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In music, a year is very much a reflection of historical evidence and when it comes to 2013, Malta will very much remember the remarkable success that it achieved on both a local and an international field. As the public prepares to drink champagne and sing the tune of Auld Lang Syne along with Happy New Year, originally released by Abba, we aim to have a look at the most memorable moments of the year in this editorial. As a matter of fact, we have been through the major news items for both the general Eurovision Song Contest as well as the local music scene and one could easily denote the progress that has been made on both a national and a foreign level of vocal talent and songs in general.

January; a relatively quiet month in the local music scene with the Public Broadcasting Services busy prepping for the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, which was set to take place during the first weekend of February. Nevertheless, escflashmalta.com for the third year running managed to exclusively reveal the names of the hosts of the selection; Gordon Bonello, Rodney Gauci and Elaine Saliba. In the local music market, Corazon and Lynday both unveiled new singles; Save Your Smile and Daphne but the focus was definitely on the foreign music market with no less than three countries revealing the names of the artists who would represent them at the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest including; France (Amandine Bourgeois), Armenia (Gor Suyjan) and Denmark (Emmelie de Forest).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4KgUYfVtLQ

February; The month of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest was upon us, and following a somewhat technically disappointing semi-final, the Public Broadcasting Services upped the ante for the final night, which saw to the success of Gianluca Bezzina and his entry Tomorrow co-written by Boris Cezek and Dean Muscat. It managed to beat the favourite, Needing You sung by Kevin Borg and co-written with Danne Attlerud, Michael Clauss, Simon Gribbe and Thomas Thornholm. Following the evening, escflashmalta.com held their annual awards, seeing to the success of Klinsmann, Chris Grech and the aforementioned Kevin Borg, with NET Television being the place where they were given. In the meantime, both Cyprus and Slovenia made use of internal selections in revealing Despina Olympiou and Hannah Mancini as their representatives.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzGiJxMd3UI

March; In a relatively surprise announcement, L-Għanja tal-Poplu announced that they had received almost forty (40) submissions for the local competition, amongst them from the likes of Romina Mamo and Rita Pace. Keeping in line with the local music scene, Ira Losco followed up the release of her single What I’d Give with a brand new album entitled The Fire which has been denoted by critics as the most notable release in the local music industry. During the same period, on an internal level, stars Marco Mengoni and Cascada were chosen to represent Italy and Germany respectively, or rather confirmed their entries in entirety at this point. Gianluca’s promotional campaign as he represents Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest had officially commenced with the first ever lyric video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rAO1S8TeOM

April; At this month dawned, most of the country had made their respective selection for the international competition and thus focus quickly turned on on the outlook of the local music scene as Karen DeBattista managed to beat Marie Claire Attard Bason to become the first finalist of the 2013 Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza, through the Passport 2 Indifest challenge on Sas-Sitta. It was later on revealed that she would be performing the song Riflessi composed by Mark Scicluna to the lyrics of Emil Calleja Bayliss. In the meantime, L-Għanja tal-Poplu took place with Cherise Attard finishing in first place with the track Hawn Siġġu Nieqes composed by Mark Spiteri Lucas to the lyrics of Paul Ellul. At this point, Ira Losco continued her radio and digital success, aided by her first concert in quite some time. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmUMJKj5RNk

The month of May, and thus the Eurovision Song Contest had quickly arrived and several readers of escflashmalta.com had their eyes on Gianluca Bezzina whose Tomorrow was a proven hit and indeed succeeded in not only reaching the final, but finishing in eighth place, the nations’ best result in seven (7)  years. The big winner was Emmelie de Forest from Denmark whose song Only Teardrops enchanted both the jury and the public at home. escflashmalta.com kept their annual coverage with guest commentators including Simon Casey, Davinia, Claudia Faniello, Brooke, Lauren White, Magnus Kaxe and Christabelle. Thousands of people viewed the respective reports and with the aid of the team of Radio International and Eurovision Ireland, the competition was analysed and covered in the most profound and detailed way possible. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VK4TvZeL6c0

Summer could not kick off on a more positive note with the release of On The Dancefloor by Jan Cortez, setting the tone of the season and earning airplay on 89.7 Bay. As always, the preparations for the Joseph Calleja concert were being held at this point in time, as the line-up was revealed to include Rebecca Ferguson, Zucchero and Gianluca Bezzina, fresh off his success. In the meantime, on a positive note, it was announced by the Culture Department that local artists will get the chance to perform at the Isle of MTV with Kristina Casolani and Gianluca Bezzina both booking their spots at the event. No clarification was given over the choice especially with the top tier of artists; Jon Lukas, Davinia, The Crowns releasing brand new material.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQ9avB4RFrA

