September 21, 2019

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A career in music is somewhat subjective to the opinion or either the public or a panel of professional judges, pertaining to the audience. In three years, one of the artists who has truly shown potential for growth has been none other than Karen DeBattista, a female vocalist whose first venture in music came at the Summer Hit Song Contest back in 2011.

Performing the song "Memoirs" composed by Mark Scicluna to the lyrics of Daniel Muscat was just the beginning, garnering traction when duetting with Thea Garrett, months shy after representing Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest. Since then, Karen has never looked back and had the opportunity to perform as part of the BOV Children's Choir during the Joseph Calleja Concert as well as The Voices Choir in support of charity.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bu42S626B88

Whilst thriving in the spotlight, Karen knows when the time is right, and putting herself forward for the Passport 2 Indifest competition was a good idea. Garnering the support of Annabelle Debono and Janvil in the final round of the competition, she triumphed and found herself in the 2013 Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza. The song allocated to her, "Riflessi" composed by Mark Scicluna with lyrics by Emil Calleja Bayliss was extremely well received.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CShSN9jTJfc

Whilst the reviews were glowing, the results were not as forthcoming, but all that would change as her L-Għanja tal-Poplu 2014 entry "Jien Ma Naħdimx" composed by Mark Scicluna to the lyrics of Rita Pace won the support of the professional jury and has received the backing of several key figures, praising the image that Karen gave the song, along with crystal clear diction. The future is ripe for this young 21 year old, who is on constantly keeping her fans updated through Facebook and Twitter. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news.

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

Published in Editorials

On the 15th March, Sir Temi Żammit Hall played host to the 38th edition of L-Għanja tal-Poplu, a revitalised music competition for which there were a total of seventy-one (71) submissions, sixteen (16) of which were presented to the audience present in the venue and at home with ONE Television broadcasting the event directly in real-time. Josephine Ebejer Grech & Clint Bajada presided over the competition as hosts, not only introducing the song title, artists and songwriters but even the musicians on stage, something which was innovative and well planned. Supported by the Malta Arts Fund and Fondazzjoni Ċelebrazzjonijiet Nazzjonali, it was truly an evening to remember.

David Aloisio, Vince Fabri, Rosabelle Bianchi, Eric Montfort, Elaine Falzon, Kevin Farrugia, Maria Abdilla and David Azzopardi were the professional panel of judges for the competition and they selected a worthy bunch of winners, all of which were mentioned by the public present during several points throughout the evening. Nevertheless, it seems like the jury and the public agreed greatly on the winning entry Jien Ma Naħdimx with music by Mark Scicluna, lyrics by Rita Pace and vocals by songbird, Karen DeBattista. In second place was the comical upbeat song about social media entitled Kif Xrobtuli l-Menti, written by Frank O'Neill, who performed it with Christabelle Curmi and Il-Lajks, leaving in third place a soft beautiful ballad entitled Wara l-Kanċell penned by Joe Julian Farrugia to the music of Miriam Christine who also performed the song in a duet with Olivia Lewis.

In the meantime, this competition is known to award a number of other trophies, in order to point out the exceptional quality of talent that Malta is known to have. Christian Arding was awarded with the Best Interpretation for his entry Il-Karba tal-Mument composed by Chan Vella to the lyrics of Kevin Tanti whilst Denise Spiteri was given the Best New Artist accolade for her stunning performance of Pupa written by Mark Laurence Zammit. The coveted Social Theme award which is given to the lyricist who challenges the stereotype and comes up with a brilliant all around combination went to Rita Pace for the wonderful Il-Quċċata which she wrote to the music of Jeffrey Scicluna, performed by 7 Spadi leaving only the singer/songwriter award which went for the aforementioned Frank O'Neill.

We would like to thank the organising committee of L-Għanja tal-Poplu for their fantastic support throughout these past couple of weeks, giving us the opportunity to speak to the artists, and making the songs available beforehand, giving the event positive publicity. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news about the local music scene and participation in the Eurovision Song Contest as soon as it becomes available.

Source: Official Website, Official Facebook Page

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

Published in L-Għanja Tal-Poplu
Saturday, 15 March 2014 18:00

Malta: L-Għanja tal-Poplu 2014 - LIVE

Il-Lejl it-Tajjeb! On the 3rd February, the organising committee of L-Għanja tal-Poplu released the song titles and the names of the songwriters of each of the sixteen (16) qualifiers. It was also announced that seventy-one (71) submissions were received, the highest since its return to the local music scene a couple of years ago, denoting that the changes made to the competition have been appreciated by artists, songwriters and producers alike.

