December 11, 2019

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Monday, 11 November 2013 10:14

Ukraine: Ruslana Takes Up New Role in Music

The winner of the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest, Ruslana has revealed that she will be taking part in the Ukrainian Version of the Clash of the Choirs. Ruslana will be accompanied by Zlata Ognevich, who represented the same country this year in Malmo. This announcement was no surprise to the Ukrainian publicwith her vast experience in conducting. During 1998 Ruslana hand conducted an orchestra for her first tour Tour across the castles of Ukraine. The following year she had conducted the orchestra during the opening ceremony of the Tavria Games.

Ruslana had also conducted children choir within the Eurovision Song Contest 2005 and recorded the song U rytmi sertci (In the Rhythm of the Heart) and in 2006 she conducted another orchestra within the celebration of 750th anniversary of her hometown L’viv. The audience will see Ruslana in a new role of celebrity coach of the choir. She graduated the L’viv Music Academy Mykola Lysenko in 1995 as choral conductor and was the student of a prominent Ukrainian composer and conductor who is also regarded as the father of the Ukrainian Choral Conducting School, Mykola Kolessa.

With this announcement one can note that 2013 is proving to be a great year for Ruslana following the release for her International Album titled My Boo which is the English version of the same album but was released last year in her native language. Stay tuned to for all of the latest news about former winners of the Eurovision Song Contest as they embark on diverse projects.

Source: Press Release

On Friday the 11th of october, the local council in collaboration with the secretary of parliament and other organizations shall be organizing an activity called Festa Kultura. This will take place at 19:30 in the Ħal Balzan Square. Several cultural activities will take place during this feast making it a very entertaining night for all ages.

There will be stands which will showcase the food and culture of several countries such as Italy, Spain, America, Turkey, Somalia and  Eritrea. Apart from that, there will also be some of the leading artists in the industry including former Eurovision Song Contest representatives; Chiara and Ludwig Galea amongst others. In the meantime, people will also recognise the likes of traditional music known as Għana and other attractions such as Alegria Dance Company, In Guardia Parade and much more. encourages the public to attend, enjoy the celebrations and respect the cultural heritage that the town of Ħal Balzan is proud to offer on behalf of Malta. On the other hand, stay tuned in to this portal as all the latest news about the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2013, Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2014 and the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 will all be published in the coming days, weeks, and months!

Source: Press Release

Published in Local Music News

Ruslana, one of the most popular female performers in Ukraine recently organised an event which was broadcast on television and the internet. Bearing the name Ogo Show, the vocalist wanted to promote her most recent album entitled My Boo (Together) published and distributed by EMI Music. The show, which encompassed the tour supporting the release included twenty-four (24) concerts in total, all comprising of mass games held in the largest cities in Ukraine. Nevertheless, the actual Ogo Show had already been organised in the United States of America, Turkey and Russia as part of Ruslana's international activities.

Several people were involved with records showing around 130,000 participants and 12,000 volunteers which by any standard is relatively large. Ruslana, winner of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2004 with the track Wild Dances on behalf of Ukraine is currently preparing to visit Antwerp in Belgium for this years' edition of the Worldoutgames and the Antwerp Pride. She will not be the only performer there noting that former Eurovision Song Contest participants; Chiara, Glen Vella and Hera Bjork were also included in the line-up. Wild Dances was a major hit in Belgium amassing number one (1) for ten (10) consecutive weeks back in 2004 whilst staying five (5) months in the official singles chart. Stay tuned to for all of the latest news.

Source: Press Release

In the past couple of years, the local music scene has been taking a brand new direction, one which greatly shows the country as one advancing when it comes to the subject of production, and songwriting. Nevertheless, one thing that Malta had been praised for a large number of years is the talent which it has managed to show to the rest of Europe through the Eurovision Song Contest noting that the Public Broadcasting Services has proudly supported the competition since 1991 as well as another three years prior to that. Today, has managed to find a couple of minutes to bring you an interview with one of the artists who has made a name for himself both locally and abroad. I am talking about none other than Ludwig Galea who represented Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2004 alongside Julie Zahra. He talks to us about his experiences in the past and his current career when it comes to music.

