September 22, 2019

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Gianluca, a recently graduated medical doctor, will be representing Malta at the upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest but prior to jetting off for the esteemed event in a couple of weeks time, he had teamed up with the National Blood Transfusion Service and the team of Xarabank for a day of events outside the National Blood Transfusion Centre in St.Luke’s Square, G’Mangia. The aim, generally speaking is for the public to give blood and aid increase the supply which has been running on a relatively low amount in recent weeks. The eveng is taking place today between 08:00 and 15:00 CET.

A number of special guests will be making their way to greet the present crowd noting that fan favourites, Gorġ & Pawlu known for their hit track Hot & Famous will be present as well as former Eurovision Song Contest representative; Kurt Calleja whose song This Is The Night took Malta back into the final for the very first time in two years. Gianluca, being a doctor as mentioned above will be assisting the nurses and doctors present yet nevertheless, will surely bring a smile to those present during the day especially with his charisma clearly always viable for those to see.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHBahrZQty0

In a Press Release issued by the Public Broadcasting Services in collaboration with the National Blood Transfusion Service, it is stated that 'anyone interested in donating blood is advised to eat lightly and drink water before visiting the blood transfusion centre.  Alcohol and food that contains high fat content, such as junk food should be avoided before the blood donation as this may impact the results of the blood tests. Blood donors will be required to present their ID Card before the blood transfusion takes place.'

In the meantime, Tomorrow, co-written by Boris Cezek and Dean Muscat will be representing the country in the sixth slot of the second semi-final. According to bookmakers, our entry is one of the top eight within the semi-final and should therefore qualify. Gianluca has listed the Icelandic entry Ég á líf performed by Eyþór Ingi Gunnlaugsson as his favourite entry. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news about the upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest as soon as it becomes available. 

Source: Television Malta

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WmJXIR9xtw

Published in Local Music News
Friday, 26 April 2013 01:50

Malta: Reviewing the track 'Tomorrow'

Martin Isherwood from the United Kingdom, Sharon Vaughn from the United States and Stano Simor from the Czech Republic represent different music genres but nevertheless, their tastes hover and they have predominantly agreed with each other as they analyse and assess the entries competing in this years' Eurovision Song Contest. The ten (10) qualifiers as decided through their respective outcome will be revealed on the day of the actual semi-final to increase the suspense.  In the second semi-final, seventeen (17) countries will be in contention and in slot number six (6), the producers have decided to put none other than Malta represented by the Public Broadcasting Services. The tiny nation will be participating in the esteemed international competition for the twenty-sixth time. Gianluca, a first time participant in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest was the winner following a cumulative public and jury vote with his entry Tomorrow co-written by Boris Cezek and Dean Muscat. 

Although fully committed to what he describes as his vocational calling, music has always served as a good break for the singing doctor, who has very adeptly found a balance between his daily ward rounds and his passion for music. Gianluca is the front man of a local band, whose dynamic performances and recent single releases have propelled it to the forefront of the island’s music scene. While funk and indie elements characterise the band’s distinctive sound, Bezzina draws on a wider variety of influences as a solo artist. He is mostly inspired by Michael Bubé’s brassy standards, John Mayer’s modern blues, the nu-folk style of Mumford and Sons and Noah and the Whale, while also being deeply captivated by Chris Tomlin’s contemporary Christian music. Gianluca is a regular singer with his prayer group and has also spent time doing voluntary work among children in Turin, Cairo and Palermo, with the sisters of Mother Theresa. 

He started off his music career by playing the piano accordion, eventually shifting his focus to singing in various charity concerts around Malta, including the popular biannual Voices concerts and Rockestra, a yearly event organised by the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and held under the Patronage of the President of Malta. It was through one of these charity events that songwriters Boris Cezek and Dean Muscat approached Gianluca with the intention of collaborating. Originally intended to be a radio hit, Tomorrow's feel-good factor combined with its simple yet meaningful lyrics, possessed all the necessary ingredients to take it to the Eurovision stage this year. Gianluca looks forward to broaden his experience through the Eurovision Song Contest as he feels it will give his career greater potential for growth and exposure, while allowing him to make further contacts with foreign music professionals.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5r2LI4pMzw

In the leadup to the Eurovision Song Contest, Malta has always had a selection procedure but nevertheless, it has been altered throughout the years to reflect a similar system to the one used internationally. This years' edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest was one of the best in terms of both quality of production as well as competing tracks and several could have represented the nation abroad. The overwhelming public favourite was Kevin Borg with the song Needing You co-written with Thomas Thornholm, Simon Gribbe, Danne Attlerud and Michael Clauss. This was the song which also won the public vote and spent a couple of days at number #1 following it's release on iTunes. The second runner-up slot went to Davinia Pace with the track Betrayed composed by Elton Zarb to the lyrics of Matt Mercieca (Muxu). Davinia will be joining escflashmalta.com to comment on the second semi-final which will see Gianluca competing. 