In the past of days, escflashmalta.com had the opportunity to speak to almost all of the finalists in a series of interviews published under the logo acronym GħTP. It was a scintillating experience, and one got to know more about the artists, and the songs they are presenting in the competition. For the very first time in a relatively long period of time, the event hosted by Josephine Ebejer Grech and Clint Bajada will be airing LIVE on ONE Television as from 20:15 CET, and therefore we thought it best to cover the proceedings as they occur in a song-by-song account. Those who wish to view the event on internet may also do so through the official website of the private broadcaster, ONE Television.

The Show (Part 1)

Il-Lejla t-tajba. We kick off the show with the choir of the night! It is a colourful mixture of kids and young singers. What a pleasant energy they are radiating! It is a medley comprising of succesful songs from past editions such as Wellidni and It-Tfal tal-lum.  

Clint and Josephine now appear on stage opening the 38th edition of this festival, thanking main sponsors and contributors. Moreover, Clint encourages all present and those watching to sit back and relax, enoy such a very relaxing show, which has a history of being very calm and enjoyable! 
 

Running Order

01. Mara - Marie Claire Attard Bason (Emil Calleja Bayliss, Andrew Zammit)

The very first song is a relatively powerful one. It's a celebration of the power of women and the music blends really well with the message of the song, uttered by the woman narrating abuse and lack of respect from others, mainly from her male counterparts. Attard Bason looks very confident and on stage there are 8 people, two of them backing vocalists but the attention is still on the singer. The determination and consciousness of the woman narrating her past and today's courage are marked very well on her face and in the firmness of her voice! An absolutely great entry! 

02. Il-Quċċata – 7 Spadi (Rita Pace, Jeffrey Scicluna)

The first male singer for the night and he seems very sure of what he is singing about and the anger for that someone that is corrupt and doing what he used to complain about is very evident in his voice! It's like he is telling him off in reality! The chorus is quite catchy and basically delivers a good lesson to those who are ready to do anything to garner power despite the harm they might inflict on others! The title of the song itself represents this fight for power. It's quite a good entry and I would love to listen to it once again! A job well done.  

03. Numri - Estelle Fenech Imbroll (Paul Attard, Mark Scicluna)

Estelle looks very elegant and delicate but there's something in her first moves that tell me she's a bit anxious, the first singer to make me think about this. But she now settles down and focuses on her emotions, looking very pensive and nervous, narrating a difficult life of vice and vicious circles going into one another. The atmosphere on stage is absolutely adequate for this song and the blue is very calm. "Ħajti vojta jekk ma nissugrax" champions the prevalent theme of abuse and harshness of life for this festival. This is a very emotional song delivered by a charming lady doing justice to her song! Thumbs up Estelle!

04. Rutina – Tmien Ħabbiet (Jonathan Laferla, Charlie Bonnici)

  Rutina, sung by Tmien Ħabbiet kicks off with a very systematic rythm which am not sure whether is running in some bad order. It does not convince me at times and the singing does not really blend will with the  lyrics. The voices too, they do not mix really pleasantly either but i DO like the kind of interval in singing for "Hawn Sabiħa!". It's quite authentic. Listening to this once is enough I think. 

05. Kif Xrobbtuli l-Menti - Frank O'Neill, Christabelle Curmi u l-Likes (Frank O'Neill) 

This is a very avantegarde song making use of a huge number of words recently doing their way into the Maltese parlance, such as wajers, plajers and the very popular STESSU. Frank's hat is quite original and Christabelle's facial expressions are absolutely flawless, accompanying the lyrics . The band resembling that of the village festa is quite authentic as well! Great! Not amongst my favourite but I did enjoy this! 

06. Il-Karba tal-Mument - Christian Arding (Kevin Tanti, Chan Vella)

Christian appears on piano in a very quite and calm posture. He is well focused and lets the words out very pleasantly but also in a strong voice, narrating the unfortunate destiny of a lonely individual lacking parents' affection. However, this atmosphere ought to be consolidated by everyone on stage and no just the singer! One of the guitarist strangely smiles a bit too much and it really did not go down well with me! Another one about the negatives of life! This is well expected in this festival! I like this!

