mainly serve to better promote the wealth of good which “Dar tal-Providenza” is doing for Maltese society at large and will be presided by the Director of the same home, Fr. Martin Micallef. All participating artists voluntarily offered their time and different talents free of charge in aid of this home and its residents. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the death of the home’s founder, Mons. Mikiel Azzopardi (1910- 1987). For this reason, during this activity a special tribute will be devoted to this noble and generous personality, whose dedicated and untiring work has resulted in such a wealth of good for Maltese society at large, especially in aid of the handicapped. This tribute will be in the form of an original song entitled ‘Wisq iktar mill-kliem’(more than words can say), lyrics by George Cremona, music by Philip Vella. 

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A second aim of the activity is to create a better awareness in the general public of traditional texts written in Maltese like the above-mentioned book written by Trevor Zahra (Il-ktieb tal-fenek l-ahmar). The people in the audience will be introduced to the book in various ways in a way that they can better understand what the author had in mind when he put pen to paper and gave birth to it and to its intriguing protagonist. A third but surely not less important aim is to help the audience to better appreciate Maltese music as written by competent Maltese composers and sung by Maltese able singers. Unfortunately, Maltese songs have long had a poor reputation. The soirée will show very clearly that this is based mainly on prejudice. The audience’s constant and active participation during the whole event will dispel all this and prove that the Maltese heart of whatever age can thoroughly enjoy an evening of lively Maltese music and will be ready to participate actively by singing along to its heart content. It will be truly an evening to remember! 

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The event will be held on Sunday, 4th November at Catholic Institute, Floriana. Tickets may be bought directly from the institute, or otherwise through www.istitutkattoliku.com at a donation of 10 Euros (Hall) or 8 Euros (Gallery). All proceedings in aid of Id-Dar tal-Providenza. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for more news items with regards to a number of local events in aid for Charity.

Source: Press Release, Brian Grech (Image)

Published in Latest News - Local

One of the most promising up and coming talents in the local music industry is surely Danica Muscat who has been around for just a very short time, mostly appearing at the Junior Eurosong competition prior to leaving Malta for Italy to appear on the hit reality television series, Io Canto which is hosted by Gerry Scotti on Canale 5. She had the opportunity to perform with some of the most amazing artists there including the likes of Pierdavide Carone amongst others but then again, she has returned to Malta with more intelligence about the music scene than many others who have been around for longer. Throughout this interview, we have spoken about a number of things including possible participation in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2013. Have a look at what she had to tell escflashmalta.com

Throughout the past couple of years, Danica Muscat has evolved as an artist not only in vocal capabilities but also in character and that is very important in order to succeed in this business. Going back a couple of years, one would remember your respective successes achieved in Romania as well as in Italy within a number of music competitions where you competed against individuals from all over the world including countries where the music scenes normally thrive. Do you believe that such experiences have helped you more in terms of becoming the musical artist that you are today and what advice would you give to aspiring performers who are hoping to follow in your footsteps?

I believe that such experiences do help ,Malta is a small country and obviously since our music industry is still in it infancy ,Malta  compared to bigger countries who harvest their talent early, local  talent is not usually appreciated early locally , as it stands   it is hard for new artists to be noticed and come forward since opportunities at a high level are few and limited. Also by competing and working abroad on a professional level helps especially in self-discipline .I must also stress that the level of training and especially the level of the vocal coaches is really important, and should not be regarded lightly when choosing.

Many people will first recall listening to your stunning vocal in the 2007 edition of the Junior Eurosong competition where you were competing with the song Stolen which was about the disappearance of the young Madeleine McCann. Unfortunately, you did not manage to come out on top on that occasion and thus missed out on representing Malta in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest with the ticket being given to the group Cute who performed their respective track Music. Nevertheless, it was the first major stepping stone for Danica Muscat. What can you recall of that experience and would you have done anything differently when looking back?
 
Although I had already competed successfully abroad, in Romania and Italy and in Junior Eurosong the year before with “Play your violin”,  Stolen was the song that launched me in the Maltese  public eye ,I remember that I did not have high hopes of winning since the night of the final the international news was buzzing with the arrest of Madeleine McCann’s parents so when I was called in second place I must admit I was surprised, still I would change nothing looking back and greatly treasure the experience.
 
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Reality television has become a pivotal role in life noting several programme such as The Voice, X Factor and Idol gaining recognition all around the world but for budding young artists, there is one show which has gained a lot of fame and credibility and that is surely Io Canto hosted by the renowned Gerry Scotti and broadcasted through Canale 5.  You were lucky enough to be selected to take part in the second series of the programme held in 2010 ultimately taking to the stage to perform duets with the likes of Ron, Pierdavide Cardone and Ornella Vanoni. How did the opportunity to be in the programme actually come about and what was it like to perform with some of the biggest names in the Italian music industry? 

