January 23, 2020

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escflashmalta.com has been granted permission to speak to the local artists competing within this years' edition of the International Festival of Maltese Song, fourteen in total. Apart from speaking to them about their careers thus far, it is pivotal to denote that we have focused on their participation within this competition in particular and their stance on Maltese being passed onto future generations through the medium of song. The order in which these interviews are being presented does not reflect the running order of the competition. Christian is the twelfth artist and he will be performing the song Raġġ ta' Tama composed by Philip Vella to the lyrics of Cher Vella.

In recent years, Christian has been mostly living in the shadow of his younger sister, Domenique who managed to garner the second runner-up slot at the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza in 2012 with the song Tama u Kuraġġ composed by Philip Vella to the lyrics of Cher Vella and then also making it through to the finals of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest with the track Too Little Too Late composed by Marc Paelinck to the lyrics of Matthias Strasser. Is there any sibling rivalry and do you wish to emulate her success?

I feel very proud of my sister. She has a great talent and she deserved all her success. For sure I would like to have similar success. However, I am glad to see her achieving such success and I hope she continues over the course of her career.

On various occasions, critics within the local music scene have hit out at the public vote system which is ever so present in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza and the International Festival of Maltese Song with revenue, always in the mind of the organisers. You were a beneficiary of the system during the 2009 edition of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza as your entry Madre Perla written by Clinton Paul was awarded with the top spot according to the general public. What is your opinion on tele-voting and do you agree with the role it plays, amounting to a total of just one professional judge?

I believe in the general public and that it should have a voice in the final say. However, I still believe that the public vote should amount to a small proportion compared to the professional jury.


It has been around a year since you had last competed in a nationwide competition but the different between the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza and the International Festival of Maltese Song is surely in the fact that whilst one supports playback music, the other one will include the accompaniment of a band led by Maestro Sigmund Mifsud. Do you believe that the addition of live music adds to a music competition and how are you preparing to take to the stage?

I am very prepared for it. It is good that they have introduced again live music in Maltese competitions. Having live music gives the singers great opportunities to sing with a live band.

Raġġ ta' Tama composed by Philip Vella to the lyrics of Cher Vella is the song that you will be presenting in this years’ edition of the International Festival of Maltese Song. Would you care to explain the meaning behind the lyrics and the genre that the song encompasses?

Raġġ ta’ Tama is a ballad song. The song is about a relationship which has ended and he is asking her to forget the past and start over again. 

As a music competition, the International Festival of Maltese Song was the first to promote the national language through the medium of music, eventually followed by L-Għanja tal-Poplu and Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza. With the Public Broadcasting Services supporting the event, it makes it only second to the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. 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?

This festival is one of a high prestige in Malta which promotes the Maltese language. There was a great need for this festival to start again and obviously I will support it’s continuation in the coming years as it gives great opportunity to Maltese talents. 

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

Thanks to those who showed the interest in reading my interview.

Published in Interviews

escflashmalta.com is proud to announce that the organisers behind the International Festival of Maltese Song have devised a running order which accentuates the features of each entry. This competition is returning to the local music scene following an absence of eleven years and in theory and fact becomes the third song competition to promote Maltese as a national language through the medium of song. A total of fourteen (14) entries made it through the initial judging phases including artists who have been a part of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest on a couple of occasions, apart from even being at the Eurovision Song Contest. There will be a series of awards given on the night of the competition and therefore, all will be hoping to give their all.

The International Festival of Maltese Song is taking place at the Mediterranean Conference Centre on Saturday, 9th November 2013. Tickets for the event can be obtained from the venue booking office as from today, and have been reasonably priced in order to accomodate to everyone's needs. The competition is set to kick off at 19:30 CET with fourteen (14) local artists and fourteen (14) foreign artists taking to the main stage. The editorial board of escflashmalta.com would like to encourage everyone who has music close to their heart to attend the International Festival of Maltese Song and support this venture as it was supported when it was the jewel of the music industry.

Paċi Sovrana - Donna (Donna Marie Ellul)

Kuraġġ - Geordie (Philip Vella / Joe Chircop)

Għadek Tgħix - Fiona (Renato Briffa / Mark Amaira)

Poeta Bla Kliem - Mark Tonna (Mark Scicluna / Emil Calleja Bayliss)

Ħolma - Lyann Iles (Paul Abela / Lyann Iles)

Raġġ ta' Tama' - Christian (Philip Vella / Cher Vella)

Sinjali - Bernice (Renato Briffa / Rita Pace)

Mikrokożmu - Janvil & Hooligan (Augusto Cardinali / Giovann Attard)

Din Jien - Dorcas (Minik / Rita Pace)