07. Fejn Huma? - Daniel Borg (George Cassar, Daniel Borg)

 Wow! This song begins without the music and it allows all attention on the words and his manner of delivery is like a very casual daily conversation! Interjections such as "Illaħwa"  and "illistrina" turn this song into a relevant message accompanied by music, making reference to recent issues that on a national basis made it to the headlines quite a number of times, such as the Mistra issue. The theme is quite common but it has been transformed quite well and this stands out: "Malta fittex erġa' ejja lura għal li kont"! If only this becomes true! Brilliant!

08. Jien Ma Naħdimx - Karen DeBattista (Rita Pace, Mark Scicluna)

Another elegant singer! Karen has something in her eyes giving power to this fragile female housewife, and she too seems quiet. The lyrics make me go nuts literally for they kind of support the stereotype rather than try and challenge it but the hell with this! I like this song, I like the singer and also the fact that the audience goes clapping in the midst of it! "Jien ma naħdimx imma ma nieqaf qatt", ok it does not challenge the stereotype but it does give us a clear indication of the pity reality many women are living in nowadays! Amazing song, amazing stage setting and choice of everything really! Kudos Karen! To the top three she must go!

09. Immigrant Regolari - Teddie Zammit (Rita Pace, Teddie Zammit)

What strikes me most is the energy that Mark Lawrence is radiating! He seems so passionate playing the piano. Teddie with quite an emotion narrates the life in transition of a migrating bird  and it does remind me of the fate of human immigrants but it really does not stand out, except for the last bit, whereby the music changes course. Still, does not impress me.

10. Pupa - Denise Spiteri (Mark Laurence Zammit)

Denise to me appears like a younger Corazon, delivering a very strong interpretation of her song! I like all the energy and the control she has on her voice. Simply calm and pleasant! Thumbs up to this too!

11. Il-Bamboċċu, Il-Bambinu u l-Budaj - Frans Casha (Frans Casha)

And off we go to a year or two back. Something went wrong but we're now back on track and the song kicked off as expected seconds later. This might seem old fashioned, considering all songs preceding it and looking at the backing vocaist wearing a traditioanlly Maltese dress and head piece but it does make us think of the prevalent music of the past. The dominant colour on stage is red and White, a strong link to the Maltese flag and identity. Frans Casha is accompanied by a female voice which blends quite well but does not blend quite well all the energy of the the young man behind him on the synthesizer. Frans's calmness contrasts quite well with all his head movements! It does not do justice really! A very average entry.

12. Wara l-Kanċell - Miriam Christine u Olivia Lewis (J J Farrugia, Miriam Christine)

Miriam Christine starts off the song playing the piano and she immediately immerses us in their mysterious world. Olivia is on the other hand standing in centre stage and their voices are kind of AMAZING! They perfectly accompany each other without any faults! Olivia delivers the song firmly and Miriam Christine is all focused on the playing and her singing! It's quite a breathtaking entry! I really do not want this to reach its final seconds! They have the perfect pronounciation and synchronisation! Ought to WIN. 

13. BħalGħasfura - Mario Debono (Mario Debono)

Do not know wheter David Azzopardi with his Pastizzi chant or the Greenfields have taken over the stage but Mario is managing to make me sing to his tune! It's quite a relaxing song but I would have preferred him singing alone rather than along the backing vocalist! The melody is quite enjoyable too. This probably will be forgotten very soon. 

14. Djarju ta' Tifkiriet - Simone Gauci (Emil Calleja Bayliss, Mark Spiteri Lucas)

Simone seems very focused and all serious but then she breaks into a very sweet smile and her emotion follows the lyrics! She delivers her song with a delicate passion that is convincing. The chorus is absolutely fascinating, magical I dare say, it's flowing pace is quite authentic too. Standing on the same spot with a standing microphone is the right choice and Simone's gaze at the end completes the circle! This is a promising entry! Would like to listen to it once again! 

15. Liberat – Teddie Zammit (George Cassar, Teddie Zammit)

And once again, it's Teddie. But he's back with another song that does not really impress me! The stage setting suits the song really well and this time round this guitarist does make justice to the song for he follows the correct emotion and gestures, so thumbs up to this young champ! I like the ending and how the song fades away to its final seconds. 

16. Insellmulkom - Domenique (Joe Chircop, Philip Vella)

And the final song, entitled Insellmulkom looks like it is hinting the final entry for this 38th edition of the festival! But it surely does NOT deserve a final ranking for it is a very powerful song! Domenique is not new to such festivals and surely not with this theme! It reminds me of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza and it stands out particulary tonight for it's the sole song bearing a patriothic theme. She goes very high in her notes and looks determined to succeed and make our ex Presidents and Prime Ministers feel very proud! It's a song thanking all those who stood up for our country and showed courage! She looks magnificent and does great justice to the lyrics! Another song chasing the trophy for the night!