Speaking to a number of local artists, it has been somewhat of a characteristic that vocal technique starts early noting that the mind seems to have been set on achieving the best possible training as early as possible. You are one of those artists who also knew what he wanted and thanks to your uncle, Reverend Alberto Borg, the former Maestro Di Cappella of St. John’s Co Cathedral, you managed to grow in talent and courage, achieving a stunning vocal prowess which many aspire to have. Looking back at the beginning of your training, did you think to yourself about having a different plan just in case it did not work out and should you have not been singing, what do you think that you would have been doing instead?

Good question J Frankly speaking it has never occured through my mind what I would have become if I didn’t sing. Nevertheless my family are either musicians or in the Catering business. Funnily enough I love to cook when I have some free time. At one point in life I was thinking of becoming a chef but then again I opted out and went for a Bachelor in Education Course and an ACTL diploma in musical theatre. Music and especially voice is something you’re born with. One cannot study to become a singer. The raw voice has to be there; born with. If you then have it or like in my case my uncle noted it, then yes study and polish.

Your success within the local music industry was mainly based with none other than the wonderful Julie Zahra noting that you attempted to represent Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest for the very first time in 2003 with the track My Number One composed by Philip Vella and penned by Joe Julian Farrugia but despite winning the support of the public, the judges were not as feasible so to speak and therefore sent you in fourth place. You did not give up though and returned the following year with the song On Again .. Off Again composed by Philip Vella and penned by Gerard James Borg. Would could you tell us of your experiences  on both occasions during the actual Malta Song for Europe competition?

I remember clearly when we sang My Number One, it was the first year the maltasong committee opted for the MFCC tent at ta Qali. Atmosphere wise it was amazing having all those people cheering and shouting. Hands on My Number One was one of the favourites to win the contest however that year controversary took over. It was a rainy and cold night with rain entering our dressing rooms. It was the year when televoting wise saw us, Lawrence and Olivia head to head as previously had happened in the Maltese Song festival. Odds wise Lawrence was favourite and fair enough I admit it was his year. Olivia and ourselves still gave him the “Cavallo di Battaglia” but everything then changed when the results came out. We were all shocked in away. Till the very end we didn’t got the grudge of what was happening with the judges points. At one point we were thinking that the least scores were the best and the tens and twelves were the worst ha ha ha ha. That was a festival I will never forget. 

Things changed in 2004, a new committee with fresh ideas and a new chairmperson Ms. Grace Borg. Looking back I believe we had “The Song” . We, alongside Olivia with the beautiful song “Take a look” were favourites to win. Organization wise it was top Knodge. Everything seemed to have fallen in place for us really well. It was Valentine's Day, a romatic atmosphere at the MCC all made the ambiance favourite for us. It was the never ending festival since a particular telephone company had some mishaps with the televoting system and hencforth the night prolonged. Once again it was tight between us and Olivia. Just one point difference till the televoting. Seven thousand votes difference gave us the ticket to Istanbul 2004.

You went to Istanbul in Turkey alongside Julie to represent the country in the prestigious music event and you were actually the very first to be experiencing the semi-final system which had just been implemented. Despite the expectations of an entire nation above your should, the history had proven positive for the country and therefore, it seemed as if nothing could go wrong and indeed it did not, when Malta was announced as a finalist and then ultimately managing to secure a place in the following years’ final as well. Looking back at the trip and the performances, was there anything that you would have done differently in terms of staging?

Let’s start from the changes. Today I would have opted out for the “dance moves” ha ha ha ha ha ha ha having said that I believe everything on both nights went well. We were very well prepared, focused throughout and determined to get the results we’ve got. The Committee’s targets were two; to pass the semi finals and place in the top 12 positions to secure a place for Malta for the following year. Although on the odds we were favourite to pass the semi’s there were speculations that On Again Off Again  was a very difficult song to be sung and surely enough it was. I remeber we had alot of press coming during the first rehearsals to see if there perceptions were correct. Infact they weren’t. Headlines on Eurovision Song Contest sites all said that Malta were singing and hitting top notes. On the semi’s final rehearsal Julie’s mic did not work hence before we started off we were abit concerned however we got the results targeted for.