As the temperatures were getting warmer, NET Television decided to publish the list of the names who had got through the final of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza, and also shot music videos, in an attempt to continue the fine tradition, which started with the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. Maltese, as a national language had definitely it’s most intriguing month due to the fact that apart from the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza, it was revealed that the International Festival of Maltese Song was set for a comeback, and no sooner than in November. Some of the most prominent names in the industry put their first foot forward and the line-up was miles better than that presented at the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza with the likes of Miriam Christine, Janvil, Fiona Cauchi, Roger Tirazona and Olivia Lewis who was making her comeback as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfDu1h-BOC8

August, known to be the last official month of summer saw to the release of Fed Up by Maxine Pace, who would later on be given a prominent role in the Maltese delegation during the surprise return of the country at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Joseph Calleja gives his annual concert with only a handful of performances garnering a standing ovation, one of them being of the song Xemx which he performed in a duet with Gianluca Bezzina. Glen Vella, representative of Malta in the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest released a statement where he acknowledged that Finally by Richard Edwards should have represented the country, and most likely achieved a much better result. By the end of the month, the International Festival of Maltese Song had a logo and Red Electrick had a brand new single, The Runaway which would top the local music charts for several weeks.

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

Double the amount of entries received for L-Għanja tal-Poplu were received by the International Festival of Maltese Song, and whilst this number was encouraging, there was still a sheer amount of disappointment with many sceptic over the quality of the competition. Joseph Calleja was recognised as the world renowned tenor he has become by receiving a nomination at the Class Brit Awards. The Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza took place with Fabrizio Faniello sweeping the top prize with the track Aħfirli Jekk Trid composed by Minik to the lyrics of Rita Pace. The surprise of many came when during the evening news bulletin, on the 25th September 2013, Malta had internally selected Gaia Cauchi to do the honours and represent the country at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.

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

The 2014 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest might be months away, but the preparations from artists, songwriters and producers had commenced and a flurry made use of escflashmalta.com to reveal their intentions including; Tiziana Calleja, Gloriana Arpa Belli, Eleanor Cassar, Richard Edwards, Klinsmann, Melanie Zammit, Kaya, Janvil, Claudia Faniello, Danica Muscat, Fabrizio Faniello, Neville Refalo and Josef Tabone amongst others. Olivia Lewis gave an interview to a Radju Kottoner, stating she was planning to release a debut album in Maltese in the very near future, one which include all her hits along with brand new and original songs. The Public Broadcasting Services accepted entries for the Malta Eurovision Song Contest with several submissions, eventually totalling to a record breaking  210, the largest amount since the national broadcaster took over the selection process in totality.

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

November, the month in which there were three major events; kicking off with the International Festival of Maltese Song which was not only the return of Olivia Lewis, but also her success with the song Hawn Mill-Ġdid composed by Paul Abela to the lyrics of Joe Julian Farrugia. In second place was Mark Tonna and his track Poeta Bla Kliem composed by Mark Scicluna with lyrics by Emil Calleja Bayliss and in third place, Dario and Grecia Bezzina with the song Solitaire composed by Dario Bezzina to the lyrics of Rita Pace. Malta’s return to the Junior Eurovision Song Contest proved successful, as The Start co-written by Matt Mercieca, Elton Zarb, Gillian Attard and Gaia Cauchi emerged as the clear favourite in the week leading up to the competition, and then finishing as the remarkable winner.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thje0DAh_lU

Just a day before the final though, the public broadcaster revealed the names of the acts through to the Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2014, a list which comprised of several newcomers such as Raquel Galdes, De Bee and Daniel Testa whilst also noting former Eurovision representatives in the form of Fabrizio Faniello and Miriam Christine. It was always going to be a year to remember, but nevertheless, several broadcasters were at this stage revealing their intentions for the upcoming edition of the international competition, seeing to the return of Portugal and Poland, whilst Valentina Monetta, The Common Linnets, Tijana Dapcevic and Conchita Wurst were internally selected to represent San Marino, The Netherlands, FYR Macedonia and Austria respectively. As the year came to an end, Ukraine and Albania made their respective choices and the Public Broadcasting Services unveiled the music videos accompanying the entries in next years’ selection process.