The Show (Part 2)

All 16 songs are now being scrutinised by the Jury, comprising of David Aloisio, Vince Fabri, Rosabelle Bianchi, Eric Montfort, Elaine Falzon, Kevin Farrugia, Maria Abdilla and David Azzopardi. 

In the meantime there's a long intermission.  

There is now an interview with Walter Micallef about the history of the Maltese song during turbulent times and the need to give the song in Maltese the respect and attention it deserves! 

Corazon follows Walter and speaks about her first debut at the l-Għanja tal-Poplu way back in 2006 with Kieku Taf.  She ends by emphasising the need to keep on producing good quality songs in Maltese so as to keep the pace and keep on developing and safeguarding our national language. 

And back to Sir Temi Zammit Hall. 

Clint points out that this is a celebration of anything that makes us Maltese!
Now it's time for the Għanja tal-Poplu Choir with its contribution entitled L-Għanja tal-Maltin.  

Now Corazon is delivering three of her songs included in her recent album: Hawn Jien. The first one was Illejla b'Xejn and now she's delivering Id-Dar tan-Nanna.  Before delivering the last song, she elaborates a bit on this album and emphasises that good quality music in Maltese may arouse very strong emotions. Her final song is going on now and it is Jgħidu Kien Hawn Raġel. 

And it is now! Results are soon to be released!

The best Young Talent: Pupa (Denise Spiteri) 
The Best Interpretation: Il-Karba tal-Mument (Christian Arding) 
The best Singer/writer: Kif xrobtuli l-Menti (Frank O'Neil) 
The best Social Theme:  Rita Pace (Il-Quċċata)
2nd Runner up: Wara l-Kanċell (Miriam Christine and Olivia Lewis) 
1st Runner up: Kif Xrobtuli l-Menti (Frank O'Neil, Christabelle Curmi u l-Likes)
WINNER: Jien ma Naħdimx (Karen DeBattista)

Published in Local Music News
Saturday, 15 March 2014 15:44

GħTP 14: Interview with Domenique

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

Domenique, a two-time Malta Eurovision Song Contest, one-time International Festival of Maltese Song participant and former Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza runner-up, have established you as one of the leading vocalists in the local music scene. How does participating in this competition help you gain more credibility as an artist and are you looking forward to your debut?

'L-Għanja Tal-Poplu' helps me gain more credibility as an artist as one of the major points it is a local festival that promotes the Maltese Language more and for this point, many local tel-viewers watch and support this festival.

Insellmulkom, composed by Philip Vella to the lyrics of Joe Chircop is the song that you will be presenting in this years’ edition of L-Għanja tal-Poplu. Would you care to explain the meaning behind the lyrics and the genre that the song encompasses?

The song is considered as a ballad and it is about thanking those who contributed in our Maltese history.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ogD5HTI7FA

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

I definitely do support this festival as it supports our Maltese language and also gives out a great exposure to the artists.

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

I would like to thank those who took their time to read my interview and also supports me through out my career.

Published in Interviews
Saturday, 15 March 2014 11:00

GħTP 14: Interview with Simone Gauci

L-Għanja tal-Poplu, a music competition with original songs in Malta is turning thirty-eight (38) in a couple of days whilst encountering a resurgence, noting that the amount of submissions this year reached seventy-one (71), the highest in reality since the committee introduced the element of live instruments during the performances. escflashmalta.com has been granted permission to speak to the sixteen (16) competing acts, and thus we move onto the thirteenth act in our series; Simone Gauci who will be performing the song Djarju ta' Tifkiriet composed by Mark Spiteri Lucas to the lyrics of Emil Calleja Bayliss.

Simone, this is your second participation in a major festival, having already been part of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza in 2012 with the song Id F’Id written by Renato Briffa to the lyrics of Keith Zammit. How did that experience help you become the artist you are today, and how does it compare? 

Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza was a major stepping stone in my musical career. I met new people and experienced new emotions given the great audience following the festival. It helped me build more confidence and it also encourged me to enjoy the moment of being on stage and I intend to do the same in Għanja Tal-Poplu. :) 

Djarju ta’ Tifkiriet, composed by Mark Spiteri Lucas to the lyrics of Emil Calleja Bayliss is the song that you will be presenting in this years’ edition of L-Għanja tal-Poplu. Would you care to explain the meaning behind the lyrics and the genre that the song encompasses? 