The very first time that you emerged as a solo performer was actually back in the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza of 2001 with the track Ħalluni Ngħanni composed by Philip Vella and penned by Joe Chircop. It was the beginning of a brand new artist for the country and one who really showed a lot of promise. Despite not ranking in within the top three during the evening, it was definitely one to remember because apart from the excitement of the first time, you were performing in the Maltese language. What could you tell us about the importance of such competitions which support such an important part of the local heritage and would you consider returning to one in the future?

Kanzunetta Indipendenza has made huge advances from 2001. One positive things in this festival was the introduction section of new artists. If I had the chance I would have opted to go for the new comers section rather than the established section. You need to crawl before you walk. This is always my advice to new performers.  New Singers tend to fall for the mistake to participate in the established section without imagining that this can hinder their career. If I will be returning in the future for the festival? No I don’t think so. Having one all national festivals I believe it was best to stop competing. In these kind of festivals nowadays I enjoy mentoring, giving vocal tips to singers and sometimes even judging.
Having already represented Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest as a part of a duet, you have shown the interest to return as a soloist noting that you had submitted two entries to the 2009 edition of the Malta Eurosong making it through to the television stage with the tracks Lament written by Philip Vella and Inferno composed by Philip Vella and penned by Gerard James Borg. Unfortunately, none of the songs made it through to the finals that year and you have not been since. Did you believe that any of the two tracks deserved to make it and is there the possibility to see you back in the national competition in the years to come maybe even, in the next couple of months?

Both tracks were a  do or die songs especially Lament which was a crossover between Classical and Ghana and sung in Maltese. There’s nothing to hide it didn’t work for the festival period. Lament is still one of my favourite tracks because of it’s depth, music wise and twist. Marc, as you are aware, every year, I’m offered songs from local and foreign composers but I tend to step back. Will I compete again? “Never say never”.
During the years, you have not only managed to build a reputation as an outstanding performer in the Maltese Islands but also in a number of foreign countries such as Bulgaria and Turkey amongst others. The fact of the matter remains that you have quite a particular timbre and people have been able to hear that on a more consistent basis through a number of local productions in which you perform tracks from musicals and normally conducted with live music, normally enthrilling the people each time. What are your plans when it comes to music over the next couple of months and will we be hearing any new material sometime soon?
Musical theatre and semi classical were always my “Forte”. In the months to come I’m already booked for a number of local shows without revealing anything in particular. They include those by the Spiteri Lucas Brothers entitled Kanta Napoli and Opera vs Pop under the direction of the Maltese Philharmonic Orchestra, a Christmas Project in December after our (myself and Chiara) hit track Ħelu Bambin and back to The Netherlands in the pipe line too. These apart from television and Sas-Sitta is what I love to do. There’s no such feeling than seeing your face on posters or billboards abroad  and that of performing with a live orchestra and performing to people.
Saturday afternoon during the winter has become notable for television audiences in Malta especially due to the fact that they would be watching Sas-Sitta, the entertainment programme hosted by Debbie Scerri and Ray Attard and in which you one of the resident performers alongside the same aforementioned host, Debbie Scerri as well as Neville Refalo. How does it feel to be able to perform with a band weekly and what could you tell us about your recent involvement within the selection process known as Passport 2 Indifest in which the winners was none other than Simone Gauci, whom prize was a place in the final of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza which is taking place on the 18th September on The Granaries in Floriana?

