January 23, 2020

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Growing up, I always wanted to attend the illustrious Teatru Unplugged because, having been writing about the creme de la creme of the local music industry, I had heard positive remarks all round and last night, that dream came through as I attended the opening night of the sixteenth edition. t was as everyone had described it, with a line-up which was carefully thought out by the organiser, Jonathan Shaw and his team of dedicated personnel, including Marthese Portelli. From the witty remarks passed forth by Josef Bonello, to the emotional prayer read out to Nirvana Azzopardi, a founder of this superb event, it was truly an evening of breathtaking entertainment, an event which I had not seen in a very long time.

Each of the performers in the line-up had the opportunity to perform between three (3) to five (5) songs and there were several highlights in the choice of tracks, including more than one (1) by certain artists. Nevertheless, I have decided to focus on just one (1) track each in order to have a equal balance between all of the chosen acts who were careful and at times gutsy with their song selections. Having learned that Raquela did not submit to the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, I was excited to watch her perform and she did not disappoint, performing a wonderful rendition of Sia’s Titanium, stripping it down completely and showcasing what is a vocal range beyond compare, one which is also focusing on a lower register, a trait which was somewhat lacking up until two to three years back.


Moving onto the next act, Stalko had garnered the attention of escflashmalta.com during the Malta Music Awards with their debut album Grandiloquence proving to be a hit amongst experts of the field and the general public. Their folk sound was very much appreciated and their stand out song was an original, one entitled Two. I was also impressed about the flow from one act to another, leading to the choice of Chris Grech as the next artist. As a semi-finalist in next years’ edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, Chris wanted to showcase his vocals in the best possible manner and he took his original song Never Walk Away to a brand new level, giving it a new lease of life and showing the public, how much it actually means to him to perform on the stage of the Manoel Theatre.


Keeping to the rock genre, Red Electrick decided to strip it back for most of their repertoire and whilst this might have been viewed as characteristic due to the unplugged feeling of the show, the public went absolutely crazy for their latest number #1 hit, The Runaway which was a breathe of fresh air, adding to the reasoning that unplugged can also be current. Despite not proving to be as I had hoped on the covers, Rachel Fabri won her place back into the stratosphere of incredible artistry last night as she performed an original song entitled Run to Me. She announced that it will be the lead single off an extended play release set for 2014. My advice would be to tweak the arrangement ever so slightly in order to be more comfortable performing the songs in the set-list.


At this point, the public were very much into the show and as a matter of fact, only got on their feet even more as The Crowns prepared an incredible selection of tracks, out of which the standout was surely Little Talks which featured guest vocalist; Cheryl Camilleri who had accompanied Scar on the stage of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest last year. The evenings’ final act was Gianluca, Malta’s entrant to the Eurovision Song Contest and of course, Tomorrow is still a firm favourite, with the young doctors’ charm and charisma oozing through the performance. It set-up the audience for a resounding fan-fare, a tribute to the late Nirvana Azzopardi a cover version of Let It Go proving to be the most effective. I cannot help but thank Jonathan Shaw and his dedicated team for a wonderful evening. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news about the local music industry.

Source: escflashmalta.com


Published in Local Music News

As always, the cultural calendar of the entertainment industry in Malta is full of activities, especially during the holidays and one of the events which will surely be garnering a massive audience is the Teatru Unplugged Concert which is being organised for the sixteenth year. The first time that the event took place was back in 1998, with Jonathan Shaw and Nirvana Azzopardi opting to create a showcase for local talent. Speaking to the media, Shaw stated that ‘the show must go on and through Teatru Unplugged we will keep Nirvana’s alive’.

