Emil Calleja Bayliss
The 2013 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest will official start to take shape this evening as the excitement in the months preceding the continental showcase marks a series of regional competitions which will see a number of nations select their entry which will they ultimately be represented by in Malmö, Sweden. For the first time in years, the first country to select their entry will not be Switzerland but will actually be Belarus and ten artists will be competing for the prestigious prize. Belarus have not been so lucky in this event noting that they have only managed to qualify to the final on two occasions; the first time being in 2007 thanks to Dmitry Koldun, finishing in sixth place with Work Your Magic and the second time in 2010 with the track Butterflies performed by 3+2 which finished in a resounding twenty-fourth place. They will be hoping to improve on their results with their choice.
BTRC have been carefully paying attention to their selection procedure in order to avoid controversy, something that has become rather synonymous with the nation. Olga Ryzhikova and Denis Dudinsky have been internally selected as the hosts for the evening and there are a number of guests which will surely make the spectacle enjoyable. As a matter of fact, former representatives; Aleksander & Konstantin as well as Dmitry Koldun along with multiple finalist; Gunesh will be taking to the stage whilst the votes are being counted. Having heard some of the tracks prior to the final, it has to be said that the mixture is quite intriguing and that there are a couple of diamonds in the rough. The result will be decided through a 50% Jury and a 50% Public Vote with the jury having precedence in the event of a tie. The final is being transmitted live as from 20:00 CET through either the broadcasters' official website or through the official website of the Eurovision Song Contest. It is expected to run for around an hour and a half to two hours maximum.
Two hosts seem to be accompanying us throughout the evening - the female host is an evening blue dress whilst the male host is a traditional suit. They seem to be explaining the procedure for the night where they explained how the result will be decided to tonight. Before every song there is a postcard with a Belarussian celebrity introducing the song along with the singer.
01. Vitaly Voronko – I wonder how you
Lame dance moves and loads of colours. It seems like we either went to a bad Junior Eurovision act or else back to the Seventies. I can't understand a word he is singing about. His diction is non-existent and the song goes nowhere. It's cheesy as cheesy can get and the rhythm is a bit catchy but that is as far as it goes. If they are in their right state of mind this song stands no chance at all tonight.
02. Max Lorens – I love your charming eyes
A traditional Belarussian ballad is up next and after what we have witnessed before this sounds pleasant. The four backing singers accompanying the lead singer are in perfect harmony. The song goes nowhere though and surely is not strong enough to leave any impact at the Eurovision Song Contest. Two weak entries so far from the country. I hope that that the best is yet to come.
03. Alyona Lanskaya – Rhythm of love
Four half naked dancers accompany the singer and their routine is perfect, so perfect they all look like robots. The song itself is quite modern though and surely the strongest thus far. The pop dance number is well presented in general. The singer gives a good performance although she was a bit breathless in some parts of the song even though she didn't do a lot of strenuous dance moves.
04. Yankey – Letter to mother
Did he write just one letter to his mother or a whole he filled a whole notepad because with the amount of paper flying around on stage you'd think he has written down his life in one letter. The dramatic Belarussian ballad goes nowhere. The visuals are over dramatic, the voice is good but his diction is horrendous and the fact that there seem to have been a hurricane on stage does not work. Reminded me of Lost & Forgotten from Russia but this is much worse.
05. Beaver Band – Incredible girl
A Robin Williams look-alike leads this crazy band and when I tell you they are crazy, believe me they are. Lame dance moves and crazy antics by all the three leading man of this band and their three mad backing vocalists. He is singing something about 'NEVER'. Well, I have a few suggestions for him. He should never try to sing again, never appear in public and never try for Eurovision unless he wants to make his country look like fools.
06. Daria – Catch me again
Finally a song that is different and this time round, it is good different. This is how they need to do it. The Cabaret style entry has some original dance moves from the five backing singers and the main singer does a brilliant job in charming her way through this lovely song. It seems it is a song from a musical but a musical you would enjoy watching not one of the horrors we have witnessed before. I guess this is one to watch out for tonight. It's a risk to send to Eurovision but I guess it would be worth it as it is something that we have not seen at the Eurovision Song Contest stage.
