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Wednesday, 12 March 2014 22:35

GħTP 14: Interview with Daniel Borg

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L-Għanja tal-Poplu, a music competition with original songs in Malta is turning thirty-eight (38) in a couple of days whilst encountering a resurgence, noting that the amount of submissions this year reached seventy-one (71), the highest in reality since the committee introduced the element of live instruments during the performances. escflashmalta.com has been granted permission to speak to the sixteen (16) competing acts, and thus we move onto the eight act in our series; Daniel Borg who will be performing the song Fejn Huma? composed by George Cassar to the lyrics of Daniel Borg.

 

Daniel, your experience in the local music scene might be limited, but where L-Għanja tal-Poplu is concerned, this will be your third participation having taken part alongside the members of the group Tale Kwali with the songs Blokk Appartamenti and Sur Wara Sur. How different is it to be seen as a solo artist rather than a group member?

Singing as a solo artist is always different than singing with a group. In a group performance you are not the sole contributor to the song, you share the stage with other artists, you have to ensure that you complement and not overpower your companions, you have to be sharp and aware to ensure that you come in on all your cues. As a solo artist, the spotlight is on you. You cannot depend others to help you sing. Your voice is exposed and thus it is slightly more demanding since it requires more concentration and voice control. However, as much as it is demanding, it is also very exciting. You are at the centre of the stage and you have a greater chance to perform.

This year’s entry is also very different from past years since I composed the song myself. This year’s song is my baby. Besides composing and singing it, I also had to take care of the logistics behind it such as setting up a band and finding backing vocals, which is not always an easy task. However, I am extremely happy with the bunch of people I am working with. They are dynamic, enthusiastic and full of ideas, and I’m sure that they will give their all so that we can give a great performance on stage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cn4aUUI8CrQ

Fejn Huma?, a song which you have composed and submitted into this years' edition of L-Għanja tal-Poplu is through to the final round of the competition. Would you care to explain the meaning behind the lyrics and the genre that the song encompasses?

The song is actually a protest against the destruction of the Maltese environment. It tells the story of a Maltese citizen who returned back to Malta after living abroad for a couple of years. In the song we see this Maltese citizen visiting some of the natural landmarks he used to visit when he was younger, only to find out that they have been damaged and destroyed by housing developments, pollution and vandalism. In the song the man is asking “Where are the trees, the gardens and the rubble walls that used to make Malta so beautiful? What happened to our seas?” 

In the second, verse, the man starts to understand why all this destruction is happening. He criticises landowners and refers to them as “actors”, who act as if they care about the environment when in reality, all they care about is money in their pocket. Eventually, the man is so disappointed with what he sees that he feels there’s no reason to stay in Malta. He leaves the country and cries out in the hope that Malta returns the way it was before.

This song was excellently written by one of my dear friends George Cassar. George knows me really well and knows how much I love the environment. He tailored the song precisely for me and I feel I can relate a lot with this song. In the past year, I have been studying botany abroad, and when I came back to Malta, I was surprised to see how quickly new buildings were eating away our countryside. 

I couldn’t believe how much change occurred in 1 year. Thus as you might presume, this song means a lot to me and I will give it my all on the night. The genre of the song is a pop with a relatively quick tempo. The song will be played using guitars as well as tomtoms to give it a traditional Maltese feel. The song also contains some planned pauses which help emphasise the reaction of surprise and astonishment that the man feels when he sees such environmental loss and destruction. The pauses also help to give a slight comical twist to the song. I hope that the public enjoys listening to the song as much as I enjoyed composing it.

L-Għanja tal-Poplu is known to be a celebration of lyrical prowess amongst friends, noting that the competitive feel is very much forgotten during rehearsals or the actual night of the competition. With ONE, the most successful private broadcaster in Malta supporting this event, it seems to denote its successful reputation. Do you believe that there’s a place for this competition within the local music industry and do you support it’s continuation in the years to come?

I feel that the contest is still very relevant in this day and age. Firstly, because it provides exposure to local talent and gives an opportunity for young people to show and develop their skills. Secondly, L-Ghanja tal-Poplu is a celebration of Maltese Music. It promotes songs in the Maltese language and keeps on confirming year after year that Maltese is a very beautiful language for song. We should all be proud of it. Thirdly, L-Ghanja Tal-Poplu Contest, showcases songs with a social theme that often provoke thought and deal with realistic situations that are faced daily by the Maltese population. Music is a very powerful medium to convey messages and I think that thanks to the contest, such social themes, which we sometimes might be unaware of, are exposed and thus the contest can be a catalyst for change in our society. I fully support the continuation of this contest in the future.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuK3uTBktdU

Would you like to say anything to our readers at escflashmalta.com?

Hmm..perhaps something that the readers might not know about me is that besides my participation in L-Ghanja tal-Poplu contests of 2010 and 2012, I also had taken part in the opening sequence of L-Ghanja tal-Poplu 2000, with the Stella Maris Boys Choir (directed by Frank O’Neill and Ivan Degabiele), where we sung a cover of the song Għanja Mediterranja by Frank O’Neill.

My favourite Ghanja tal-Poplu winning song is It-Tfal tal-Lum sung by Glen Vella and Eleonor Cassar which had won the contest way back in 2000. I am also a big Eurovision fan and as my friends can very well tell you, I NEVER miss watching the contest. A final random fact about me is that I am a Biology and Chemistry graduate and also have a Masters in Botany and I currently teach Chemistry in two Maltese secondary schools.

In the end, I’d like to thank all the people who are involved in making this song a success including the band members (Kyle Azzopardi, Matthew Said and Nicholas Ellul), the backing vocals (Martina Vella and Martha Muscat), David Schembri for the arrangement, George Cassar for writing the song and all my family and friends for their support. I’d also like to thank escflashmalta.com for always giving us singers the opportunity to promote our songs and our talent.

Source: Official WebsiteOfficial Facebook Page

Last modified on Wednesday, 12 March 2014 22:42