Malta has an extremely rich history at the Eurovision Song Contest, quite similar to Iceland for that matter noting that the small Mediterranean Island is yet to win the prestigious competition despite being the first runner-up on two occasions in the past decade, the first time in 2002 thanks to Ira Losco and her entry 7th Wonder composed by Philip Vella and penned by Gerard James Borg and the second time in 2005 with Chiara and her self-penned track Angel. Apart from that, Malta has also finished in the second runner-up position twice, in 1992 with Mary Spiteri and her song Little Child composed by Georgina Abela to the lyrics of Ray Mahoney and in 1998 with Chiara and her entry The One That I Love composed by Jason Paul Cassar to the lyrics of Sunny Aquilina.  Last year, Malta returned to the final following a two year absence with the stunning semi-final performance of This Is The Night by Kurt Calleja.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 83%

Martin Isherwood: Nice idea for the title but a bit clever and hard to grasp. Good lyrics. Nice voice if slightly unusual sibilant sound. Great tune. Very hooky. Still reminds me of the Housemartins.

Sharon Vaughn: Hands down my favourite. This song is magical and the singer is the perfect vessel to carry it. Best of Luck!

Stano Simor: Gianluca was one of my favourite artists in this years' national selection, one which I follow closely prior to the Eurovision Song Contest. The track itself is very positive and will surely help Malta progress to the final for the second consecutive year. The caribbean sound is something specific and one which I very much enjoy to listen to. 

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WmJXIR9xtw

Published in Editorials
Thursday, 25 April 2013 00:30

Malta: Video Interview with Gianluca (2013)

Gianluca, the representative on behalf of Malta at the upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest with the song Tomorrow co-written by Boris Cezek and Dean Muscat has just concluded his promotional tour across Europe. He had the pleasure of visiting a number of countries including; Armenia, The Netherlands, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and the United Kingdom respectively. The media was present at every event and our colleagues at Radio International led by Juergen Boernig who is the escflashmalta.com Head of Communications spoke to our representative during the Eurovision In Concert within The Netherlands.

Despite being an apparent newcomer to the local music scene, Gianluca rose to fame relatively quickly having managed to come out of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest as the victor ahead of artists such as Kevin Borg whose presence was well respected by the crowd. Juergen basically asked Gianluca of his plans in the lead up to the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest whilst also discussing the alternate version of Tomorrow which features all of his family members. The first time that it was performed in public was during the programme, Xarabank aired on Television Malta and following the positive public reaction, it was thought best to record it and include it on the promotional disc which could be purchased on iTunes

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WmJXIR9xtw

One of the brand new initiative launched by the official website of the international competition is live video chats with the competing artists where fans and editors alike pose questions. Gianluca will be the one who has the honour today and as a matter of fact, Stella Floras from esctoday as well as John Stanton from eurovisionary will be joining Victor Escudero to pose the most difficult questions. The public are also urged to put their queries through by following the respective link. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news with regards to the participation of Gianluca as he takes to the stage of the Eurovision Song Contest on the 16th May with the track Tomorrow which as mentioned before is co-written by Dean Muscat and Boris Cezek.

Source: escflashmalta.com, radiointernational.tv

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

Published in Interviews
Thursday, 25 April 2013 00:21

Finland: Reviewing the track 'Marry Me'

The editorial board at escflashmalta.com always has the interests of the readers at heart and for that simple reason, we have once more engaged a series of music professionals to listen to the entries competing in the Eurovision Song Contest, pass their judgement and assess them by a points system. The full result of their qualifying countries will be released on the eve of the respective semi-final. In the second semi-final, seventeen (17) countries will be in contention and in slot number five (5), the producers have decided to put none other than Finland, one of the longest competing countries. YLE, the broadcaster responsible for the participation of Finland organised a national selection which saw Krista Siegfrids finish at the winner with the track Marry Me which she co-wrote alongside Erik Nyholm, Kristoffer Karlsson, Jessica Lundström.

Krista Siegfrids came to prominence following her energetic performances at the tv-show The Voice of Finland. Subsequently, the multitalented Krista has taken Finland by a storm, winning the nation’s adoration with her catchy tunes, extravagant and stylish shows and her outspoken and sunny personality. This is a woman who dares and does according to her own catch phrase more is more! Krista Siegfrids and her fabulous #TeamDingDong are representing Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest with the super catchy song Marry Me! When I was five, I was totally obsessed by Carola’s Fångad Av En Stormvind. I used to sing and perform it all the time! My favourite was the wind machine and I used the hair dryer as one!