Djarju Ta' Tifkiriet is a ballad with a folkloristic twist. It is based on the story of a deceased person who wrote a diary throughout his/her life. In the song 'I' express some of his/her feelings and I also show that the person will remain close to my heart thanks to the readings from the diary.

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

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

I believe that this competition has already a place in the Maltese music industry and this is proven by the number of people who submitted a song to participate in the festival. I will definitely support this festival since it is a great opportunity for all local singers and it is also a celebration of our native language. 

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

Thank you for your constant support :) It is deeply appreciated! 

Source: Official Website, Official Facebook Page

Published in Interviews
Friday, 14 March 2014 18:15

GħTP 14: Interview with Mario Debono

L-Għanja tal-Poplu, a music competition with original songs in Malta is turning thirty-eight (38) in a couple of days whilst encountering a resurgence, noting that the amount of submissions this year reached seventy-one (71), the highest in reality since the committee introduced the element of live instruments during the performances. escflashmalta.com has been granted permission to speak to the sixteen (16) competing acts, and thus we move onto the twelfth act in our series; Mario Debono who will be performing the song Bħal Għasfura which he wrote himself.

Mario, this is not your first experience in music, having collaborated with some of the prolific artists that the music industry is known to offer, including none other than the late Sammy Bartolo. How does collaborating with such artists help you evolve and what are you aiming to achieve by partaking in this competition?

Playing and collaborating with professionals is a wonderful artistic and personal experience. It opens a lot of possibilities and enhances my own image as a singer-songwriter. I am proud to know these people and it gives me a lot of encouragement.  

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

Bħal għasfura is a folk song which treats a social theme. Our children are not our own. They live their own life. A young girl leaves home in search of adventure. Her father remembers her childhood and waits for her to return to the joys of the family. At the same time he knows that his daughter will experience bitternes while she is looking for the love which she will never find. However he understands that she feels she has grown up and so, she may escape and fly away with open wings just like a bird. 

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

Definitely. I believe the songs presented in this festival of music constitute Malta’s voice. The music, the lyrics, the inspiration, the soul are all maltese. They are authentic songs.

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

Come on March 15th at Sir Temi Zammit Hall, The University, Tal-Qroqq. Listen and enjoy the songs. Get a copy of the CD. These are real songs. You will be satisfied. Encourage maltese talent.

Published in Interviews

L-Għanja tal-Poplu, a music competition with original songs in Malta is turning thirty-eight (38) in a couple of days whilst encountering a resurgence, noting that the amount of submissions this year reached seventy-one (71), the highest in reality since the committee introduced the element of live instruments during the performances. escflashmalta.com has been granted permission to speak to the sixteen (16) competing acts, and thus we move onto the eleventh act in our series; Miriam Christine & Olivia Lewis who will be performing the song Wara l-Kanċell composed and penned by Mark Laurence Zammit.

Miriam Christine & Olivia Lewis, two female vocalists who have both represented Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest, in different decades with completely opposite genres. This is the most high profile act to enter this years’ edition of L-Għanja tal-Poplu, giving the competition a much needed boost in terms of name dropping. What was the reason behind this submission and what can the public expect?

Olivia and I have participated in this Festival a few editions ago. It is a great medium to put a strong message across. We felt that this was a good platform to launch our first song together as we are planning to work on a project together. Our aim is to evoke feelings in the Maltese and Gozitan people through the strong lyrics and beautiful melody we are putting forward. For all of us involved in this song, it is very important to achieve this.

Wara l-Kanċell, composed by Miriam Christine to the lyrics of Joe Julian Farrugia is the song that you will be presenting in this years’ edition of L-Għanja tal-Poplu. Would you care to explain the meaning behind the lyrics and the genre that the song encompasses?

This is a sad ballad which reflects all the inner struggles, thoughts, hopelessness, wishes, turmoil that prison inmates go through whilst serving their sentence behind bars. 

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

We definitely support the continuation of this Festival. This competition is a great medium to put some beautiful songs with strong lyrics out there. The Maltese public are continuously searching for Maltese songs. Let us keep them happy and keep those beautiful Maltese songs coming!

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

We are so happy and feel so blessed that year after year we keep receiving all the love and support from our fans. Thank you so much for giving us strength to continue doing what we are so passionate about... Beautiful music.