Solitaire - Dario & Grecia (Dario Bezzina / Rita Pace)

Hawn mill-Ġdid - Olivia Lewis (Paul Abela / Joe Julian Farrugia)

Passi Fir-Ramel - Domenique (Philip Vella / Mark Amaira)

Inti mill-Ġdid - Roger Tirazona (Paul Abela / Joe Julian Farrugia)

Stejjer - Miriam Christine (Andrew Zahra / Joe Julian Farrugia)

The organising committee is made up of Chairperson Mrs Josette Grech Hamilton, Deputy chairperson Mr Ignatius Farrugia, Executive Secretary Mr Robert Cefai, Public Relations Officer & Media Relations Mr Deo Grech, Festival Coordinator Mr Ray Falzon, Hospitality Coordinator Ms Simone Bugeja and Technical Coordinator Mr Pierre Cachia. Mr Norman Hamilton serves as the artistic consultant, Mr Anton Attard as the technical consultant on behalf of PBS and Maestro Sigmund Mifsud as the musical consultant. The International Festival of the Maltese Song is organised under the auspices of the Parliamentary Secretary for Culture and Local Councils, Hon. Dr. J. Herrera in collaboration with the World Association of Festival organisers and Artists. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news as soon as it becomes available.

Source: International Festival of Maltese Song Committee


Published in Local Music News

Last year, Kristen Camilleri made her debut within a local music competition by virtue of competing in the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza and therefore, she thought to return, making it through to the final phase once more, with the track Rebbiegħa composed by Philip Vella to the lyrics of Cher Vella. Below, our editorial board devised a set of questions in order to get to know Kristen a little bit better whilst Chris and Moira have also heard all of the entries in order to comment on them. With regards to the solo entry, they stated that it is a 'great tune for a young person', adding that Kristen has 'good stage presence and looks confident and sure of herself' awarding it a stunning total of nine (9) points.

Kristen, this is the second time that you’re competing in the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza having made your debut last year with the track Flimkien composed by Philip Vella to the lyrics of Cher Vella. Taking to the stage in a stunning short white dress, you managed to surprise many with your image but nevertheless, the vocals were shaky and ultimately led to the disappointing result achieved at the end of the evening. Looking back, do you think that opening the competition was detrimental and would you have done anything differently if you had the chance?

To begin with, I always give my very best in every performance and I strive hard to achieve what I ultimately want – that is to enjoy myself on stage and portray my emotions through music. I wouldn’t use the fact that I was the first  to open Indifest last year as an exuse but I would rather say that it was my first official experience on stage in front of a huge crowd. Looking back, this experience nourished my knowledge within the local music scene and it served me as a stepping stone to broaden my confidence on stage both as a singer and as a performer. I wouldn’t change anything from last year’s performance because as I said, I gained a lot of experience as well as exposure. 

It has already been noted that you were a part of the setup within this competition last year and that has surely given you an idea of what to expect in front of a large audience who would be expecting a stunning showcase from all of the artists in contention. This time round, the expectations might be higher from your end with the aim of achieve a better result and therefore, this leads to our question on how you are currently preparing to take to the stage of The Granaries in Floriana and will there be any particular surprises in store?

I am currently working hard to give the best performance possible on the night and this time round I’ll be sharing the stage with a number of talented dancers. We’re busy with rehearsals but we are really enjoying ourselves! I won’t go into whethere there will or will not be any surprises but I am more than sure that all those who will be watching will definitely enjoy our show!


In this years’ edition of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza, you will be performing the song Rebbiegħa which is also composed by Philip Vella with lyrics by Cher Vella. It is important to denote that the genre is quite different when comparing the two entries together in an aim to keep you fresh, current and at the same time versatile. This time round, you will not be performing as the opening entry with the draw pitting you in slot number number nine. What could you tell us with regards to the song and do you feel more at ease knowing that your performance is mid-way through?

This year’s song is definitely fresh offering a great summery vibe which the audience will definitely enjoy. A part from having a great tune to listen to, it revolves around a positive message that of living one’s dreams and aspirations. It projects the fact that even though life can go through a dull phase, it can still blossom if you work hard on making life worthwhile. These emotions are projected in the ethnic vibe Philip has managed to create and in the meaningful words Cher penned. 

In the past twelve months, Kristen Camilleri has gone onto headline the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza as one of the twenty participants but also as a lead actress on the hit television series, DREAMS which used to air on Television Malta. The idea of combining music and drama together is becoming more common with others such as Mikhail Attard and Minik also showcasing their various skills. As a female artist, do you have any preference towards a particular craft and in turn, what kind of experiences have you drawn from the past year?