”We have this ongoing party going on! Happiness, craziness, open-mindedness and rainbow colours! Everybody is welcome, just join #TeamDingDong! We have the best parties because we love everybody! You gotta live life to the max and be the unique great you that you are!” Krista states. Krista combines music, dancing and acting in an unique way. She has performed in musicals and cabarets as well as many gigs and shows around the Nordic countries. The show is important. I want to entertain and it is important that everybody is having fun! The bigger the better, the crazier even better! This ever-energetic sunny whirlwind and #TeamDingDong is preparing for a true blast at the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö, Sweden.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0u9dsvMZKs

”This is a dream come true for me. I have been a big fan since I was five and I have followed ESC every year. It is the biggest and craziest party in the world and we will make it even bigger and crazier! #TeamDingDong will make Europe go DingDong!” Krista’s debut album is released on the 10th of May. ”The record is one big party! It’s energetic pop-rock with many party tunes. Different themes and strong tracks. Music that makes your feet and your mind move!” In 2011, Finland managed to reach the final of the Eurovision Song Contest with a third place finish but unfortunately the result was not replicated in the final and this gave the country a brand new perception, one to change the system of selection. Thus came, Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu which includes three introductory shows, three elimination shows and a grand final. 

The early favourites; Mikael Saari and Diandra finished in second and third place respectively with Krista obtaining a landslide tele-vote. Finland has been one of the longest contributors to the Eurovision Song Contest having entered the event for the very first time in 1961 and appearing a total of forty-six (46) times, forty-two (42) of them within the final. Their only victory came back in 2006 with the group Lordi and the song Hard Rock Hallelujah sweeping both the semi-final and the final respectively. Since their victory, the results have improved and the country has only failed to qualify twice, two being in the last two years including in 2012 when Pernilla Karlsson took to the stage with the track Nar Jag Blundar, finishing in twelfth place. 

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 87%

Martin Isherwood: Good strong direct title, although not sure what our more liberally minded sisters will make of the lyrics! Interesting if slightly unusual vocal. Bells always either mean Christmas or weddings so I suppose that works. Got a good contemporary feel to the production. Hints of Katy Perry. Ok overall. You never know.

Sharon Vaughn: This is the type of track that truly has the feel of a winner and could definitely be a radio hit!

Stano Simor: Krista is very good performer, singer. Generally speaking, this song has the hit factor and that is pretty much evident. Nice gimmicks and modern production. Clearly one of the best songs of semifinal. Keeping fingers crossed for this one, so good luck!

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdU02F9lT2g

Published in Editorials

L'Essenziale, co-written by Roberto Casalino, Francesco De Benedettis and Marco Mengoni, the latter of which also offers the vocal prowess will be representing Italy at the upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. This is one of the most popular tracks in the nation at the moment, having won the Sanremo competition and ranking at number #1 on the singles chart for more than a month. In recent weeks, he has been to several television and radio broadcasters in Italy promoting both the single as well as the sophomore album entitled #PRONTOACORRERE but he made time to attend  the Eurovision In Concert within The Netherlands where fans and media alike swarmed him as one of the favourites in this years' international showcase. 

Eric Lehmann, President of OGAE Luxembourg and one of the several collaborators of Radio International and escflashmalta.com had the opportunity to speak to the renowned artists about his upcoming participation and the manner in which the fans have taken a like to his entry as well as charming appearance. L'Essenziale is currently predicted to finish in seventh place according to the Bookmakers but several polls are ranking it within the top five and considering that Italy will most likely have the backing of the professional jury, it will all boil down to the size of his European fanbase. Marco Mengoni rose to fame after winning the X Factor a couple of years back, followed by a second runner-up finish at Sanremo and of course, his victory in the same aforementioned competition this year. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news as soon as it becomes available. 

Source: escflashmalta.com, radiointernational.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrwCejoeD60

Published in Interviews
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 05:51

Azerbaijan: Reviewing the track 'Hold Me'

escflashmalta.com has enlisted three individuals from different music industries to help analyse and classify the tracks competing in the second semi-final of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest noting that they come from the United Kingdom, United States and the Czech Republic respectively. In the earlier section of the draw comes Azerbaijan, which has been drawn by the producers in slot number four (4) following the performance of the FYR Macedonia. The idea of the producers is to have as many different genres as possible spread out in order to keep the competition flowing both for the public and the jury alike. Ictimai Television, broadcaster for Azerbaijan will be represent by Farid Mammadov whose entry Hold Me is composed by Dimitrios Kontopoulos with lyrics by John Ballard and Ralph Charlie Al Fahel.