Source: escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEH0iDktSNc

Published in Editorials
Tuesday, 12 November 2013 02:04

FiKM 2013: A Well Deserved Round of Applause

Saturday night fever was diagnosed at the MCC (Mediterranean Conference Centre) in Valletta, adding to the build up towards the V18 celebrations. Following 12 International singers competing prior to the local competition and with a separate jury, the local level was something to make us proud to be Maltese. One could find something positive to say about most songs, both local entries as well as foreign ones. Of some note were the highly energetic performance of the Italian entry and the rendition of a local song (Sa' L-Aħħar) by the German entry, in the international first half of the festival with other entries having their own points of note.

Of the local entries, Bernice's Sinjali had a curiously interesting use of backing vocals, Janvil & Hooligan, a clear dosage of showmanship which also highlighted the high level of musicianship of the live band on stage, with congratulations being deserved by musical director, Mro. Sigmund Mifsud. Other notable songs and singers were the quotation of a traditional Maltese tune (Lament) during Solitaire sung by Dario and Grecia, Olivia Lewis's mature deep soulful voice and the impressive solo dancing in Domenique's Passi Fir-Ramel

Roger Tirazona's voice shows the experience it acquired from musicals. Mark Tonna's meaningful lyrics, Fiona's, Dorcas's, Miriam Christine's and Lyann's voices and songs as well as Geordie's and Donna's songs, voices, titles, meanings added substantially to the festival's quality and entertainment. Special thanks and congratulations are surely in order. Hail to: the well-practiced backing vocals, the live band, all singers, composers, lyricists, arrangers, all the technical/media crew, TV Presenter, Guest Singers (Mary Rose Mallia, Renato, Debbie Scerri, Lawrence Gray…all well-known names in the local scene), the warm audience itself, a newer presenter in the field (Romina Mamo), also a singer herself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMU_13W4Bx0

The Musicians deserve individual mention for their tightness, work, dedication and exceptional performance. A surprise of the evening, and a highlight showcasing local talent residing abroad was Lisa Portelli with her stunning renditions clearly showing the high level of talent and musicianship; compliments and congrats. The violin quartet, Hypnotic, gave an impressing performance adding value to the whole evening's entertainment. Similar to Bond, the mere composition of the band is an attraction in itself. The content captivating. From the international segment, the song from Germany a rework of the Maltese song Sa' L-Aħħar, did justice to this rebirth of a festival, brought memories and paved the way for furthering this much needed initiative for local music…

Let us protect our own and ensure adequate recognition towards local talent, in its entirety, singers as well as musicians. Whilst generating work, promoting culture and an increased value to human life, we would be protecting our country (and, in the end, our economy) from intellectual drain out. At the same time, we'd be preserving the so much needed national identity that is such a challenge to uphold in the 21st century when, due to the direction of technology and other factors, keeping one's identity has become a need to hold on to. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for more editorials in the coming weeks.

Source: JJ Chircop (Photo)

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

Published in Editorials

Joe Julian Farrugia is a local Maltese lyricist who writes for many local competitions including the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. This year, he was one of the most predominant figures to compete at the International Festival of Maltese Song which was returning following an eleven year absence. escflashmalta.com had the opportunity to speak to Joe Julian Farrugia about his role within this competition and with regards to the local music scene in general. During the course of the weekend, he presented three songs; Hawn Mill-Ġdid and Inti Mill-Ġdid which he co-wrote with Paul Abela and Stejjer which was co-written with Andrew Zahra. The vocalists for these three songs were Olivia Lewis who was the eventual winner, Roger Tirazona and Miriam Christine, respectively.

How do you feel that the International Festival of Maltese song is back after eleven (11) years in exile?

The news that this festival is back was well received by all local music lovers. First of all, we spent 11 years without a national song contest in our language. But not only that; most of the “classics” in Maltese music came out of this festival, and therefore one hopes that the “vacuum” in this regard will now be no more.

What is that special ingredient which saw you compete with a total of three songs?

A festival is always a festival. This is not a football game in which everyone may see if the ball passes the goal line or not. A festival depends on the subjective opinion of the judges. This year, three of mine were preferred.

Which type of audience do you think the International Festival of Maltese song most attracted?

In the past it used to attract a wide spectrum; no matter the age or anything else. And that used to include youths too. Today’s youths do not remember the festival much, so this may be something new for them. Only time will tell. Some may blame the language question with youths. It is absolutely not true that youths do not like songs in the Maltese language. Only be present when something like “Xemx” is played in mass gatherings… and watch the youths singing.

In this festival, there were a total of fourteen (14) local acts and twelve (12) foreign acts, what was your opinion about how it all panned out?

This is only a new beginning. In the past, foreign singers used to give their own interpretation of the Maltese songs, in their language, and at times even publish our songs in their country. This will happen again next year. This year, everything had to be organised from scratch and the foreigners will only sing something out of their own repertoire, although they will compete among themselves also.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAtn1DI8uvE

Are competitions like these, important for the local society?