I have always been into music and drama since primary school therefore I do not have any preference towards one of the arts. D.R.E.A.M.S offered a great opportunity to combine these arts and showcase local talent on television. It has been an amazing experience that has definitely given me a boost within both crafts. I am looking forward to use the experience gained from this series and apply it to current and future projects I embarked on.  

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

I would like to thank all those who constantly follow local talent because without their support Maltese artists would find it harder to engage into music events such as Indifest.


Published in Interviews
Thursday, 27 September 2012 12:59

Malta: A Rising Star in Domenique

Age is only just a number and indeed, this is surely the case for the upcoming artist known as Domenique who brings in several experiences to help aid our profile build up noting that she has been in most competitions held within the local music scene, with the most prominent surely being the Junior Eurosong competition where she has made the most appearances. Years have gone by and thus, the experiences in that particular showcase come to an end with the future looking extremely bright. There were slight doubts but they were banished when Domenique came out on the stage of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza back in 2009 within the Teenage Category with the song Miegħi Hemm Int composed by Heathcliffe Balzan and penned by Natasha Turner. It was a brand new journey and one which will be taking Domenique far into the local music industry, especially noting that local and foreign critics have been extremely supportive.

As stated, this was only the beginning with Domenique making it to the finals of the Malta Hit Song Contest in 2010 with the track Violet Skies composed by Philip Vella and penned by Gerard James Borg. She had the opportunity to perform with the renowned Annabelle Debono who backed Morena at the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest and was also the backing vocal for Claudia Faniello at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest in the past two years. The following year, she would return to the competition with the song Love Trap written by Clinton Paul. Ultimately though, the most intriguing experience of her music career up to this point would come in the 2011 Malta Eurovision Song Contest making it to the semi-final stage with the track I'll Follow The Sunshine composed by Ralph Siegel and penned by Bern Meinunger. The renowned songwriting duo wrote the winning entry of the Eurovision Song Contest back in 1982 and Domenique was one of the youngest artists that they worked with according to their discography. Her most recent experience though has brought out the first major trophy noting that the 2012 edition of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza saw Domenique finish in third place with the track Tama u Kuraġġ composed by Philip Vella and penned by Cher Vella.


With the submissions of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2013 a month away, it will be quite a challenge to see whether she will be able to make it through to the live stages of the competition but with resounding success in the past couple of weeks, months and years, it will be quite undeniable that this girl has not only the talent to succeed but also the chops that are seriously required for making it within the respective business. Experience does indeed play a major role but then again, it can only be gained by virtue of having talent and thus that is what it important about such notable names who are improving with each showcase. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com in the coming days and weeks as we continue bringing you the latest news from the local and foreign music scene in relation to the Eurovision Song Contest whilst also keeping you entertained with our respective features about some of the best artists that the industry is proud to present.

Source: YouTube, escflashmalta.com, Julian Lee Richie


Published in Local Music News
Tuesday, 18 September 2012 02:30

KKI 2012: Having a Look at 'Flimkien'

The editorial board of escflashmalta.com wanted to spice up things just a tad with regards to the feature that was taken on board and thus instead of working the way through the songs in their respective order as they will be performing later on during the day, they were presented starting from the last entry and indeed, the final one will actually be the first to perform. Whenever one does not succeed, then giving up is not the option even though it might sparkle at a certain outlook. There is a certain amount of luck which each individual can utilize without even knowing when the timing is right and this could be said for the next performer, Kristen Camilleri who will be performing the track Flimkien composed by Philip Vella and penned by Cher Vella. This was one of the three entries that eventually got through to the competition following the withdrawal of three of the qualified entries by Domenique and indeed, it has been an intriguing ride noting that this track features in the top five of the tele-voting portion of the competition, having done so from the early stages. This year, each track received the same amount of promotion through official videos as posted on YouTube and also reviews as published on escflashmalta.com daily for the past couple of weeks.

Teenagers have one of the most pivotal roles in the country and it is unequivocally important that their challenges in terms of goals for the future are met with great respect, dignity and praise at times with the shaping up of the future owed to them most of the time. The country will be dealing with stern challenges but then again, together, everything can be dealt with a relative pace and thus, one has to start acting as soon as possible to make sure that things get back to normal and ultimately succeed in continue creating a positive world which the people will continue living in. Kristen Camilleri is one of the newcomers to the local music scene noting that this years' Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza is well adjusted including acts which have already garnered a name for themselves and others which are looking for that shining moment which would make or break their careers. Nevertheless, Kristen has already accomplished quite a lot having studied under classical soprano, Gillian Zammit and starring in shows such as Dr.Seuss - The Musical put on by Masquerade Theatre Arts School. In recent months, she was also the backing vocalist for three entries at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest and she is set to star in the upcoming edition of D.R.E.A.M.S which will be airing every Wednesday night on Television Malta.