Farid, age 21, has effortlessly proven that he is one of the finest vocalists in Azerbaijan. To win the national final Farid provided a touching performance of the song Hold Me a very strong romantic ballad. The song is composed by Dimitrios Kontopoulos, who previously produced Eurovision songs for Ani Lorak, Sakis Rouvas and had 27 number one hits in Greek national airplay charts. The main source of inspiration to Farid has been Azerbaijani music as well soul, jazz, and pop. He was raised on Mugham, a form of traditional Azerbaijani folk music and very complex vocal art. Meanwhile, since the age of eight Farid got engaged to the soul and jazz music, in particular Stevie Wonder. At his very first concert he performed Wonder's all-time-hit I Just Called to Say I Love You. He is also a talented songwriter. At the semi-final of the national selection Farid performed his own song Gel Yanima (Come to Me).

His competitive spirit is also shown in Farid's strong passion for sports. He enjoys participating in freestyle wrestling, which is regarded as the Azerbaijan's national sport, and Brazilian martial art capoeira. There is no doubt that he inherited sporting abilities from his parents. Farids mother was a silver medalist for the Soviet Union in gymnastics. Not to mention both parents are also into music with Farid's mum playing piano and his father used to sing and play keyboards in a rock band. Farid was honoured to work with such outstanding mentors in his country as Vagif Gerayzade and Aybeniz Hashimova before he became a mature solo singer. Although it was his dream to sing for Azerbaijan, he previously had never participated in national selections to the Eurovision Song Contest, as he felt like the time was not right for him.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yai3swIZsuQ

Over the last few years he has developed his singing ability to the point where he was ready to succeed. Farid managed to win not only the jury vote in the final, he also gained the highest number of televotes from the audience during the qualifying rounds. In autumn 2012, as many other finalists of the Azerbaijani national selection, Farid took part in the casting process for the new international music talent show The Big Stage (Böyük Səhnə). In the show top-rated songwriters, producers, choreographers and vocal coaches from Azerbaijan, USA, the UK, Greece, Sweden and Ukraine worked closely together to create a very special artistic environment for young performers with the only aim to polish their skills and help the emerging talents. There at the creative campus of the show Farid came to the Dimitrios Kontopoulos' attention - the composer of Hold Me.

In 2008, Azerbaijan entered the Eurovision Song Contest for the very first time and managed to finish in a respectable eighth place with the song Day After Day performed by Elnur & Samir but things have only got better and that remains to be their worst result thus far noting that they managed a second runner-up finish in 2009 with Always sung by another duet, this time being Aysel and Arash and then ultimately finishing on top of the leaderboard in 2011 with the song Running Scared sung by Ell & Nikki. They will be hoping that their success within the top ten will continue this year and it has no reason not too considering that Farid is an extremely competent performer with the song being relatively strong. Malta and Azerbaijan have built a strong bond over the past couple of years and therefore, it is not surprising that Farid will be stopping by Malta this coming weekend.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 87%

Martin Isherwood: Very strong chorus. Lyrics works well. Very strong voice. Not sure about the key change - feels a little bit forced. Love the production once the track is in fully. Hints of 'Glorious' Andreas Johnson or Robbie Williams Millennium in the chorus. Great song!

Sharon Vaughn: There are not a lot of words to describe this song except that it is pretty much Eurovision by numbers but nevertheless, done in extremely well, bliss!

Stano Simor: Azerbaijan gives you traditionally depends on a strong representation and promotion. Hold Me has a strong melody, simple text that will be easily understood by the audience including countries of the far east, which is a strong demographic when it comes to this competition. The song has been seemingly written for Farid's vocals as it fits him perfectly. This should get Azerbaijan a very strong result, not in the semi-final but in the final!

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5egVzkZGTg

Published in Editorials

escflashmalta.com has enlisted the help of six individuals from the music industry to help analyse and assess the entries competing in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest taking place in Sweden following the victory of Euphoria as performed by Loreen. In the second semi-final, there will be seventeen (17) performances in total noting that there is one more competing country than in the first semi-final. Following San Marino and Latvia who will be perform first and second respectively, comes slot number three (3) featuring the FYR Macedonia. As a matter of fact, the state broadcaster, MKRTV will be represented by the song Pred Da Se Razdeni co-written by Darko Dimitrov, Lazar Cvetkovski, Simeon Atanasov and Magdalena Cvetkovska with vocals provided by none other than a duet in the form of Esma & Lozano.

Esma started her career when she was a schoolgirl. First she performed in all school events, and one day she was nominated by the Principal of the school to represent the school on one very popular radio show called “The microphone is yours”, organised by Radio Skopje. That was in 1957 and Esma took the first prize in the competition and she received a large sum of money, but in that time of happiness she was also upset because she didn’t tell her parents where she was going, and was ashamed to tell them, and was afraid that her mother would find the prize money. In the end, Esma told the truth to her family. In that competition she was seen by Stevo Teodosievski, very famous musician and composer, who worked in Radio Skopje. He was fascinated by her voice, and came to her house asking her parents to allow her to be his student and a member of Ensemble Teodosievski. Her career expanded rapidly and she became very famous all over the world. In 1960 she performed in Paris Olympia.