I believe festivals are the most ideal in the music industry. But in small country with no music industry at all, a festival might be the only way how to publish music. It is very expensive to publish a cd which no one buys because it may be easily downloaded for free on the net. In that case festivals are the only platforms available.

Which language do you prefer to express yourself with when writing lyrics, Maltese or English?

I write in both languages and I also know that English may be listened to much more, considering a Maltese language audience is only restricted to our country. But I prefer to write Maltese, first because it is as romantic and musical as the Italian language, and secondly because the conjugations and declensions in its Arabic roots makes it much more fun to work with.

When you write a song, do you have a particular singer in mind?

Sometimes yes and sometimes no. It depends where it starts off. If a singer asks for a song, you know who you are writing for. If I am writing a song with no singer in kind, I try to be as neutral as can be so that it may be sung by anyone. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eG5U8mcC0ks

In your opinion, should we enter Eurovision with a Maltese song and what are you views about that competition?

No... Not because there is something wrong with the language… but because there is something wrong with Eurovision. Eurovision is not judged by experts, but by televiewers hoping to win some nice gift connected to their phone call. Therefore, singing in a language the masses understand is an advantage. 

How long does it take you to write a whole song?

One cannot say… I may write the lyrics in an amount of hours, but no one knows how much the thought has been boiling in… I do not know about the music composition. It is lyrics that I write.

When you enter a festival, do you enter to compete or to win, and when one of your songs does not make it through, how do you feel?

A song is like a baby. If I do not believe in it, I would not pay the fees (100 to 150 euros each song) to submit it… Yes a song which does not make it is a disappointment in itself… So at that stage, there is no compromising… I am happy if a song enters and I am not if a song is eliminated. Then in the finals, one prefers to win… though only one wins… but having showed your work in public is most rewarding, winner or not.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3euX8HCczHw

Do you always agree with the composer and the singer when it comes to finalize a song?

Like in any team, matters are discussed and different ideas may come across. If the team is only looking at having the best results, discussion is always healthy.

Had you not been a lyricist, what would you be doing?

Who knows? I only know how to write. I even do television and radio, not because I love television or radio, but because they involve writing. That’s what I love to do. I always dreamt of learning how to play the piano or drums, but I never had the chance…

What has been the best achievement in your career so far?

I do not look at the unit with trophies to answer such a question. The best achievement is when I meet people who mention some song of mine and say how much they love it… Trophies are dead matter… people are alive… like music and lyrics.

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

Published in Interviews

In 2007, Olivia Lewis won the right to represent Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest with the track Vertigo composed by Philip Vella to the lyrics of Gerard James Borg. She decided to take a couple of years off following such an amazing adventure completing a triumphant return last night during the International Festival of Maltese Song where her entry Hawn Mill-Ġdid composed by Paul Abela to the lyrics of Joe Julian Farrugia finished on top with 75 points, in a combined mixture of public and jury vote. The scintillating evening hosted by Alfred Zammit, Debbie Scerri, Mary Rose Mallia, Lawrence Gray, Renato and Romina Mamo was aired on TVM and TVM 2.

In second place at the end of the evening was the track Poeta Bla Kliem, composed by Mark Scicluna to the lyrics of Emil Calleja Bayliss with vocals provided by another veteran, Mark Tonna. They obtained a total of 72 points, just three points behind the winning act. In third place, the brother/sister duo made up of Dario and Grecia whose traditional song Solitaire composed by Dario Bezzina to the lyrics of Rita Pace impressed the critics present. The International Festival of Maltese Song awarded several prizes to the contestants following the tele-cast in an attempt to make sure that all of the respective talent was recognised. It is also worth pointing out that the international category was won by the group Bellavista from Germany who performed the popular track Sa L-Aħħar, originally by Fabrizio Faniello in German.

