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Wednesday, 31 December 2014 09:22

2014: Another Year Filled With Successful Stories

Every year brings with it a number of events, festivals and lots of new material that many appreciate and play over and over throughout the year. The editorial board of escflashmalta.com decided to have a look back at the main highlights of 2014, the year that saw two Malta Eurovision Song Contest competitions, the annual competition l-Għanja Tal-Poplu and Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza, the return of the Summer Hit Song Contest and also the Junior Eurovision Song Contest taking place in Malta. There were quite a number of events that kept our site busy and also our readers on the lookout for the next event. 

The year started off with Firelight emerging victorious at the Malta Eurovision with their song ‘Coming Home’, the band came together for the Eurovision Song Contest but looked beyond the festival. The Micallef siblings came together along with their friends and gave us the country folk pop entry. One would not say it was a shocking win because some critics did tip the song on doing well, but surely surprised a number when it emerged victorious over public favourites Jessika, Daniel Testa & De Bee. The band managed to reach the finals of the Eurovision Song Contest in May and Richard Edwards’ composition received good airplay in a number of countries in Europe. This kicked started their career with new material being released recently and a number of gigs in Germany.


After the Malta Eurovision, it was time for the scene to focus on a local festival in Maltese. A festival that has been going for a number of years and has a good following thanks to the importance it gives to the themes of the songs. The outright winner of the festival was the song ‘Jien Ma Naħdimx’ interpreted by the relative newcomer Karen DeBattista. Mark Scicluna & Rita Pace’s composition was a hit from the get go and after it won the song received substantial airplay on a number of radiostations. The powerful lyrics were surely the reason behind its success; the message portrayed in the lyrics shows the work done by housewives which is normally not appreciated by the other members of the family. It was surely the stepping stone for Karen DeBattista who was participating only  in her third festival in three years and after this success she also managed to reach the finals of the Malta Eurovision with ’12, Baker Street’.


The much awaited return of the Summer Hit Song Contest was imminent and many were happy to see that this festival was finally back, after a break of nearly three years. The winner of this edition was Domenique who although still relatively young, she has cemented herself as one of the established artists in the local music scene. Domenique always expressed her love towards festivals and is a popular face in a number of local competitions in Malta. ‘Back to...’ a composition by Mark Scicluna & Emil Calleja Bayliss managed to scoop the top prize in this festival and many commented that Domenique’s strong interpretation thanks to her experience in these competitions was vital in this win. The song was always seen as a strong entry but many saw it as a contender after the stunning celebrity duet Domenique delivered alongside Rosman Pace – a unique factor to this competition.


The annual Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza saw an influx of songs related to the fifty year anniversary of Malta’s independence and even though competing authors were free to write on different subjects, this one proved to be the most popular. The result was surely unexpected as the song which was highly tipped on winning the competition finished in fourth place whilst the young and upcoming star Michela Galea won the judges hearts with her rendition of ‘Mixja Li Bdiet’ a subtle song that speaks about the stages Malta has been through since its independence fifty years ago. Renato Briffa & Alfred E. Baldacchino surely did their homework right as they write a catchy tune, with subtle lyrics that embrace the country’s vision of independence and gave it to an apt, fresh and confident performer who delivered the song strongly. It was a well deserved win for the teenager who won the first festival in her first major competition.


Two other winners who emerged in the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza were Kurt Cassar who won the New Talent Section and Kayley Cuschieri who triumphed in the inaugural edition of Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza Junior. Kurt Cassar reached the finals of the prestigious event and went on to win his section with the song ‘Inservi’, a composition of Elton Zarb, Gillian Attard & Emil Calleja Bayliss. The song was well received from the start and many saw it as a potential winner as the whole package stood out from the rest of the field. This surely opened the horizons for Cassar. On the other hand, Kayley Cushcieri is a known face in the music circles but she surely left a lasting impression when she triumphed with the song ‘Għannaqni’ - an emotional heartfelt song that speaks about a daughter begging her mother to hug her instead of abusing her; another strong message written by Rita Pace to Mark Spiteri Lucas’ composition.


The biggest highlight this year for the local industry has definitely been the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. The event was the biggest live broadcast the national broadcaster has put up and Malta was represented by the talented soprano Federica Falzon who rose to fame after winning the  popular Italian show ‘Ti Lascio una Canzone’. Federica Falzon had the opportunity of a lifetime performing at such a esteemed event in front of her home crowd and she surely made the most of it as she delivered an excellent performance of 'Diamonds' finishing in a prestigious fourth on the night. Many local fans though would love to see the return of the pre-selection show for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest as this would involve the audience at home choosing their junior representative and also be the perfect showcase for up and coming talent – something which sadly is not given as much prominence as it should.