 In 1958 she recorded her first record, with the legendary song Zoshto Si Me Majko Rodila, and after that her greatest hit Chaje Shukarije. In 1976 in India, in a city of Chandigarh, on the First Gypsy World Festival, she was crowned as the Queen of Gypsy. That certificate was given by Indira Gandi. Esma has been awarded with many, many awards and certificates. Vlatko Lozanoski - Lozano is a Macedonian singer from Kičevo - F.Y.R. Macedonia. His first public appearance was as a participant in the talent show Mak Stars (September 2007 - May 2008). A month later when the show was over, he won the Grand Prix on the first Macedonian Radio Festival called Starry Night where he sang the song Take Me Back, that was his first official single. In October 2008, singing only his third official single At The Time If Time Could Stand Still, Lozano was awarded, by the jury, the Debut Prize at MakFest, the most prestigious music festival in F.Y.R. Macedonia.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7C1r46GWjI 

Two days later, on the final evening, Lozano won the MakFest Grand Prix, awarded by the audience. The Sun Doesn’t Shine On Me was his next single that became his greatest hit and it was officially declared the biggest Macedonian radio hit of the year, having won the first place at the Macedonian Radio Festival Mars in November 2008. In February 2009, he participated in F.Y.R. Macedonia's national selection for the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest singing his fifth single Close To Me and was placed fourth. In July, he participated on the Slavyanski Bazar Festival in Vitebsk, Belarus and won the second prize. Next, Lozano performed I'm Your Angel along with Magdalena Cvetkoska on the Golden Wings Festival in Moldova, and they won the second prize. He was also awarded the Best Male Voice. His first album named Lozano was released in early 2010. In February 2010 he participated in the Macedonian national selection for the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest singing I’m Flying Towards You. 

FYR Macedonia has been competing in the Eurovision Song Contest since 1998 and this will ultimately be their thirteenth participation. MKRTV, the broadcaster decided to select their entry internally for the second consecutive year following the success of Kaliopi whose entry Crno i Belo finished in thirteenth place with seventy-one points, making it the second best result for the nation. Following four (4) consecutive non-qualifications, it was pretty much required to keep the public interested and therefore, one will be keen to see whether the Macedonian, Romani track will manage to take the nation into the final for the second consecutive year. Since the introduction of the semi-final system back in 2004, the country had always managed to get through to the final stage of the competition by virtue of finishing in either tenth or ninth place and therefore, scraping through. The system of voting changed in 2008 just when the song Let Me Love You by Tamar, Vrcak and Adrian was performed to the general public. When both jury and tele-voting came in, that being 2011, the results weren't improving until last year.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 60%

Martin Isherwood: wish I taken languages at college. Good strong male voice - although gets a bit less predictable when the female vocal joins the track Good intro - sneaks in. Unusual feel change! Not sure what the middle section is for. Bit too much of a mix of ideas and feels for it to work well.

Sharon Vaughn: An awkward mix of genres. Too many to keep the song from being fractured. The attempt to make it modern detracted from the beauty of the song and the power of the male vocal.

Stano Simor: A typical balkan song with a number of classical interventions, somewhat well adjusted to the tastes of a European audience. The language is somewhat intriguing because it finds itself at a great advantage and is in contrast to other Eastern European languages, for the simple reason that it is easy on the ear. This is not for the first place in the semifinals, but if FYR Macedonia work on their promotion, it certainly has a chance to advance to the final.

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LwGGo5ZfF8

Published in Editorials

Alyona Lanskaya, the third female to represent Belarus at the Eurovision Song Contest in ten participations noting that male soloists have somewhat dominated the music scene. It is worth noting that in ten participations, only Dmitry Koldun and Work Your Magic achieved a respectable sixth place within the final with a mixed-gender group managing to make the final a couple of years later with the song Butterfly. escflashmalta.com with the help of Olivier Vanhoutte, part of the Belarussian Delegation this year has managed to get in touch with the female artist and speak to her about a variety of things including last years' attempt, this years' entry and what lies ahead in the future as a vocalist.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane to last year, when you were initially selected by the public and a professional jury to represent Belarus in the Eurovision Song Contest with the song All My Life, a beautiful ballad which would have truly stood out. Nevertheless, there were a number of complications and you were subsequently disqualified. What was the whole reasoning behind the affair and what gave you the courage to return after what had happened?

Well I loved All My Life in last years Eurofest but I believe that everything that happens is happening for a reason. It didn’t break at all my wish to return to national selection and I’m very happy of course to represent now Belarus in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest.