Tele-Voting Award: Kuraġġ - Geordie (Philip Vella / Joe Chircop)

WAFA Award: Din Jien - Dorcas (Minik / Rita Pace)

Best Performance Award: Mikrokożmu - Janvil u Hooligan (Augusto Cardinali / Giovann Attard)

Maestro Chircop Award: Għadek Tgħix - Fiona (Renato Briffa / Mark Amaira)

Organising Committee Award: Int Mill-Ġdid - Roger Tirazona (Paul Abela / Joe Julian Farrugia)

Television Award: Sinjali - Bernice (Renato Briffa / Rita Pace)

Best Interpretation Award: Stejjer - Miriam Christine (Andrew Zahra / Joe Julian Farrugia)

Participation Award: Raġġ ta' Tama - Christian (Philip Vella / Cher Vella)

Participation Award: Paċi Sovrana - Donna (Donna Marie Ellul)

Participation Award: Ħolma - Lyann Iles (Paul Abela / Lyann)

Participation Award: Passi fir-Ramel - Domenique (Philip Vella / Mark Amaira)

The organising committee is made up of Chairperson Mrs Josette Grech Hamilton, Deputy chairperson Mr Ignatius Farrugia, Executive Secretary Mr Robert Cefai, Public Relations Officer & Media Relations Mr Deo Grech, Festival Coordinator Mr Ray Falzon, Hospitality Coordinator Ms Simone Bugeja and Technical Coordinator Mr Pierre Cachia. Mr Norman Hamilton serves as the artistic consultant, Mr Anton Attard as the technical consultant on behalf of PBS and Maestro Sigmund Mifsud as the musical consultant. The International Festival of the Maltese Song is organised under the auspices of the Parliamentary Secretary for Culture and Local Councils, Hon. Dr. J. Herrera in collaboration with the World Association of Festival organisers and Artists. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news as soon as it becomes available.

Source: FiKM (Official Page on Facebook)

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

Published in Local Music News
Saturday, 09 November 2013 16:45

FiKM '13: PBS Airs the Final Night This Evening

Tonight! An evening to remember, because following an absence of eleven (11) years, the International Festival of Maltese Song is set to take place at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta.  The event, which is set to be hosted by Debbie Scerri, Renato, Mary Rose Mallia, Lawrence Gray and Alfred Zammit is set to be broadcast live to audiences across the country through Television Malta and Television Malta 2. The International Festival of Maltese Song is technically, the second biggest competition on the Maltese Islands, following to the Malta Eurovision Song Contest and therefore, it goes without saying that the Public Broadcasting Services in line with the organising committee is pulling out all the stops for a show stopping event.

escflashmalta.com had the opportunity to attend a couple of rehearsals and could honestly be extremely positive towards the outcome of the event on television this evening with the shots, and the staging all in place for a wonderful extravaganza. The venue, which has played host to several past editions of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, the last of which was back in 2011, won by Glen Vella and his entry One Life composed by Paul Giordimaina to the lyrics of Fleur Balzan has an intimate feel with brilliant acoustics. For local and foreign fans of the Eurovision Song Contest, the event will surely be pleasant to watch considering that former representatives; Miriam Christine (1996), Renato (1975), Georgina Abela (1991), Debbie Scerri (1997), Olivia Lewis (2007) and Aleksandra & Konstantin (Belarus 2004) will be out and about.

 (52302001) Paċi Sovrana - Donna (Donna Marie Ellul)

 (52302002) Kuraġġ - Geordie (Philip Vella / Joe Chircop)

 (52302003) Għadek Tgħix - Fiona (Renato Briffa / Mark Amaira)

 (52302004) Poeta Bla Kliem - Mark Tonna (Mark Scicluna / Emil Calleja Bayliss)

 (52302005) Ħolma - Lyann Iles (Paul Abela / Lyann Iles)

 (52302006) Raġġ ta' Tama' - Christian (Philip Vella / Cher Vella)

 (52302007) Sinjali - Bernice (Renato Briffa / Rita Pace)

 (52302008) Mikrokożmu - Janvil & Hooligan (Augusto Cardinali / Giovann Attard)

 (52302009) Din Jien - Dorcas (Minik / Rita Pace)

 (52302010) Solitaire - Dario & Grecia (Dario Bezzina / Rita Pace)

 (52302011) Hawn mill-Ġdid - Olivia Lewis (Paul Abela / Joe Julian Farrugia)

 (52302012) Passi Fir-Ramel - Domenique (Philip Vella / Mark Amaira)

 (52302013) Inti mill-Ġdid - Roger Tirazona (Paul Abela / Joe Julian Farrugia)

 (52302014) Stejjer - Miriam Christine (Andrew Zahra / Joe Julian Farrugia)

The organising committee is made up of Chairperson Mrs Josette Grech Hamilton, Deputy chairperson Mr Ignatius Farrugia, Executive Secretary Mr Robert Cefai, Public Relations Officer & Media Relations Mr Deo Grech, Festival Coordinator Mr Ray Falzon, Hospitality Coordinator Ms Simone Bugeja and Technical Coordinator Mr Pierre Cachia. Mr Norman Hamilton serves as the artistic consultant, Mr Anton Attard as the technical consultant on behalf of PBS and Maestro Sigmund Mifsud as the musical consultant. The International Festival of the Maltese Song is organised under the auspices of the Parliamentary Secretary for Culture and Local Councils, Hon. Dr. J. Herrera in collaboration with the World Association of Festival organisers and Artists. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news as soon as it becomes available.