This goes back years ago. Me and Mark Spiteri Lucas have been friends since age thirteen. Brought up in Valletta, frequented the same friends I mean the Spiteri lucas are like family to me. Although I had previously worked the band I was officially part of it back in 2004 hence now it’s been eight beautifull years together. Like everyone else we all have different characters and have our ups and downs but music wise we’re really tight together. Practice and expercience makes good quality of music. When Mark Spiteri Lucas approached me to be the chief judge for passport to indifest I knew I had to be really though and disciplined with the other singers. I was critised of being sometimes too harsh with the participants but as they say one must be cruel to be nice. Although I knew that the televoting was going to play it’s game, I had to put my foot down to try and choose the best. I did not make it easy on them but as I always told them, if you’re in the final the festiaval it’s self would not be easy. One have to battle stage fright, the crowd, the huge stage and effects and established artists  who have been singing for years. The person chosen has to deal with these conditions and my responsabilty was to choose a person which can handle it. Personally I would have prefered if our singers competed with the new comers section because things might go better but rules are rules.  
Would you like to say anything to your fans and our readers at
Everytime I address my fans I love to thank them and show my gratitude for loving me, my performances, music and personality and for letting me do what I love to do most..... Music. Thank you so much! I really appreciate you support.
Published in Interviews

There's no business like show business indeed and the music industry does not sleep at any times noting that artists have to put in the effort to succeed otherwise the achievements will be somewhat minimal. It is imperative to note that sometimes, the public have the ball in their court when it comes to the coming together of an individual career and this very much seems to be the case with Julie Zahra, whom many will surely recall as being a former representative for Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest joining then partner Ludwig Galea for a stunning rendition of the track On Again ... Off Again which reached the finals finishing in twelfth place when competing in Istanbul, Turkey. Nevertheless, Julie started her career as a soloist before joining forced as a duet coming up with some great tracks along the way.

Going back twelve to thirteen years ago as the dawn of a new millennium was breaking in, Julie Zahra had competed in the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza, Festival Internazzjonali tal-Kanzunetta Maltija and also the Malta Song for Europe on her own but unfortunately, it seems that she did not hit the right notes throughout failing to impress the public at hand in those days. The first time in this period that she made a nationwide appearance was during the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza in 2000 with the track Jum Wara Jum (Day after Day) composed by Renè Mamo and penned by Walter Micallef. She would ultimately return with her original composition in 2001 as she entered the Malta Song for Europe competition with the track Eternity composed by Renè Mamo and penned by Joe Julian Farrugia. Both songs unfortunately did not score well in the long term but nevertheless, they did prove that Julie would be a force to be reckoned with noting the strong chops of Eleanor Cassar and the sweetness of Karen Polidano in her vocal range.

During the year, she would ultimately have to fill in for Adelina Attard in the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza due to the fact that the original singer was stuck abroad after the tragedy of the Twin Towers in America. The track entitled Ma Jixjieħ Qatt (He Will Never Get Old) was composed by Renato Briffa and penned by Joe Chircop. Nevertheless, things did look up for the artist making the finals of the Festival Internazzjonali tal-Kanzunetta Maltija with the song Ħdejk (Near You) composed by Renè Mamo and penned by Joe Julian Farrugia. The fact of the matter remains that Julie had a lot of faith in the young composer, one who would work with a number of local artists including the likes of Fiona and Annabelle Debono. Her last appearance as a solo performer in a local competition would come in the Malta Song for Europe of 2002 when she performed the track Secret to Share composed by Marco Debono and penned by Fiona Cauchi. It was not her track originally and she took it up because it's original performer had another two songs to perform and that was the limit.

Julie Zahra did join forced with Ludwig and finished fourth in the Malta Song for Europe in 2003 with the track My Number One composed by Philip Vella and penned by Joe Julian Farrugia before winning with the aforementioned On Again ... Off Again composed by Philip Vella and penned by Gerard James Borg. The duo went onto achieve many accolades in international competitions together but once they both went their separate ways, they seem to be looking more into their individual niches once more noting that whilst in the United Kingdom, Julie has been exploring her Jazz side coming up with tracks such as No One In Heaven. One has to add that such a style would definitely be welcome in the local music scene should it be taken up. Stay tuned to for more of such features.

Source: escflashmalta, YouTube

Published in Local Music News