The return of the Eurofest competition has somewhat proven to be quite successful into acquiring a brand new audience for the Eurovision Song Contest with the general aim rather being at selecting the artist rather than a whole package. In the selection process, you performed the original track entitled Rhythm of Love which won over the public and a professional jury. Did you believe that it was required to select a different song despite the positive comments it was receiving from the fans of the international showcase?

I was obviously very happy to win National Selection last December with the song Rhythm of love penned by belarussian composer Leonid Shirin. I like to perform the song a lot but we had made always made it clear from the start that if we found a more appropriate song for the European audience we would change it. When Solayoh was proposed by Belgian composer Marc Paelinck along with several other songs, a special committee decided with a big majority that this was it, this should be the song to be sung in Malmö.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3O3pyNbnGs

A thumping beat, shirtless dancers and a flamenco infused genre could somewhat be the best idea of describing the chosen track Solayoh to the audience who will be watching you closely as you represent Belarus in this years’ edition of the competition. The track which has been written by Marc Paelinck and Martin King is quite visual in terms of sound and as a matter of fact, people have compared it to past entries from Turkey. What was your initial idea when you heard the track and what are your plans for the performance?

When I heard the song for the first time, I loved it a lot and knew this was a song with a big potential for the Eurovision. I was very happy that Marc Paelinck and Martin King proposed it to me to be sung at Eurovision. It has indeed these oriental influences and I’m honoured that its put along to many other successful entries from Turkey and others. About the stage act I promise you a great show on stage which is currently being preparing by Serbian choreographer ‘Zile’ Aleksa Raifovic from the Zilenium group in Belgrade. But to know all details you’ll have to wait for Sweden as otherwise it wouldn’t be a surprise anymore! (laughing)

Marc Paelinck is a seasoned songwriter in the music industry having written tracks for Sonny O’Brien, Dana Winner, Xandee, Sergio & The Ladies as well as Maltese songstress, Chiara. It is somewhat pivotal for a composer to have been within the competition beforehand and this is one who boasts not one or two participations by three in total, having always been in the final despite achieving mid-table results. What went through your mind when knowing that you would be working with Marc Paelinck and are you planning any future collaboration?

We started first collaborations shortly after last years Eurofest and have recorded some songs that will also be featured on my upcoming international album. Of course future collaborations are definitely considered. Marc is such a good composer and I’m sure we can reach a good result. Every year is different so I am looking only at myself and our performance, we are working very hard to give Belarus again a place in the final and then who knows what can happen!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esqspmVjw-A

One of the obstacles that Belarus has come to encounter throughout the years is surely the semi-final portion having only managed to qualify on two (2) out of nine (9) occasions thus far making is one of the most unsuccessful countries to participate. Nevertheless, according to the fans and the bookmakers, it seems that all that might soon be coming to an end with this particular entry for the simple reason that people have fallen heads over heels for it. Why do you think that the nation has not done well on a consistent basis and how do you view perception on your entry?

I have always supported the previous entries for Belarus and even went to Baku last year to cheer for Litesound, I’m very patriotic so it’s normal to do that. Why Belarus didn’t qualify many times till now I don’t know really. As I told before every Eurovision is different with other conditions and other competition. So I am mostly concentrating on the current moment and working hard to get back to the final on 18th May.

You will be taking part in the first semi-final of this years’ Eurovision Song Contest which ultimately comprises of sixteen (16) entries in total, one less than the second semi-final due to what was coined by the international media as a massive pull out. Nevertheless, the competition is still strong and one of your main exponents is surely Anouk with Birds on behalf of The Netherlands. Have you heard any of the other competing entries, even the Maltese one, Tomorrow which is taking part in the second semi-final and how do you view their chances of success?

To be honest I didn’t really have the time yet to listen carefully to all the other songs as my schedule is so tight with preparations and promotion for the ESC. I have indeed heard that Anouk who seems to be a big name in western Europe will represent Netherlands and looking forward to hear the song shortly. Unfortunately I didn’t hear Gianluca’s song ‘Tomorrow’, but you have made me curious so I’ll be doing this as soon as possible.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HdT6JuaixU

Prior to the official announcement of Solayoh as to being your entry for this years’ international spectacle, there were a lot of rumours going about with regards to songs received from foreign songwriters, all of which would have done Belarus proud. This is definitely a vote of confidence in your vocal capabilities. What are your plans following the Eurovision Song Contest and do you intend to continue building your relationship with the German based record label, CAP-Sounds?

Yes true we got several proposals from both belarussian as well as foreign composers, but in the end there was a very large majority to chose Solayoh! As you likely know the international album is almost ready and will be released the coming months, without a specific date set yet. I was very happy that for the very first in Belarussian participation the song was signed to the german record label Cap-Sounds who has already experience on Eurovision with several maltese entries amonst but you surely know.