07. Uzari – Secret
Four backing dancers and a strong female backing singer with a singer dressed like a Tekken character. The choreography is tight and the visuals are impressive. It is an entry you cannot really forget. I can't understand the whole act though but it seems intriguing and in a strange way I like it but I really do not know why. Oh well.... I just hope I am not losing my sanity watching this final.
08. Alexey Gross – One way love
A run of the mill ballad is next sung by a young singer who might pull some votes from the young girls at home. He gives an okay performance but the backing singers could have been miles stronger. The song is catchy and it makes a good festival song but I don't believe it is strong enough and different to stand out in Malmo unfortunately. Still with some tweaks, it does have potential. The presentation was pleasant and worked well with the song.
09. Nuteki Band – Save me
Man in black are trying their luck with a boring rock song that seem to feature a giant robot or alien on stage which lifts one of the singers up in the air. It seems that even my screen is in shock as for a second it blacked out. The rap part which was rather mismatched in the song was the only interesting part in it. The end of the world is rumored to be near but if a lot of people will hear this I am sure it is going to be even closer.
10. Satsura – Get out of my way
He seem to think that by taking his top off he is going to get more votes, oh well maybe it works. His dance entry is decent and the visuals used give it an interesting touch. The backing vocals give the song an amazing feel and I would not be surprised that they saved the best for last tonight. Still not particular enough to stand out at Eurovision but I guess it will be one of four songs that can win tonight's show and with a revamp it can fair well.
The public are shown the recap to vote for their favourite entries - for the country's sake we hope that they don't lose their sanity and vote for one of the decent entries in the competition. Some of them are to weird to be taken seriously and would surely be considered amongst the joke acts of this year.
The public votes goes as follows:
12 Points - Song 3
10 Points - Song 9
08 Points - Song 10
07 Points - Song 8
06 Points - Song 2
05 Points - Song 1
04 Points - Song 7
03 Points - Song 5
02 Points - Song 4
01 Point - Song 6
The 2004 Belarussian representatives start off the interval act with their Eurovision entry 'My Galileo' and they sing another song from their repertoire. Gunesh is up next and she starts off with the song she came 3rd with in this year's competition. Dmitry Koldun is up next and he performs his Eurovision entry and another song from his repertoire. After a number of messages from different celebrities in the country, the singers are all on stage for the final result.
The winner is Alyona Lanskaya with Rhythm of love. Second time she is declared as the winner of this competition but last year she was amidst a voting scandal and was disqualied. The song in second place then went on to represent the country at the Eurovision Song Contest. In tonight's show the song in second place was Save Me by Nuteki Band and the song in third place is Satsura's Get Out of My Way.
As the preparations for this years’ Malta Eurovision Song Contest are underway with the composers, authors and singers finalizing their entries, the common public have already started discussing who they think is the clear favourite to succeed Kurt Calleja in Malmo, Sweden. Big names from the local radio industry have been mentioned throughout but attracting them to the local competition is always challenging but if any of them submit and make it through to the finals they will surely stand a good chance to do well and possibly win.
Albeit this, though it seems that the front runner for this years’ contest is none other than last year’s second runner up Amber. Amber made a name for herself after managing to come second in the local talent show ‘ID’ and from then on she never looked back. She participate in the Malta Hit Song Contest and the year after went on to win the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza with Trid Tapprezza. The same year she made it through the semi-finals of the contest with two songs Touch Wood and Catch 22, with the latter making it through to the final stages of the competition.
Last year, it was Amber’s second time in the contest and she captured the judges’ attention achieving a third place thanks to her power rendition of Answer with Your Eyes. From this experience onwards, Amber was presented with a number of opportunities. She was approached by PBS to accompany Kurt Calleja in Baku as his main backing vocalist. This experience gave her a taste of the Eurovision world and having carried a vital role last year, some people thing that this could be her year; all this assuming that Amber is submitting an entry to this year’s competition but if she does she will surely be the main front runner.
The other favourite will surely be Claudia Faniello who was last year’s first runner-up with her magical song Pure. A lot of people think that Claudia Faniello’s year was last year but if she decides to return to the competition for the eighth time expect her to return with a something strong and original. It will take something special to surpass Pure but Claudia showed what she is capable of achieving last year and few would be surprised if she manages to come back with something even stronger. So, if she returns no one should count her out, especially considering the strong results she’s had in recent years.