Everything started when I was told by Italian music coach MS Rita Signorino that a talent scout was coming to Malta to audition me and others for the possibility of going to audition to Rome for a program. I did the audition and was chosen along with another 6 singers from Malta to go for the auditions ,when I got the call I refused to go because I had a French Ordinary level exam on the day, still my teacher persuaded me to go and I went to Rome for the auditions, this is were experience comes out because these are not your run of the mill auditions with professional singers ,coaches and people from the music industry doing the fist screening, it s very  hard to pass these screenings and  get to the first real audition in front of the producers.
 
Any way I managed to impress and ended up doing 13 shows opening the show each time  and singing with some of the best international talent around I got to meet people like Albano, James Blunt (who was really impressed I spoke English!!!!!!),Ron, Ornella Vanoni, Rafaella Carra, Piere Davide Carone, Emma, The Priests  and others, the atmosphere is very different and professional ,very disciplined and I feel this helped a lot towards making  me in to the singer I am today. Well what can i say singing duets with established artists can be very daunting especially due to the fact we had to learn the songs in a couple of days usually since we never knew who the guest artist would be the following week.
 
One of the local competitions which has helped give you exposure in the past couple of years has surely been the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza having made the finals of the event for two consecutive years; in 2011 with the track Kliem Li M’Ghidtlek Qatt composed by Mark Debono and penned by Christopher Azzopardi and in 2012 with the track Indipendenti composed by Philip Vella and penned by Cher Vella. Taking on such a daunting prospect of performing in front of a large audience is surely intriguing but when performing in an open air venue, the feeling is definitely different. How has this experience helped you develop as an artist and would you recommend it for other performers?

Apart from the Malta Eurovision, the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza is the only other alternative to performing on a big level locally, it is also a very unique experience since the venue is one of the largest in Malta and the fact that it is open air adds to the magic of almost being to a big concert as we usually see on Television, I would definitely advice any artist to try his luck and participate. As I said earlier, the Malta Eurovision is the ultimate experience locally, with young kids dreaming of being there from a young age. I was lucky enough to get there at a young age, also lucky that I had other big experiences from abroad and Malta which helped me a lot .The other artists were supportive and fun to be with, all in all an amazing feeling ,amazing stage but most importantly an amazing public.
 
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Earlier this year, you reached the live stages of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest with the track 7 Days written by the well known Philip Vella. You were just seventeen when this happened and therefore, many people have the habit of comparing up and coming artists in the competition such as yourself to the likes of Miriam Christine and Thea Garrett who both ended up winning at an extremely young age. How did it feel to make it through to the semi-final and then eventually the final and are you gearing up with the hope of a second participation in 2013?
 
I feel that age should not be the way to measure an artist’s performance, talent is always there it’s for the vocal coaches and people around the artist to find as early as possible and through guidance and coaching hone the artist into what he ultimately becomes.As for my Malta Eurovision Song Contest final ,I am sure I came as a surprise to some but it was something I really worked for last year, since the year before due to contractual restrictions with Mediaset/Sony I could not focus properly on a participation in that particular Malta Eurovision Song Contest, I’m definitely looking forward to submitting other songs this year. As I said earlier, the Malta Eurovision Song Contest is the ultimate experience locally, with young kids dreaming of being there from a young age. I was lucky enough to get there at a young age, also lucky that I had other big experiences from abroad and Malta which helped me a lot .The other artists were supportive and fun to be with, all in all an amazing feeling ,amazing stage but most importantly an amazing public.
 
Whenever you appear on a stage you exude an aura of confidence which is not seen as much as one would imagine in Malta even though the level of talent is extremely high according to a number of foreign music critics and songwriters who have a habit for scouting brand new artists for their music. Many people have come to expect you to perform a ballad whenever you walk out on a stage and indeed, it has been proven that it is your best genre per se but then again, would you be open to performing something more up-tempo every now and then and also possibly in a competition such as the Malta Eurovision Song Contest?
 
This is were our limitations come in usually in Malta we artists are not versatile enough and  tend to stick to a genre and are uncomfortable to change from that genre, I have in many occasions performed up-tempo songs but even when I was in Italy the producers would only make me sing ballads ,  which like you said is were  I excel ,still I would definitely sing up-tempo songs and right now  I am working on an up-tempo tune for possible submission to the Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2013.
 
Would you like to say anything to your fans and our readers at escflashmalta.com?

Its been an amazing year thanks to my fans, who I am sure are also regular visitors to your site, I invite them to continue their support to all Maltese artists and your wonderful site.
 
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Published in Interviews
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