Would you like to say anything to your fans and our readers on escflashmalta.com?

Hello my dear Maltese fans and readers of escflashmalta.com! I hope that you will enjoy the upcoming Eurovision to the fullest! Be happy also in your daily life, make the most out of it. And in case you have a less good day, then one advice: listen to my song Solayoh, I’m sure you will be in a good mood again! Big kisses from Minsk and hope to see you all soon! Grazzi Hafna for this interview!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4S4m9R-ffA

Published in Interviews

Yesterday, we were proud to announce that Martin Isherwood from the United Kingdom, Sharon Vaughn from the United States and Stano Simor from Slovakia have been relatively busy in these past couple of weeks listening to the tracks competing in the second semi-final of this years' Eurovision Song Contest. The show which will comprise of seventeen (17) tracks in total is set to be quite intriguing and thus we move on to the slot number two (2) which will be featuring San Marino whose entry entitled Crisalide (Vola) composed by Ralph Siegel to the lyrics of Mauro Balestri, is vocally performed by Valentina Monetta. SMRTV, the broadcaster responsible for the participation of San Marino in the esteemed music competition is hoping to qualify for the very first time.

Valentina Monetta is representing the republic of San Marino for the second year in succession, after having just missed out on qualification for the Grand Final in Baku last year. Valentina Monetta was born on the 1st of March,1975 in the Republic of San Marino. She is the second of two children, her father is from Calabria and her mother is San Marinese. Monetta spent her childhood in San Marino where she attended primary and secondary schools. She then graduated from the high school for arts “Giovanni da Rimini” in Rimini. In her childhood she discovered the love for music, listening tirelessly to various musical styles, creating and forming over time a specific taste. Although she has not dealt with an academic background, she had studied piano and singing by herself, reaching the same professional high quality. 

Starting from 1995, she has been working with the best local musicians, becoming a versatile singer with a great talent for improvisation; her voice is both colorful and versatile, ranging from jazz to melodic Italian, from soul to R&B and pop. Monetta's artistic versatility has allowed her to deal with varied work experience as a singer, actress and presenter, and she even composed the music and written the lyrics to her first solo album, a celebratory work of personal and professional balance, releasing the CD Il Mio Gioco Preferito recorded with the trio My Funky Valentine. In 1995, Monetta started an adventure with her first band Tiberio, and soon thereafter formed the Parafunky. She was also part of the group 2Black, as well as forming the female vocal duo Harem'B. In 2002, with the project Charme, she released the single Sharp, and collaborated with the band Bluesmobile.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7IoR_5HPQ0

In March 2012 she worked with Fabrizio Raggi staging the show Ma Che Differenza Fa, a tribute to Ornella Vanoni in which Monetta shows her singing and acting talent. In August 2012, still directed by Raggi, she was the protagonist of Camelia, a musical commissioned by UNICEF, in which Valentina presented her songs together with covers of some great Italian singers and songwriters. Her most recent experiences are all with her live band My Funky Valentine. Performing live for Monetta is crucial, as she really loves the stage and having contact with the public.She is influenced by her musical idols Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Joni Mitchell, Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige, Erika Badu, Caterina Valente and Ornella Vanoni. It is important to note that San Marino have once more opted for an internal selection and one which was made very carefully it seems noting that vocalists presented several bids to represent the micro-state.

This will be the fourth participation of San Marino at the Eurovision Song Contest and the third in succession noting that their debut came back in 2008 when the group, Miodio took to the stage for a performance of the song Complice which only managed five (5) points, finishing in a disappointing nineteenth position. They disappeared, withdrawing due to the negative outcome, only to return three years later with Senit whose entry Stand By was predicted to fair well and possibly even qualify. The juries beleived in the song and ultimately gave it a boost but the public did not agree and thus the track finished in sixteenth place with thirty-four (34) points. Last years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest almost saw to the qualification of the country with Valentina Monetta and her entry known as The Social Network Song. The track managed thirty-one (31) points and a fourteenth place but received massive exposure in the lead up to the international spectacle.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 63%

Martin Isherwood: Chrysalis - Fly Nice idea. Lovely voice. Unusual shift from 3 to 4 and from ballad to dance track. Typical of many ESC songs in its use of harmony, but also flavours of 'the day before you came'.

Sharon Vaughn: Lovely energy and clever mid-section composition. I believe this artist when she performs and that is a very important aspect within the performance.

Stano Simor: The genre of this particular type of track has already been presented at the Eurovision Song Contest and therefore, nothing new or revolutionary. Valentina Monetta is a strong vocalist and something positive about this song is that the shift from a ballad to an uptempo is done well and this could very much impress the public and the jury.