Given that Malta was hosting the Junior Eurovision, it came to no surprise that the PBS announced that the Malta Eurovision will be brought forward this year. It caught the singers and songwriters a bit off guard and this showed in the number of submitted entries but many critics argued that the quality of songs in the finals was the best it has ever been. Although a tough competition, Amber emerged as the clear front runner and after two strong performances on both Friday and Saturday night it was a unanimous decision by the judges and the public vote that she should be the next Maltese representative at the Eurovision Song Contest. She conquered the festival with Elton Zarb & Muxu’s composition ‘Warrior’ which so far has been well received from abroad. The song is expected to be enhanced and many are looking forward to hear the finalised version of the next Maltese representative.


After all that one can realize that it has been quite a year and if one would think that everyone is currently taking a break, one would be mistaken as in November the committee of L-Għanja Tal-Poplu issued its regulations so the year will be once again kickstarting very soon although the first major festival of 2015 is expected in March and not in February like last year. This is due to having the Malta Eurovision a few months earlier. A festival many would love to see its return would definitely be the ‘Festival Internazzjonali Tal-Kanzunetta Maltija’ which saw its return in 2013 but seems that it was put aside for 2014 because of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. A real pity because it gave light to a number of new Maltese songs in the last edition these include Olivia Lewis’ winning entry ‘Hawn Mill-Ġdid’, Mark Tonna’s ‘Poeta Bla Kliem and Dario & Grecia’s ‘Solitaire’. Maybe 2015 would be a year were one gets to celebrate through more competitions and more songs to feast the keen Maltese music lover. 


On behalf of the editorial team of escflashmalta.com, I would like to wish you a Happy New Year filled with joy, health and success in whatever your heart desires. We urge you to keep following escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about the local music scene in 2015. All the best.  

Source: escflashmalta.com


Published in Editorials

Firelight, representatives of Malta at the 2014 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest with the song 'Coming Home', written by Richard Edwards Micallef, made an interesting revelation earlier this evening by announcing that their yet-untitled debut album is currently being finalised after their record label requested more than eight tracks, which had already been recorded prior to the Eurovision Song Contest.

The eleven track album does not have a release date, but the group's lead vocalist and songwriter Richard Edwards Micallef assured the television viewers that the material will be our during the course of 2014. Apart from the studio album, a promotion company has also engaged the band to tour Germany in the coming months, showing artists in Malta and across Europe that the Eurovision Song Contest is still a major platform for upcoming artists. We would like to wish Firelight the very best of luck and ask you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: ONE Television


Published in Local Music News

Coming Home, written by Richard Edwards Micallef and performed by the group Firelight, on behalf of Malta at this year's edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, might have not lit up the scoreboard on Saturday evening but still managed to garner a considerable following for people to go to iTunes and purchase the song. The group, who have been busy recording their debut album, out soon, have just entered the first official music chart in their career, that being the one in Ireland.

According to the Irish Recorded Music Association, which counts both physical and digital sales in Ireland, Coming Home by Firelight is a new entry at #93, further signifying that the 3 points achieved from the Emerald Isle on the night of the final were not a fluke. It is also worth noting that considerable digital sales for Firelight were recorded in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom although their final chart positions will only be revealed in a couple of days time. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: IRMA


Rise Like a Phoenix co-written by Charly Mason, Joey Patulka, Ali Zuckowski and Julian Maas with vocals provided by Conchita Wurst on behalf of Austria was the clear choice of both the professional juries and the public across the whole of Europe. It is also worth noting that first runner-up, Calm After the Storm performed by The Common Linnets was decided through a consensus even though the Maltese Jury made up of Paul Abela, Manolito Galea, Corazon, Elton Zarb and Pamela thought otherwise pushing it down to a bottom three position.

Having thoroughly analysed the results, we have come to the conclusion that Malta's entry Coming Home written by Richard Edwards Micallef and performed by Firelight did not connect with the audience and languished in a dire bottom three position had it been up to the public only, as opposed to the clear and sensible respect of the professional juries who ranked the entry in 5th place by the close of the voting. Nevertheless, the polarised result saw Malta languish in 23rd place with just 31 points. 

It was relatively disappointing considering that Firelight gave a spirited performance of their folk/pop tune Coming Home. At this stage, I would like to thank Patrick Strouk, Emil Calleja Bayliss, Antoine Farrugia, Juergen Boernig and the rest of the team at Radio International for all their editorial work as well as special guests; Christabelle, Brooke, Daniel Testa, Danica Muscat, Karen DeBattista, Rikki Lee, Simon Casey, Davinia, Matt Mercieca and Miriam Christine. Last but not least, THANK YOU for following escflashmalta.com even on Facebook and Twitter.

Source: eurovision.tv


Following the aftermath of the second semi-final, it has been decided by the European Broadcasting Union that Firelight and the song Coming Home written by Richard Edwards Micallef on behalf of Malta will perform in position number 22 this coming Saturday as the final of the 2014 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest takes place.