Source: FiKM (Official Page on Facebook)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0eHLrhhucI

Published in Local Music News

The Public Broadcasting Services will be making use of both television stations, TVM and TVM 2 in order to air the International Festival of Maltese Song later on this evening. The premier broadcaster will be giving all of the fourteen (14) local acts a final push towards the competition through TVM and its flagship Saturday afternoon programme; Sibtek hosted by Ryan Borg. The programme which kicks off at 12:45 CET is set to include several guest appeances including from former winners; Enzo Gusman (1996), Catherine Vigar (1997), Lawrence Gray (1999, 2002) and Georgina (2001).

The latter vocalist, who represented Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1991 alongside Paul Giordimaina with the song Could It Be composed by Paul Abela to the lyrics of Ray Mahoney will also be a backing vocalist with a number of acts. The International Festival of Maltese Song will be taking place at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, kicking off at 19:45 CET for the foreigners and transmitted on TVM 2 and then at 20:45 CET for the local participants with broadcast on TVM. escflashmalta.com has proudly supported the event from day 1 and worked hard to ensure that each act receives the best possible promotion. Hence watch Sibtek in the afternoon and then the competition in the evening!

Source: Sibtek (Facebook Page)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkZZDxhuT7Y

Published in Local Music News

Gaia Cauchi, internally selected by the Public Broadcasting Services to represent Malta at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest taking place in Kiev, Ukraine on the 30th November is set to give her debut live performance during the International Festival of Maltese Song which in turn is being staged at the Mediterranean Conference Centre. The young female vocalist will be taking to the stage as one of the special guests during the star studded evening which will feature performances from twenty-six (26) artists, all of which will be competing either in the local or the foreign category, as set forth by the organising committee.

The Start co-written by Elton Zarb, Matt Mercieca and Gillian Attard has received extremely positive comments since unveiled to the general public on television programme; Xarabank produced by WE MEDIA. It has to be noted that Malta is one of the favourites for this years' edition of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, a tad surprising considering our two year absence from the event. It is also rumoured that the Public Broadcasting Services has been in direct talks with the European Broadcasting Union over hosting next years' edition of the small yet international event. 

The International Festival of Maltese Song is returning to the local music scene following an absence of eleven (11) years and is being led by a seven member strong committee and three consultants under the auspices of the Parliamentary Secretary for Culture and Local Councils, Hon. Dr. J. Herrera in collaboration with the World Association of Festival organisers and Artists. It will be hosted by a variety of local performers including; Renato, Mary Rose Mallia, Debbie Scerri, Lawrence Gray and renowned host; Alfred Zammit. Broadcast will commence on TVM 2 at 19:30 and will move to TVM at 20:45. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.

Source: escflashmalta.com 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7wjtE1VBQk

Published in Local Music News

On Saturday 9th November, the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta will be playing host to the International Festival of Maltese Song which is taking place following an absence of eleven (11) years. The event, which is set to be hosted by Debbie Scerri, Renato, Mary Rose Mallia, Lawrence Gray and Alfred Zammit is set to be broadcast live to audiences across the country through Television Malta and Television Malta 2. The International Festival of Maltese Song is technically, the second biggest competition on the Maltese Islands, following to the Malta Eurovision Song Contest and therefore, it goes without saying that the Public Broadcasting Services in line with the organising committee is pulling out all the stops for a show stopping event.

escflashmalta.com has gladly accepted to aid in supporting this majestic event by speaking to all of the fourteen (14) local participants, a mixture of established and upcoming performers in the music scene. We have also been to the venue in the past couple of hours in order to view the proceedings with rehearsals, noting that the stage looks awesome as recorded in the visual above whilst the music sounds enchanting to the ears as a live band led by Maestro Sigmund Mifsud will be accompanying each of the respective entries. For local and foreign fans of the Eurovision Song Contest, the event will surely be pleasant to watch considering that former representatives; Miriam Christine (1996), Renato (1975), Georgina Abela (1991), Debbie Scerri (1997), Olivia Lewis (2007) and Aleksandra & Konstantin (Belarus 2004) will be out and about.