The return of former entrants is always possible. Fabrizio Faniello has been trying for a number of times and he has always done well. He is just one of two singers who represented Malta on more than one occasion and if he succeeds, he will emulate Chiara's feat. Other entrants who tried again after their win include; Paul Giordimaina Georgina, Mary Spiteri, William Mangion, Moira&Chris, Mike Spiteri, Miriam Christine, Debbie Scerri and Ludwig Galea. The return of some of these is remote but others have kept in touch with festivals and haven't ruled out a return. These mainly include Olivia Lewis, Miriam Christine and Ludwig Galea; if any of these return, they will surely pose a significant threat.
Having mentioned the two main front runners one cannot forget other talented individuals who have been participating in the contest for a number of years. The finalists in recent years have all presented strong entries and none should be underestimated in such a competition. After all this is a song contest which should reward the best song at the end of the night and not a popularity contest. Two years ago, an unknown Thea Garrett won the hearts of the local public and the judges’ votes with her power ballad My Dream. So who knows, it might be someone new who can repeat the same feat, although it is not an easy one, surely it isn't impossible.
Well, there are a lot of questions that are left to be answered, most of these questions will be answered in the upcoming days when the submissions come to a close at the end of this month but until then we have to play the waiting game. We cannot really comment either before we hear the final versions of the songs that will be submitted this year but we would like you to share your views with us on which singer, singers or bands you think should be the ones succeeding Kurt Calleja. In the meantime, keep following escflashmalta.com for all the latest updates about the local music scene.
Malta has finally kicked off the campaign to find Kurt Calleja’s successor in Sweden. Kurt Calleja managed to get Malta back in the finals after a three year gap and also managed to achieve the best ever result for the country since Chiara's second participation in 2005 with her self-penned entry Angel, finishing 21st on the scoreboard on the night following a relatively mediocre performance from the lead vocalist. By virtue of doing this Malta has officially confirmed its participation in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest that will be taking place in Malmo which last hosted the same event back in 1992 hosting Mary Spiteri and her entry Little Child which had finished in third place behind Linda Martin for Ireland and Michael Ball for the United Kingdom.
The songs have to reach Public Broadcasting Services by the 30th and the 31st of October; once again foreign composers and authors are eligible to take part in the selection but the main performers have to hold a Maltese citizenship. The songs submitted will be heard on a CD in front of a panel of judges where they will shortlist 24 songs that will make it to the first final stage of the festival, 16 of which will then compete in the grand finale. The final 24 songs shall be announced on the 30th of November 2012 through the official website of the Public Broadcasting Services which could be found here. The 16 entries will once again be decided by a mix of jury and a public vote, and so does the final result. The date of the festival has not been established but it would be safe to assume that this will be taking place either in January or in February.
Source: MESC Team, www.eurovision.tv
The last edition of the programme Indifest before the final night of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza was quite special as the finalists of the Talent Żagħżugħ were announced. The programme presented by Christine Haber and Ronald Briffa welcomed most of the participants in the studio today and alongside the Chairman Mark Azzopardi, explained that instead of three songs, four were going to make it to the Granaries in Floriana because of a tie in third place. The final vote was decided by a 60% tele-vote and 40% jury vote as it will be during the final next week.
The judges in this phase were the formidable Julie Zahra, who represented Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2004 and is a renowned vocal coach now based in the UK, Gianluca Cappitta who is a member of the leading band The Crowns, Rene Mamo, an established composer and producer who wrote for various festivals during the last century. Alongside side these judges there was also Doris Chetcuti a renowned lyricist who reached a number of festivals and had numerous successes and Lyndsay Pace who has slowly worked her way up the ladder of success and managed nominations at wins at the Malta Music Awards and the Bay Music Awards in recent years.
The four finalists who will be performing on the Granaries in Floriana on the 18th September will be none other than Maria & Justine who will be performing their song Ħbieb Ta’ Veru composed by Kaya and written by Chris Azzopardi as well as Antoine & Kayleigh who will be interpreting their song Il-Libertà composed by Ray Agius to the lyrics of Michael Vella Haber and Evelyn Saliba La Rosa. The third finalist announced was Antonella Rapa who will be singing X'Qaltli L-Arzella written by Joe Friggieri to the music of Mark Spiteri Lucas whilst the last finalist announced was Sarah Bonnici who will be singing the song Bil-Bnadar F’Idejna penned by Joe Chircop to the composition of Miriam Christine Warner.