Valentina Rossi, a photo model and nominee in the upcoming Malta Fashion Awards, has been selected by the Public Broadcasting Services to read out the votes during the final of the international competition following in the footsteps of Emma Hickey, Keith Demicoli, Kelly Schembri and Chiara Siracusa who have held the honour in the past four years. Valentina is a true fan of the Eurovision Song Contest, and was present during each of the postcards introducing the acts at this year's edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: eurovision.tv, Bernard Polidano (image)


Copenhagen, host city of the 2014 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest will be welcoming a further fifteen countries on the stage of the B&W Hallerne, amongst them Malta. The group Firelight and their feel-good entry Coming Home will have the opportunity to open the semi-final this evening and the Mediterranean Island, winner of the 2013 edition of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest is buzzing with excitement.

Throughout the day, several personalities from the local music scene have taken to their social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter including none other than; Claudia Faniello, Gaia Cauchi, Federica Falzon, Maxine Pace, Olivia Lewis, Gianluca BezzinaKaren DeBattista, Miriam Christine, Danica Muscat, Gillian Attard, Fabrizio Faniello and Romina Mamo. 

We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about the 2014 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. Remember that TVM will be broadcasting the semi-final this evening with commentary provided by Carlo Borg Bonaci. A gentle reminder that Antoine Farrugia, Christabelle, Simon Casey and Karen DeBattista will be on hand to micro-blog through the escflashmalta.com social media this evening.

Source: escflashmalta.com

Earlier this afternoon, members of the press took to the B&W Hallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark in order to watch the first dress rehearsal of the second semi-final of the 2014 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. Malta, represented by Firelight and the song Coming Home written by Richard Edwards Micallef were first up on the stage and gave a sublime performance.

Later on this evening, Firelight will have to be on top of their game once more in order to entertain the professional juries across Europe, as unveiled by the European Broadcasting Union during the first week of rehearsals. In the meantime, it is worth noting that Richard Edwards, Michelle Mifsud, Wayne Micallef, Daniel Micallef, Anthony Polidano and Leslie DeCesare, who make up the band Firelight, have been quite busy in recent days, performing in several parties including that of Israel whose Mei Finegold will perform the song Same Heart just after Malta's participation. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about the 2014 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Source: esckaz.com, Daniel D'Anastasi o.b.o TVM/PBS


Late on Sunday edging towards Monday, the Eurofan Cafe was hosting an event with the spotlight being on Malta with Firelight in attendance along with Chiara, a special guest star whose three appearances at the Eurovision Song Contest have been seen by millions all over the world. Whilst promoting her brand new single Mermaid In Love, written by the same team behind Eg a Lif, the Icelandic entry at the 2013 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, she had the opportunity to have a short chat with Radio International's Juergen Boernig.

Sighting nerves as to being a guest at one of the events prior to the actual Eurovision Song Contest, Chiara settled in well and enjoyed the opportunity to meet old friends and wished Firelight and their entry Coming Home written by Richard Edwards Micallef all the very best of luck believing that the song had that special something which could see it succeed in such an international competition. She encouraged the group to enjoy their time, work hard and take as much as possible from the experience. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: Daniel D'Anastasi o.b.o PBS / TVM, Juergen Boernig


Teo, the male singer/songwriter who will represent Belarus with the song Cheesecake at this year's edition of the Eurovision Song Contest took to his Official Twitter Feed this morning to answer some fan-related questions pertaining to his participation in the second semi-final where he will be competing alongside Malta.

escflashmalta.com took the liberty of asking him a direct question with regards to both Firelight and the song Coming Home written by Richard Edwards Micallef, the lead vocalist. He was extremely supportive of the entry, indicating similar ideas to those passed by the foreign media in recent days. Malta whose odds have shortened since rehearsals have begun are set to open the second semi-final. Teo on the other hand will perform towards the latter half of the show, being allocated in slot number #10.

On behalf of editorial team at escflashmalta.com, we would like to thank Teo for his surprise input with regards to the Maltese entry and wish Belarus the very best of luck with their performance on Thursday night. This portal will be running a LIVE Micro-Blog through Facebook and Twitter featuring guests; Karen DeBattista, Simon Casey and Christabelle whilst senior editor, Antoine Farrugia will co-ordinate on behalf of the team. Stay tuned!

Source: Teo's Official Twitter Feed, Daniel D'Anastasi o.b.o PBS/TVM (Image)


Without a shadow of doubt, it has been quite an eventful day for Firelight, the act chosen to represent Malta at this year's edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. Kicking off with an afternoon performance at the Eurovision Village, they will be heading to the Eurofan Cafe later on this evening as the focus will be solely on Malta with the special guest being none other than three time representative, Chiara, who will be releasing her brand new song Mermaid in Love written by the team who brought you Eg a Lif, Iceland's entry in last year's edition of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Chiara will then be followed by Firelight who will be performing a medley of songs, as well as their entry Coming Home which Richard Edwards Micallef has stated to being the first track off the band's debut album to be released after the Eurovision Song Contest. At the Welcome Reception, Firelight had the opportunity to meet up with the Mayor of Copenhagen as well several delegations including those of Albania, Romania, Poland, Georgia, Greece and the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia amongst several others. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: PBS, TVM, Daniel D'Anastasi (Image)


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