Josef Bonello, a former host of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest will be the compère for this years’ edition of Teatru Unplugged which is also set to incorporate seven (7) artists across several genres including; Rock, Pop, and Classical. The audience will be entertained by the likes of Stalko presenting rich and delicate vocals; the rocking voice of Chris Grech, a former finalist of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest and with the retro feel good vibe synonym with former Eurovision Song Contest representative; Gianluca. Red Electrick, known for their vibrant live performances and the pop/rock band The Crowns will also feature in this year’s edition. Two impeccable female vocalists and former finalists of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest; Rachel Fabri and Raquela are also part of the line-up.


escflashmalta.com invites all enthusiasts of the local music industry to attend Teatru Unplugged on the 6th, 7th, and the 8th December at the Teatru Manoel for a night of fun, music and great atmosphere. Tickets could be obtained from the official website at three different prices; €20, €15 and €10. As always, such an event would not be possible without the invaluable aid of the main sponsors GO. Nevertheless, special thanks go to the supporting sponsors The Point, Baileys, Johnnie Walker, BRND WGN and Camilleri Paris Mode. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news about the music industry.

Source: Press Release


Published in Local Music News
Wednesday, 23 October 2013 15:40

Exclusive: Neville Proposes MESC '14 Submission

Hemm Miegħek Jien, composed by Minik to the lyrics of Rita Pace was the first runner-up at this years' edition of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza held at the end of last month with vocals provided by Neville Refalo. In the past, the male vocalist had already represented Malta on foreign soil, managing to garner attention during his trip to Tenerife, Spain where he had performed the original track One Day composed by Mark Spiteri Lucas to the lyrics of Rita Pace, which in turn had won the Malta Hit Song Contest in 2009.

escflashmalta.com is in an exclusive position to reveal that Neville Refalo will also be putting his name forward in hope of getting through to the finals of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2014. Whilst success has somewhat come at different points of his career, Neville has somewhat been unlucky when it comes to the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, having only been a part of the showcase back in 2005 as part of a trio with Romina Mamo and Rachel Fabri. The track, entitled We Can Do Better written by Carm Fenech failed to attract the attention of the general public and languished in sixteenth place on the night despite an impeccable performance. Neville joins Janvil and Richard Edwards as the male vocalists who have indicated their intentions with regards to submission into the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for more exclusive news about the Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2014 in the coming days.

Source: escflashmalta.com, Neville Refalo (Facebook Page)


Published in Local Music News

It is that time of the year when festive celebrations clearly need no reason to be celebrated noting that the spirit of the season is invested in the hearts of many, ultimately leading to a successful and positive life, keeping several sane throughout the year of the year. For one night in particular, people can enter the world of fantasy and uncover, what has become unbelievably popular, the traditional Christmas Pantomime which is organised by several theatrical companies in a number of venues and concert halls. The showcase has become a sight for many noting that energetic routines, stunning vocals and once more, quite important, eye candy. There is popular belief amongst many that certain things wouldn't be missed until they are eventually gone and this is proven right considering that the Masquerade Company hasn't put up a pantomime in two years and thus expectations are high as they prepare their adaptation of Snow White which has been coined as The Curse of Snow White.

The Masquerade Theatre Company has become quite popular throughout the years for the vast amount of talent they seem to possess but nevertheless, considering that the pantomime is all about the dame, it is quite the element to see someone new take on the role noting that this time round, it will be none other than popular radio host; Colin Fitz who has agreed to be in the position. We have been in touch with one of the senior members of The Masquerade Theatre Company to speak about this years' pantomime in the form of Veronica Bezzina, whom alongside her husband, Anthony Bezzina have created this marvelous institution on behalf of the arts. The idea behind the pantomime has always been popular with the local crowds so we asked her, what the pantomime in itself aims to represent and she states that it is 'a launch pad for up and coming youngsters to showcase their talents' whilst the show itself 'represents joy, excitement,surprise and a celebration of the talent Malta has to offer. It is a time for families to get together and really enjoy the magic  on stage.  Pantomime is often the first production a child will see at the theatre and really does get them interested in the performing arts thus creating the next generation of young actors.'