The voting lines for the four songs reopened yesterday evening and the votes they got in the first phase will be carried forward to this phase. The Committee of this years' Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza would like to thank both the Jury and the viewers for voting in this years' Talent Żagħżugħ whilst escflashmalta.com would like to congratulate all of the participants in this years' festival and hope that they continue to establish themselves within the local music scene. Stay tuned for all of the latest news as soon as it becomes available.
Malta is a small country and therefore, it has to be noted down that there are quite a number of limitations when it comes to the music industry and therefore, charity events have to be a must sometimes in order to give back to the society that has already given support and praise in the years before. One of such events will surely be the Badass Man on Fire Festival which will be taking place in the coming days. It is to be noted that this will be the main event following a trial run held in April this year. The venue has been decided to be the Trade Fair which has decided to support the cause of the Betfair Lifecycle Challenge.
It is going to be quite the event to attend with the organizers saying that it will be one of those showcases which will secure a place in the memory of the individual for years to come. There will be a small entrance fee to cover the expenses of the actual event but then again, the donation will be given to the Renal Unit at Mater Dei Hospital meaning that there will not be just one euro cent of profit made out of the event. In the meantime, The Bar Group as well as Badass Burgers will be providing food and drinks with the proceeds once more going to the cause at hand. Whilst it is pivotal for one to have fun, there will also be a supportive theme so that everyone could have a branded identity and it has been decided that everyone should keep in line with Aussie traditions including costumes, props, and even face painting. Anything you could think of is acceptable of course, so make sure to use your imagination.
The event will be having it's fair share of musical entertainment as mentioned above and it is quite the line-up featuring established as well as up and coming names including the likes of Red Electrick, Irie Flow, Miss Chief, Binary Funk, Matematikal, Birdd, Mato, and For Strings Inn amongst others. There will be a host of other things taking place and therefore, we would like to officially support this event as escflashmalta.com for giving the time and the opportunity for upcoming talent to take centre stage and entertain the people. Stay tuned in the coming weeks in order to learn about more upcoming events in the industry.
Source: Press Release
Certain artists define the music of a generation and thus could ultimately claim their stake in calling themselves icons. Therefore, from the sultry voice of Frank Sinatra to the rocking beats of The Rolling Stones, many people will definitely know the names and even more, the tracks that they are well known for and these tunes will once more be given a new light thanks to this years' edition of Strummin' which is taking place on the 14th and the 15th September within the Sir Temi Żammit Hall with the main focus of the evening being a Tribute to the Greats who have as already pointed out before hand, shaped music, and given it meaning.
The cause has always been sublime with this years' benefiiciaries being none other than children and families who are suffering and given aid by Puttinu Cares. The evening will be impeccable, mark my words, noting that the organisation known as Żgħażagħ Ħaddiema Nsara are ensuring an unforgettable night filled with sounds from a guitar ensemble of around sixty (60) guitarists polished to perfection to emulate some of the greatest contributors to music after months of preparation. Last year, there was a great input from the people with a total of €2,400 collected and given to the Malta Community Chest Fund.
It has to be noted that Strummin' is quickly growing into a notable event especially with the launch of a brand new website which could be accessed here and also a brand new logo designed by none other than Isabel Micallef who won a logo competition against an extremely intriguing group of talented artists. The logo chosen incorporates the essence by which sound is coaxed out of a guitar as well as Strummin''s own identity. Talent is surely key for such an event and it is also to be noted that amongst the people included in the event there are former Malta Song for Europe semi-finalist, Jean Claude Vancell who is also an escflashmalta.com contributor as well as Luke Grech from the local band Relikc. From our editorial board, there is also none other than Andy Muscat and therefore, we would like to officially announce our endorsement for the event following such active involvement by our team.
We are counting down the days for Strummin' Tribute to the Greats to be held on the 14 and 15 September at Sir Temi Zammit Hall, University of Malta at 8pm. Don't miss out! Book your tickets from www.ooii.com.mt or call to reserve your tickets from 79 244 418. The event is being supported by BOV, Nestlé, Corinthia Palace Attard, Studio 7 and The Sound System. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for more news about local events which are a great tribute to the arts.