Paċi Sovrana - Donna (Donna Marie Ellul)

Kuraġġ - Geordie (Philip Vella / Joe Chircop)

Għadek Tgħix - Fiona (Renato Briffa / Mark Amaira)

Poeta Bla Kliem - Mark Tonna (Mark Scicluna / Emil Calleja Bayliss)

Ħolma - Lyann Iles (Paul Abela / Lyann Iles)

Raġġ ta' Tama' - Christian (Philip Vella / Cher Vella)

Sinjali - Bernice (Renato Briffa / Rita Pace)

Mikrokożmu - Janvil & Hooligan (Augusto Cardinali / Giovann Attard)

Din Jien - Dorcas (Minik / Rita Pace)

Solitaire - Dario & Grecia (Dario Bezzina / Rita Pace)

Hawn mill-Ġdid - Olivia Lewis (Paul Abela / Joe Julian Farrugia)

Passi Fir-Ramel - Domenique (Philip Vella / Mark Amaira)

Inti mill-Ġdid - Roger Tirazona (Paul Abela / Joe Julian Farrugia)

Stejjer - Miriam Christine (Andrew Zahra / Joe Julian Farrugia)

The organising committee is made up of Chairperson Mrs Josette Grech Hamilton, Deputy chairperson Mr Ignatius Farrugia, Executive Secretary Mr Robert Cefai, Public Relations Officer & Media Relations Mr Deo Grech, Festival Coordinator Mr Ray Falzon, Hospitality Coordinator Ms Simone Bugeja and Technical Coordinator Mr Pierre Cachia. Mr Norman Hamilton serves as the artistic consultant, Mr Anton Attard as the technical consultant on behalf of PBS and Maestro Sigmund Mifsud as the musical consultant. The International Festival of the Maltese Song is organised under the auspices of the Parliamentary Secretary for Culture and Local Councils, Hon. Dr. J. Herrera in collaboration with the World Association of Festival organisers and Artists. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news as soon as it becomes available.

Source: FiKM (Official Page on Facebook)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfM7qElZ5xo

Published in Local Music News

On the 9th November 2013, at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta, the International Festival of Maltese Song will be returning to the local cultural calender following a series of calls from established artists and songwriters who had been hoping for it's revival for several years. As a matter of fact, this will be the first edition in eleven (11) years and will be featuring a mixture of upcoming and established talent.  It is with great pleasure that on behalf of the editorial team at escflashmalta.com, I thank the executive committee for the help and support they gave us in order to promote the competition noting the fourteen (14) interviews published over a period of three (3) weeks as well as the upload of all of the songs through our Soundcloud Account.

With just a mere €10, €12 or €15, you may be able to purchase tickets for the International Festival of Maltese Song, either through the Box Office at the Mediterranean Conference Centre or through their official website, which requires a free registration account. It is important to denote that apart from having fourteen (14) local artists, there will be another fourteen (14) acts coming from all across the world. escflashmalta.com has just learnt though that there will be six (6) hosts throughout the course of the evening, five (5) of which will handle the main ceremony and one (1) which will be in the greenroom. Alfred Zammit, Mary Rose Mallia, Debbie Scerri, Renato Micallef, Lawrence Gray will be the main hosts with Romina Mamo easing the pressure within the greenroom. The show will be broadcaster LIVE on TVM and TVM 2.

Paċi Sovrana - Donna (Donna Marie Ellul)

Kuraġġ - Geordie (Philip Vella / Joe Chircop)

Għadek Tgħix - Fiona (Renato Briffa / Mark Amaira)

Poeta Bla Kliem - Mark Tonna (Mark Scicluna / Emil Calleja Bayliss)

Ħolma - Lyann Iles (Paul Abela / Lyann Iles)

Raġġ ta' Tama' - Christian (Philip Vella / Cher Vella)

Sinjali - Bernice (Renato Briffa / Rita Pace)

Mikrokożmu - Janvil & Hooligan (Augusto Cardinali / Giovann Attard)

Din Jien - Dorcas (Minik / Rita Pace)

Solitaire - Dario & Grecia (Dario Bezzina / Rita Pace)

Hawn mill-Ġdid - Olivia Lewis (Paul Abela / Joe Julian Farrugia)

Passi Fir-Ramel - Domenique (Philip Vella / Mark Amaira)

Inti mill-Ġdid - Roger Tirazona (Paul Abela / Joe Julian Farrugia)

Stejjer - Miriam Christine (Andrew Zahra / Joe Julian Farrugia)

The organising committee is made up of Chairperson Mrs Josette Grech Hamilton, Deputy chairperson Mr Ignatius Farrugia, Executive Secretary Mr Robert Cefai, Public Relations Officer & Media Relations Mr Deo Grech, Festival Coordinator Mr Ray Falzon, Hospitality Coordinator Ms Simone Bugeja and Technical Coordinator Mr Pierre Cachia. Mr Norman Hamilton serves as the artistic consultant, Mr Anton Attard as the technical consultant on behalf of PBS and Maestro Sigmund Mifsud as the musical consultant. The International Festival of the Maltese Song is organised under the auspices of the Parliamentary Secretary for Culture and Local Councils, Hon. Dr. J. Herrera in collaboration with the World Association of Festival organisers and Artists. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news as soon as it becomes available.