The pantomime has become increasingly popular that many people seem to worry that storylines might die out so our query somewhat surrounded the element of being original and coming up with different storylines each year. Veronica stated that the 'sequence to doing pantos' is relatively unwritten and with 'more than one company' now present, it is vital to choose 'a traditional panto' and 'twist the plot', possible evening turning 'a musical into a panto' with the format, always being somewhat similar. A pantomime is important in content and that is where, the issue of song selection comes in with many people bobbing their head along with the tracks, some even grasping the tune and thus hum or sing along. The choice of songs is not coincidental with 'modern songs which kids and teens can identify with' remarkable being the easiest elements behind the selection but then it is pivotal that they are worked 'in a classical' manner for the 'older audience'. In fact, Veronica went onto add that the choice of the songs is done 'with great care so that they convey to the audience the plot whilst keeping them entertained' adding that 'the use of current musical numbers' is important for the simple reason that there is a feel good factor.


Veronica Bezzina spoke to escflashmalta.com with courage, and heart noting that her love of the arts shined through most of the conversation we seemed to have and she 'expects people to come to the beautiful Manoel Theatre and have fun'. She adds that everyone has 'worked very hard' and that their team is strong with a number of upcoming performers. 'Masquerade has always put up great pantos, and we are happy to be back at the Manoel'. Speaking about this years' selection she goes onto add that 'The Curse of Snow White is sure to enthrall audiences. The story has taken on a new and very exciting twist that will be completely unexpected'. We can vouch for her on that matter noting that several members of our editorial board have seen their productions in the past and can safely agree that another great run of performances is expected from Boxing Day onwards. Amongst this years' cast there is none other than former Malta Eurovision Song Contest Finalist; Rachel Fabri as well as escflashmalta.com guest contributor; Joseph Zammit as well as Katherin Brown, Colin Fitz, Louis Cassar, Steffi Thake, Milly Uylenbrock, Rebecca Camilleri, Andre Agius, and Bolton White. Purchase your tickets online and stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for more news.

Source: The Masquerade Theatre Company

Published in Local Music News

Voices, the charity event which is organised every other year returned for yet another occasion with an evening full of spectacular vocal interpretations by some of the most well recognized names in the local music scene as well as others who are somewhat completely unknown yet definitely know how to perform in front of a major crowd. The opportunity to attend such a spectacular event should never be turned away especially when you know what seems to be in store and despite all of this, it has to be noted that the event held in 2010 was slightly better, the reason being that the song list was slightly more varied and therefore, people would have participated even more freely than they actually did. Nevertheless, it was a stunning showcase for all to watch especially one particular performance which definitely has to be noted down in the history of the show. A female duet featuring Anneliese Sammut and Rachel Fabri was definitely a highlight and they performed the song I Dreamed a Dream from the Musical, Les Miserables.

Rachel Fabri does not require a lot of introduction having made a name for herself through the show L-Isfida a couple of years back prior to making it to the finals of the Malta Song for Europe with the track We Can Do Better written by Carm Fenech and featuring Romina Mamo and Neville Refalo as part of a trio. Still, in recent years, she was also chosen to become a part of the group All Angels in the United Kingdom and has been performed around the country including in nationwide events such as the Classical Brit Awards amongst others. Her beautiful vocal range has been highly complimented by many and in this particular performance, she suited the tone of Anneliese resoundingly well. Anneliese on the other hand is a brand new name in music having also been part of last years' Students Fest at the University of Malta where she hit all the right notes. Should you wish to check whether, there are any tickets available for the last couple of shows, access the official website of the Mediterranean Conference Centre.


Their performance of last nights' show can be seen just above. At the end of their vocal rendition, one of the guests present during the evening, a certain former Maltese representative at the Eurovision Song Contest; Georgina rose to her feet and gave the duo a standing ovation for their respective effort. Nevertheless, it has to be noted that the evening had a number of other stunning performances including from Claire McCartin and Ryan Dale, both of whom have been in the Malta Eurovision in the past. Amongst the people in the chorus who have also tried their luck to represent Malta in the continental event were Jean Claude Vancell, Dorothy Bezzina and Andrew Barberi. The addition of a track in Maltese was also highly appreciated by the people present and they warmly applauded the songwriter; Joe S Grech and the producer; Paul Abela who were both in the audience. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for more news in the coming days and weeks.

Source: escflashmalta.com

Published in Local Music News