Source: Press Release
The most anticipated annual summer event, the 2013 Farsons Great Beer Festival kicked off yesterday and will be on till Sunday the 5th of August. Each and every year the festival brings together some of the best local stars along with upcoming artists that entertain the crowds present for the ten days festivities at Ta’ Qali. All those in attendance can enjoy the entertainment offered on both the main stage and the rock stage whilst sipping down their favourite beer.
The Beer Festival always manages to unite the two main areas of the local music scene, as one finds a mix of music that varies from pop, rock and alternative – the mix includes the singers who are more associated to local contests to singers and bands who their main focus is hitting the radio airwaves. This amalgamation manages to attract different crowds to the beer festival and that is the reasons why the festival is a huge success year after year.
Friday 27th July
Main Stage: Funk Initiative / Big Band Brothers
Rock Stage: Saving Alexis / International Diamond Thieves / Red Electrick
Saturday 28th July
Main Stage: Lyndsay / Thea / Freddie Portelli
Rock Stage: Skimmed / Bletchley Park / Dripht / The Riffs
Sunday 29th July
Main Stage: Trip / Disco Show by DJ Alex (Reflex)
Rock Stage: Aces Shade / Seriousz Funk / St Matthew / Juuls Reggae Party
Monday 30th July
Main Stage: Simon Elvis / Tribali
Rock Stage: In The Name Of / Nomad Son / Forsaken
Tuesday 31st July
Main Stage: St Matthew / Joe Demicoli
Rock Stage: ColourBlind / A Day Too Late / Fire
Wednesday 1st August
Main Stage: Planet Seed / Marty Rivers
Rock Stage: Three Stops To China / Dolls for Idols / Stolen Creep / Cable35
Thursday 2nd August
Main Stage: Kyle / Versatile Brass Band
Rock Stage: 26 Other Worlds / Rug / No Snow No Alps
Friday 3rd August
Main Stage: Ivan Filletti / Airport Impressions
Rock Stage: Mikaela & Band / BNI / Bridget Bone
Saturday 4th August
Main Stage: Brooke / Zoo Show
Rock Stage: 12th Ode / Texanna / The Creepers
Sunday 5th August
Main Stage: The Crowns / Kurt Calleja & Band
Rock Stage: Canvas Wall / Scar / Fakawi
Speculation about which city is going to host the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest has been circulating since Loreen’s ‘Euphoria’ triumphed back in May in Baku, Azerbaijan. Sweden has been one of the most successful nations in the competition; in fact this is the fifth time that the Eurovision Song Contest is being held in Sweden. Obviously organizing such an event takes time, effort and endless preparations and SVT has already started working hard to make sure next year’s Eurovision Song Contest would be spectacular – something which is expected from the Scandinavian country.
Stockholm, the capital of Sweden would have been the most obvious choice but it has already acted as the host city twice back in 1975 after Abba’s win in 1974 and more recently in 2000 after Charolotte Perelli’s triumph with ‘Take Me To Your Heaven’. Gothenburg was the host city in 1985 after ‘Diggy-Loo Diggy-Ley’ won the competition whilst Malmo hosted the event back in 1992 when the sympathetic Carola won the contest with ‘Fangad Av En Stormvind’. SVT has decided to once again return to Malmo for this year’s edition of the contest.
Malmo was the touted city from the start although Stockholm and Gothenburg also tried their luck in bidding to host the upcoming edition. The chosen arena for the contest will be the Malmo Arena which takes up to 15,500 spectators but it very likely that for the Eurovision Song Contest this number will be slightly lower. In fact if one had to compare the capacity of this arena to the capacity of previous arenas that hosted the Eurovision Song Contest one would realize that this is quite small.
This is surely a great disadvantage for all the fans who wish to be present at the event and that would most likely mean that the tickets in comparison to previous Eurovision Song Contests would be slightly more expensive but if you had to look at it from the other side of the coin one would realize that it would also have a number of advantages. The fact that it is not huge means that the atmosphere is going to be more intimate and this will transmit also on TV whilst if you had to look at it from a logistics point of view it will also help in dealing with the people attending the event.
