September 15, 2019

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Bulebel in Żejtun is currently hosting the annual Beland Music Festival with a variety of spectacular concerts taking place over a period of 9 days, entertaining various crowds. Following their coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest last night, attention remains on a similar scene with Four Decades of Pop taking place later on this evening. The line-up which includes several artists who have already been a part of the international spectacle mentioned before hand will have the opportunity to sing LIVE with the Beland Band under the direction of Mro. Ray Sciberras. 

Carlo Borg Bonaci will be the host for the evening whilst some alternative form of entertainment will also be offered by the Paul Curmi Dance Company. The vocal line-up includes; Olivia Lewis, Glen Vella, Chiara, Mary Spiteri, Ozzy Lino, Eleanor Cassar, Neville, Alexia, Gillian Attard and the La Voix Academy. We urge you to attend the event at Bulebel in Żejtun and remind you that entrance is FREE but any donations made will be given to Puttinu Cares, one of the most respectable charities in Malta. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news as soon as it becomes available.

Source: Official Facebook Page

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-qsQ7PWJM4

Published in Local Music News

CAP-Sounds, a record label based in Germany and distributed by Universal Music, known for publishing most of the entries that Malta has sent to the Eurovision Song Contest has prepared a special surprise for all fans of the international competition. escflashmalta.com is proud to exclusively reveal that the company has been busy speaking with artists, songwriters and label executives about getting the rights to each of the songs that represented Malta in the past, from the first ever entry in 1971 to the most recent one in 2013.

Unfortunately, despite all their efforts, some songs are missing either due to unclear legal issues or personal reasons but that should not marr the cloud of the compilation album, the second ever to be put on disc and digital platforms such as iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. It is a must have collection for all fans of the Eurovision Song Contest, and of course, of Malta’s participation in the international competition. This compilation includes none other than; Marija l-Maltija (1971), L-Imħabba (1972), Could It Be (1991), Little Child (1992), This Time (1993), Keep Me In Mind (1995), In a Woman’s Heart (1996), Let Me Fly (1997), The One That I Love (1998), Believe ‘n Peace (1999), Desire (2000), Another Summer Night (2001), 7th Wonder (2002), On Again ... Off Again (2004), I Do (2006), Vertigo (2007), Vodka (2009), What If We (2009), My Dream (2010), One Life (2011) and This Is The Night (2012).

A further suprise by CAP-Sounds are the inclusion of four (4) bonus tracks, all from this years’ edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, with Safe (Miriam Christine), Just No Place Like Home (Fabrizio Faniello), One Last Ride (Daniel Testa) and Because I Have You (Amber) all making the final cut. escflashmalta.com would like to thank Manfred Holz, owner of CAP-Sounds for taking up such an initiative, one which we had been personally hoping to happen for a very long time. Stay tuned for more of the latest news.

Source: escflashmalta.com / CAP-Sounds

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4reH2sP6PWI

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

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
Thursday, 27 February 2014 00:55

GħTP 2014: Running Order for Final Unveiled

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 coming days, escflashmalta.com will be publishing a series of interviews with each of the artists confirmed as participants in this years’ edition of L-Għanja tal-Poplu, dealing with the social theme, and also past experiences in the music industry.

On Wednesday evening, the organising committee of L-Għanja tal-Poplu unveiled the running order for this years’ edition having just finished a series of promotional shoots, one for the postcards which will accompany each entry as well as the photographs which will be used for press releases in leading local tabloids. At this point in time, we have no clue with regards to the quality of the songs, but nevertheless, the professional jury had an extremely difficult time to decide which sixteen (16) deserved to get through. escflashmalta.com has permission to air a 30 second snippet from each song, these accompanying the questions and answers to be publishing in the coming days.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. Pupa - Denise Spiteri (Mark Laurence Zammit)

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

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

13. Bħal Għasfura - Mario Debono (Mario Debono)

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

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

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

The 38th edition of L-Għanja tal-Poplu is being organised with the help of the Malta Arts Fund and in collaboration with Studio 7. Authors, composers, singers and musical groups wishing to participation can find all the required information through the Official Website, or the Official Facebook Page. The renowned local competition which has been given a true facelift in recent years is also being given a brand new visual identity in 2014 with emerging artist Darren Tanti responsible for a new logo, one which encompasses the idea of live music and singing, elements of L-Għanja tal-Poplu. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for the latest news.

Source: Għanja tal-Poplu (Facebook)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLOCT-U-dVQ

Published in L-Għanja Tal-Poplu

On the 31st January, the organising committee of L-Għanja tal-Poplu was receiving entries for the 38th edition of the illustrious competition, in hope of finding a track to succeed Hawn Siġġu Nieqes composed by Mark Spiteri Lucas to the lyrics of Paul Ellul, with vocals provided by Cherise Attard, as the winner. The organising committee of L-Għanja tal-Poplu has decided to introduce a number of brand new regulations including a financial reward for the winner of the singer/songwriter accolade as well as the top three (3) as chosen by a panel of judges.

The list of sixteen (16) participants was selected from a total of seventy-one (71) submissions, which means that L-Għanja tal-Poplu practically doubled the amount of submissions from the previous year when almost forty (40) tracks were sent in. The organising committee appointed five (5) professional judges to review the songs and spoke highly of each of the respective submissions, finally reaching the below verdict. The Committee will be confirming the names of the finalists in due course, as songwriters confirm the demo artist to be the final artist. escflashmalta.com will be doing its utmost to publish the names as soon as possible.

Bħal Għasfura (Mario Debono)

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

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

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

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

Il-Quċċata - Jeffrey Scicluna (Rita Pace, Jeffrey Scicluna)

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

Insellmulkom - Domenique (Joe Chircop, Philip Vella)

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

Kif Xrobbtuli l-Menti - Frank O'Neill (Frank O'Neill)

Liberat (George Cassar, Teddie Zammit)

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

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

Pupa - Denise Spiteri (Mark Laurence Zammit)

Rutina (Jonathan Laferla, Charlie Bonnici)

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

The 38th edition of L-Għanja tal-Poplu is being organised with the help of the Malta Arts Fund and in collaboration with Studio 7. Authors, composers, singers and musical groups wishing to participation can find all the required information through the Official Website, or the Official Facebook Page. The renowned local competition which has been given a true facelift in recent years is also being given a brand new visual identity in 2014 with emerging artist Darren Tanti responsible for a new logo, one which encompases the idea of live music and singing, elements of L-Għanja tal-Poplu. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for the latest news.

Source: YTC, GħTP

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

Published in L-Għanja Tal-Poplu

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

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
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