Source: Organising Committee

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0eHLrhhucI

Published in Local Music News
Saturday, 02 November 2013 16:15

Malta: Interview with Olivia Lewis (FiKM '13)

escflashmalta.com has been granted permission to speak to the local artists competing within this years' edition of the International Festival of Maltese Song, fourteen in total. Apart from speaking to them about their careers thus far, it is pivotal to denote that we have focused on their participation within this competition in particular and their stance on Maltese being passed onto future generations through the medium of song. The order in which these interviews are being presented does not reflect the running order of the competition. Olivia Lewis is the fourteenth and final act and is set to perform the track Hawn Mill-Ġdid composed by Paul Abela to the lyrics of Joe Julian Farrugia.

In 2007, you entered the Malta Eurovision Song Contest with the track Vertigo composed by Philip Vella to the lyrics of Gerard James Borg and despite being the overwhelming favourite, it was somewhat astonishing to account for the support of 31,000 individuals who picked up the phone and voted for your entry. What kind of feeling did you get where you were announced as the winner with such an astonishing amount of votes and did you expect it?

I had a feeling of a very good chance to win, but i was completely overwhelmed with that kind of support. I can still here the cheering of the audience calling my name just seconds before the presenter announced the results. It was kind of scary for a moment.

On the evening leading up to the semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest, one of the most popular fan-sites supporting the event revealed that you were the most popular pick to get through to the final but unfortunately, it was not meant to be as you succumbed to an extremely disappointing twenty-fifth (25th) place with just fifteen (15) points. What was your reaction to the result and what do you think you could have done better to assure a stronger finish?

It was not a nice moment, it goes without saying. Completely opposite to the moment when I was announced winner in Malta. The first thing that came in mind was the Maltese people who believed in the song and me. I was so sorry for disappointing them. There were things that could have been done better, surely, but I don`t think I could have done anything else from my side, really. Websites are websites, journalists are people with opinions who try to get the feel of what`s going on, just like the other thousands of voters have their opinions, After all, the general public`s  say is the most important opinion on the night.

It has been six years since you last entered a song festival, and indeed, it seems that you had been waiting for the right moment especially with the International Festival of Maltese Song returning following an eleven year absence. You will be competing with the track Hawn Mill-Ġdid composed by Paul Abela to the lyrics of Joe Julian Farrugia. Would you care to explain the meaning behind the lyrics and the genre that the track encompasses?

“Hawn mill-Gdid”, is very special for me. It encompasses all that I`ve been through since the audience last saw me in the Eurovision Song Contest.It is putting behind what may have been a bleak period in my life. It`s the start of a new chapter. A stronger me, definitely positive about everything life has to offer and completely confident about the present. I really want it to be a very positive message to all. “Look forward and carry on with your head held high.”

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

Chiara and Fabrizio represented Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest on three and two occasions respectively, achieving varied results and therefore, enquiring minds wish to know whether Olivia Lewis intends to put her name forward to take part within the Malta Eurovision Song Contest next year especially due to the fact submissions close in less than two weeks?

The Eurovision Song Contest is not something I am thinking about at the moment.

As a music competition, the International Festival of Maltese Song was the first to promote the national language through the medium of music, eventually followed by L-Għanja tal-Poplu and Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza. With the Public Broadcasting Services supporting the event, it makes it only second to the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. 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?

There is its place on a National Level. Ideally it will be also supported by the National Orchestra . It should be the most important Festival in my opinion. The Maltese language has so much to offer. The Maltese public always enjoys Maltese Songs whenever we give concerts and shows. I believe that The Maltese public would also love to hear more Maltese Songs on the radios. This Festival was and will still be one of my favourites. I am still in love with a lot of songs that came out of this festival in the past. I am actually planning my 1st Album of Maltese songs, which will be a mixture of covers and original Maltese songs. 

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

I would like to thank everyone for their support throughout the years, and encourage everyone to flock to the Mediterranean Conference Centre on the 9th November 2013 to view the best that the local music scene has to offer!

Published in Interviews
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