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xi8mZ2ejLcE

Published in Editorials
Sunday, 21 April 2013 14:40

Latvia: Reviewing the track 'Here We Go'

escflashmalta.com has been relatively busy in these past couple of days finalising details of the coverage in relation to the Eurovision Song Contest whilst planning more interviews for the coming days in the actual lead up. We would like to thank Matt Mercieca, Lina Eriksson and Magnus Kaxe for their help in analysing the first semi-final and we would like to welcome Martin Isherwood, Sharon Vaughn and Stano Simor as we take a look at the acts competing in the second semi-final. All of the information is obtained from the official website of the international spectacle and indeed, pertaining to the running order as decided by the producers, Latvia will be performing in slot number one (1) from the seventeen (17) entries competing in this second show. LTV, the broadcaster responsible for the participation of Latvia in the Eurovision Song Contest will be represented by the group, PeR with the track Here We Go co-written between Ralfs Eilands and Arturas Burke.

Both of the biggest Latvian festivals - the Baltic Beach Party and Positivus have shared their stages with PeR in 2009. In the summer of 2010 beatbox band PeR was one of the many contestants in festival New Wave, but before that they visited Estonia to perform in the Reiu Rock festival. PeR have been the warm-up guys before Dub FX in three of his concerts. The feedback from PeR’s performance before Dub FX in Lithuania in November 2011 was amazing. Music critics, bloggers and fans were surprised by PeR’s ability to electrify the entire crowd with their songs and pure energy that never stops! 2011 was successful for PeR not only in Lithuania, their single Go Get Up peaked no. 2 in Denmark’s Chart Base TOP 100 and PeR were also nominated in this independent music chart as ‘Best New Artists’ and the video of the song was nominated in the category of ‘Best European Alternative Video’ and they won in both categories. 

In the end of 2012 PeR released their self-titled debut album which was nominated as the ‘Album of the Year’ in Latvia. PeR have three main objectives for Malmö. Firstly to qualify for the Grand Final. Secondly to win the Eurovision Song Contest and thirdly to hopefully, get to know some producers and other musicians so they could expand the PeR movement, and get to perform in more countries. “It would be amazing if we could establish some contacts in Sweden.” In the semi-finals of the Latvian selection this year, Ralph was ill and had a 38 degrees temperature. However, that wasn’t a big problem for him and most of the people didn’t even notice that he was feeling sick. “That’s the magic about music – on stage, no matter what has happened to you, you become a complete different person. You just have to hide all your problems, because nobody cares."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bduq2LvknzY

The millennium provided Latvia with the opportunity to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest for the very first time and indeed, Brainstorm did their utmost to garner notice, eventually finishing in third place with the song My Star. Two years later, the country would succeed in winning the international spectacle with the track I Wanna performed by Marie N. It just managed to trounce Ira Losco and her entry 7th Wonder on behalf of Malta. In the years ahead, the country had only failed to make the final once but a streak of bad luck seems to have hit the nation since 2009 noting that they have failed to make it through to the final round for four consecutive occasions and if betting odds and polls are anything to go by, this will be the case once more. Last year, Latvia were represented by a Beautiful Song performed by Anmary finishing in sixteenth position.

Latvia has always managed to keep their national selection to a minimum in terms of organisation and as a matter of fact, with two semi-finals and a final, it was quite straightforward. For the very first time in years, the broadcaster decided to let foreign songwriters return to the selection process and this was definitely a positive sign considering that results have not been optimal. It seems that the general public in Europe needs a fresh sound from the country and when the top three were presented within the super-final, we thought that it was a done deal with Samanta Tina and her track I Need a Hero co-written by Johnny Sanchez, Michael James Down, Marcus Fernell and Beatrice Eriksson but full marks of the jury and second place in tele-voting just wasn't enough. One has to see how the performance of Here We Go comes across but things look rather bleak.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 37%

Martin Isherwood: The title 'Here we go' will resonate with a zillion football fans but the tune doesn't live up to the Sousa march 'stars and stripes forever' version sung at footy stadia. Having said that about the footy chant - the singing isn't much better than your average football fans and the accents are very stars and stripes. Judging by the stage performance it was produced on a couple of i pads and an oversized kazoo. Very close to George Michael's 'Freedom' Not very nice unfortunately.

Sharon Vaughn: Whoa! This is one particular song which has left me speechless. Could you please work on your pitch? Please!

Stano Simor: Mostly what Latvia brings into the Eurovision Song Contest is that every year comes with something “progressive”,and colorful. Performances and energy which 'PeR' presents on the stage unfortunately outpacing the quality of music and vocals. Maybe it would be better if they not sing the chorus in unison, but rather, in harmony, because almost all of the chorus sounds out of tune and it's ptty .. But Latvia have my sympathy.

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4lwr-zMSnM

Published in Editorials