The countries participating next year would need to battle it out in Malmo for the second time in Eurovision history. Malmo is in fact the third largest city in Sweden and has a population of around 664. It is found in the Southern part of the country and has easy access to Denmark through the Oresund Bridge which is the longest bridge in Europe. So from the mythical city of Baku in Azerbaijan we will move to the picturesque city of Malmo in Sweden for the Eurovision Song Contest 2013.
It is not something unheard of but surely unusual to hear a piece of music that simply stops us from what we are doing so we can actually listen and appreciate the richness of what we are hearing. Noting that most of the time, we do this for foreign artists, either because we are familiar with the voice or else because the song simply haunts us – it may actually be a combination of both. One thing is for sure, nowadays the general public has the ability to understand what good music is even though the genre might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Harriet Cohen is a new solo project by Deborah Borg Brincat the lead singer of local band Bletchley Park.
Deborah has been experimenting with music from a young age and also tried to be unique in establishing herself as an individual and not follow the norm. It was one of the reasons why Bletchley Park captured the imagination of a number of people as their style was unique and unheard of in our islands. This time round whilst Bletchley Park is on full speed ahead preparing for the launch of their first album – the lead singer of this band decided to work on solo project that moves away from the genre that she’s normally used to work on. It all started from an experiment to test the waters but the feedback the singer received was overwhelming and our local Harriet Cohen is determined to continue to haunt with her music.
The British name behind the solo project ‘Harriet Cohen’ comes from a very popular 20th century British pianist who had quite an inspirational life. Cohen used her music to reach out to different people, even though suffering because of the political situation during her time. Her music inspired a number of dignitaries which include a number of composers, politicians and other celebrities. She even captured the imagination of Albert Einstein. Our very own local Harriet Cohen is currently studying the famous Hungarian composer Bartok who dedicated his ‘Six Bulgarian Dancers’ to her. Harriet Cohen has been an inspiration to many and hence the reason why our local artist adapted her name for this melodic inspirational music.
The first single from Harriet Cohen is called ‘India’ and the song explores the theme of animal cruelty, particularly focusing on all the hardships animals that participate in circuses all over the world face. It’s a subtle way of sending a strong message across and considering the feedback the song got in its first few days online; I would expect it to flourish even further in regards to popularity and it would be a great shame if radios do not give airplay to such a great song. The inspiration behind this project of Harriet Cohen comes from the singers’ greatest influence Regina Spektor – an American artist born in Moscow whose style can be described as folk with a mix of classical music and jazz.
To break through a scene with a new project takes its time but ‘India’ and the project by Harriet Cohen seemed to have found instant success with astounding feedback. In fact many are already looking forward in hearing more material from the singer as if her first single is anything to go by we can expect some great material in the future. The singer now plans to take this project a step further in order to be able to share her music with the audience by organizing a live set where the audience can appreciate the sheer haunting talent of one of our own upcoming artists, who given her tender age will surely keep on developing and improving on this musical journey.
Source: Harriet Cohen - Press Release
The passing of Whitney Houston was surely one of the biggest shocks all the music lovers will remember and for all those who looked up to her; the news was certainly more devastating. One of the singers who always looked up to Whitney is none other than our very own Eleanor Cassar who from the tender age of thirteen dreamt that one day she will have the opportunity to belt out some of Houston’s power ballads. The concert will take place on the 27th of May at the City Theatre in Valletta and it will feature around eighteen of Whitney Houston’s classics along with a number of clips that will give an overview of who Whitney is and her way to stardom. Queen of the Night is surely going to be a spectacular show that one simply cannot miss.
Whitney was surely an international queen and her music will live on for decades to come. Surely a great way to embrace her music is to hear it interpreted by one of Malta’s leading singers who surely has built her way up the music scene that she can be considered a queen, at least just for one night where the formidable Eleanor Cassar will take the stage accompanied by a ten piece band and three backing vocalists; Petra Zammit, Anna Azzopardi and Christine Camilleri. The concert will also include special performances by Chiara and Glen Vella. The brain behind this project is Heathcliffe Balzan who happens to be the one leading the ensemble to make this concert a huge success. Those interested in obtaining tickets for the event can do so by logging in to www.biljetti.com.