January 27, 2020

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On the 21st March 2015, L-Għanja tal-Poplu, a local music competition known to breathe life into the music industry, will be turning thirty-nine. Following the huge success of "Jien Ma Naħdimx", composed by Mark Scicluna to the lyrics of Rita Pace, with vocals provided by Karen DeBattista, a surge of interest was reported, as a record number of 105 submissions were received.

escflashmalta.com in partnership with the organising committee has been given the opportunity to have a chat with the sixteen competing acts, whilst also presenting an exclusive 30 second snippet of each respective entry in contention. Act number one is Joe George Micallef, and his entry bears the name "Illum Jien Pensjonant", a song which he composed with lyrics by Alfred C Sant.

Having been in the shadows of an extremely successful 12 months for your children, 4 members of the group Firelight, the Maltese ambassadors at the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest, how difficult is it to move into the spotlight, and identify with a younger audience? 

I have been in showbiz for a long time (over half a century) and i will always be till my last breath. Entertainment is something i love, it does not matter to me whether it's a younger or a mature audience, as long as it's a good audience, because sometimes you get an audience like a brick wall, but still, you do not know who is out there, so you have to give your best. 

Yes my kids had a very good year, and my wife and I are very very proud of them all. They all have a talent in their own right, and I love to do a concert with them with all our original songs because between us we can make a quadriple album, because we are always recording stuff for ourselves and others, I think Wayne is a fantastic recording engineer and a good teacher as well because he's always showing me tricks for my recordings. So you see, i have never been in the shadow BUT a part of them and I love it ...

“Illum Jien Pensjonant”, which you composed, to the lyrics of Alfred C Sant 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?

Alfred.C.Sant is a great lyric writer and i love being involve with the songs we write together, plus I consider him as a partner and a very good close friend.

The song (“Illum Jien Pensjonant”) is about  the chapters in our lives. Starting from when you are a baby, then become a teenager, then you get married and have children, well, the song is about me personally (plus other pensioners) where in this chapter I am a pensioner and i am saying it all, I thank GOD for giving me  such a good life, while my life fades away. The genre of the song is a happy one i think it will go down well with the maltese because i am sure i will be connecting to the audience with this one, like “Il-Kuġin Ġiljan”.


In 2015, L-Għanja tal-Poplu is turning thirty-nine (39), and during the years, it has earned a positive reputation, by virtue of breathing life into the music industry. It is no secret that the lyrics of each entry could cause controversy amongst the public. What is your view with regards to this statement, and do you believe that your entry challenges public perception?

I respect all the ones involved in this festival, because first of all, they are all volunteers and they are doing a great job to keep the maltese songs heard for a long,long time. L-Għanja tal-Poplu  is a great festival for local songwriters, musicians because it will be live, each song will be played live with all their individual musicians, something which is very hard to organize, and after all this. 

it's a shame for some radio presenters that they do not appreciate all this, i get very angry when they do not play maltese songs as much as they will play other international songs. There should be a law in Malta where all programmes on the radio and television will have a percentage of maltese songs being played every hour of the day. Otherwise how are they ever gonna be popular.

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

What I like to say to your readers is come and join us and have some fun, because we are gonna take you to a journey full of musical maltese talent festival. I hope L-Għanja tal-Poplu will go on for a long time. On behalf all the singers and myself, and all the musicians that are gonna be involved in this fantastic friendly maltese festival, I would like to thank all the members of the organising committee. Always respect Maltese artists, that's all they want from all of the public. Hope to see you there xxx

Published in Local Music News