Source: Official WebsiteOfficial Facebook Page

Published in Interviews
Friday, 14 March 2014 01:30

GħTP 14: Interview with Denise Spiteri

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

Denise Spiteri, an artist who might need a bit of an introduction to our foreign readers, having been away from the local music scene since childhood, having been part of the Junior Eurosong competition on a number of occasions prior to entering a reality talent show, Don’t Stop Me Now which aired on NET Television a couple of months back. What comparisons and differences do you draw from 2009 to 2014? 

I consider myself to be more focused and sure of what I want to do with my career. Also, even though I still have a lot to learn and discover, I feel that I have learned a lot, and gained more experience since then.

Pupa, written by Mark Laurence Zammit is the song that you will be presenting in this years’ edition of L-Għanja tal-Poplu. Would you care to explain the meaning behind the lyrics and the genre that the song encompasses?

The song tells the story of a girl who has just ended a relationship with her boyfriend, however is still haunted by the mistakes she unconsciously made during that time.  Aghast with horror, she has found indecent selfies of herself spread around the Internet, the same ones her boyfriend had asked her to send him, whilst in the relationship.  Throughout the song she reflects on her situation, and makes some drastic decisions.

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

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

Yes I do believe that there’s a place for this competition as sometimes it may be the key ingredient to cultivate interest in a particular event as this festival, which gives special attention to the lyrics and social theme, and draws away the attention from any unnecessary extravaganzas.  I believe it motivates singers and songwriters to contribute to the local music scene.  In fact, we are creating a contemporary yet unique musical style for Malta, without realizing.

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

Don’t underestimate the capabilities of Maltese artists. We should all appreciate local music more, especially music which encourages the Maltese language.

Source: Official WebsiteOfficial Facebook Page

Published in Interviews
Thursday, 13 March 2014 20:00

GħTP 14: Interview with Teddie Zammit

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

Teddie Zammit, an experienced singer/songwriter who has been already taken part in L-Għanja tal-Poplu on a previous eight (9) occasions, succeeding in one way or another a total of three (3) times by winning either a top three (3) slot or one of the other prizes given towards the end of the competition. How have you evolved through the years, and what do you recall of your first memory back in 2001?

Obviously, experience helps and the more the participation the more you become fond of this unique festival that gives the opportunity to authors and musicians to express themselves live on stage. The unique festival that gives high importance for the lyrics and the theme. Back to 2001, my first experience was a fantastic one with the song Riflessi that won the Price for the best musical arragment. To be honest by time I began to lose interest in this festival as it was becoming too commercial and was loosing its identity. Now as everyone knows this festival went back to its original roots and with this I am so pleased. 

Immigrant Regolari, which you composed to the lyrics of Rita Pace is the first (1st) song that you will be presenting in this years’ edition of L-Għanja tal-Poplu. Would you care to explain the meaning behind the lyrics and the genre that the song encompasses?

This song is about the bird that emigrates from one place to another and often while passing over us or while having  some rest is offended by hunters. The style and genre of the musical composition is contemporary folk.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSK-o5udX-E

L-Għanja tal-Poplu has proven to be a forum of upcoming talent throughout the years, and not many will remember that prior to her participation in the Eurovision Song Contest, you had performed in a duet with Morena, who was at that point a newcomer and using her real name, Margaret Camilleri. How important is this competition in exploring fresh talent, and would you recommend participation for aspiring musicians?

Nearly all the known singers and musicians in the begining of their career have experienced L-Ghanja tal-poplu who some them make a comeback and participates again today. I believe that this festival serves  as a very good step in the career of a musician, author or a singer. 

Liberat, which you composed to the lyrics of George Cassar is the second (2nd) song that you will be presenting in this years’ edition of L-Għanja tal-Poplu. Would you care to explain the meaning behind the lyrics and the genre that the song encompasses?

This song is about the person that finished imprisonment or was given an amnesty and yet he feels that he is still in prison due to the fact that he is not accepted in society. The style and genre of this song is folk rock.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hp_4wqQDhW4

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

I have great admiration for those few who gives special attention to the Maltese song written and sung in Maltese. In my opinion the Maltese song with Maltese lyrics is still considered by Certain radio stations And DJs as third class or less. This means we as a nation culturally fall lot behind compared to other countries who feel proud of their local product and their language. I will continue to support this festival as long as it is organized full live on stage.  

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

Always be proud of local talent and learn to listen not to hear. In other words "ejjew nibdew nevalwaw, niggudikaw u nikritikaw bis sens".

Source: Official Website, Official Facebook Page

Published in Interviews
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 22:35

GħTP 14: Interview with Daniel Borg

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Official WebsiteOfficial Facebook Page

Published in Interviews
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