Philip Vella is the man behind the music in this particular entry providing the competition with a total of eight compositions this time round, with three lyricists in general, those being former winner Joe Chircop, his daughter Cher Vella and singer/songwriter Rita Pace. Philip won the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza back in 2009 breaking the flow that was being set up by Mark Spiteri Lucas who had won it in the two years before and ultimately paving the way for two victories of Ray Agius, therefore being the only one in the last five years to have managed to break the domination of the most successful composers of the competition. Philip is an accomplished performer as well having taken part in the competition in 1999 with the track San Seksek Pro Nobis and in 2001 with the tracks Ġens B'Identita and Kieku u Kien whilst writing the music and lyrics to many other songs. The lyricist in this track is his daughter Cher Vella with whom he penned another two tracks and with whom he also made it through to the finals of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest with, earlier this year with Lawrence Gray as the lead vocal. Watch the official video below and stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.

Source: Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza, escflashmalta.com


Thursday, 06 September 2012 17:25

KKI 2012: Having a Look at 'Indipendenti'

Many people might not realise that the music industry is full of steep challenges which require a lot of various sacrifices in a bid to reach desired success nevertheless, it has also to be noted that things have to occur gradually and most performers would show their talent at an extremely young age. In fact, experience should be achieved at an extremely young age because then when the peak hits, the artist should be ready to take on the challenge and become notable in the craft that he would have become extremely accustomed to during the previous years. The local music scene does not work too differently and in fact, thanks to a number of opportunities for youngsters around the country, it is quite intriguing to see the emerging talent evolve into something extremely special. The Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza is a competition which represents the journey that artists have to endure as normally, it is one of the prime festivals in which performers tend to submit tracks, feeling more at ease performing in their national language, the one which our forefathers worked hard to get recognized. Going through the running order in backwards fashion, the next entry in line for analysis is the one bearing the name Indipendenti composed by Philip Vella and penned by Cher Vella with the vocal accompaniment offered by Danica Muscat. Media.Link Communications have always sought to promote upcoming artists and therefore, this time, along with the committee of the competition, they have decided to work extremely hard to give as much exposure as possible and thus recording preview videos for each respective entries and uploaded through viral website, YouTube with additional analytic help offered by escflashmalta.com so that people would get to know the individuals behind the song a little bit better at the same time.

The reflection of national identity has to be one of the most important aspects of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza in terms of a competition and that is why, throughout the years, there have been a number of winning tracks with a particular message which speaks about unity and trust. Nevertheless, this has to be expected especially when the competition occurs during a week in which the country proudly celebrates the achievement of Independence and therefore, had the opportunity to take care of several affairs in terms of Government as studied within history class or so the books state of course. Danica Muscat has one revolving theme within her track and that is patriotism noting that she speaks about a time when things have continuously went forward and progressed, the achievement of liberty and the feeling that one looks up to the heavens above in order to feel proud about what has been achieved. The metaphors in the track are also well put to use noting that the individual has been compared to a butterfly whose wings have grown and thus could live the way that he would like without any restrictions, feeling liberated. This has to be the easiest tranlation for the people to relate to noting that in English, the title would simply be Independent and thus could easily be related to from a personal perspective as well. Danica Muscat is just about to turn eighteen and therefore, makes her one of the most youngest performers to grace the stage of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza.
Staying on track with the performer at hand, it is to be noted that Danica has been one of those artists who has been around for quite some time working her way up in the music industry. Following participation in the Junior Eurosong on a number of occasions including the 2007 edition of the festival with the track Stolen which finished in second place, she was chosen to take part in the show Io Canto on Canale 5 during which she had the opportunity to perform with a number of stars including the likes of former Sanremo winner Ron, Italian legend Ornella Vanoni and also recent Sanremo contestant and Dalla collaborator Pierdavide Carone. This will be her second participation in the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza having taken part last year with the song Kliem Li M'Għidtlek Qatt composed by Mark Debono and lyrics by Christopher Azzopardi. She has also taken part in this years' edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest with the track 7 Days written by Philip who just happens to be the composer of the track for this competition alongside his daughter. Technically, this is a relatively new team to the music industry with their first successful endeavor coming with the track In Your Eyes by Lawrence Gray as he tried to win the ticket for the Eurovision Song Contest. Despite not finishing in the top three, they did well to finish in the top ten and came to the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza with more than one entry. You can listen to his entry in this years' competition just below whilst also hoping you will keep on reading escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news about the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza.