September 16, 2019

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Wednesday, 25 December 2013 11:15

ESCflashmalta: Merry Christmas from All of Us

In just a week, escflashmalta.com will be publishing a review of the year, one which was extremely successful within the eyes of musical luminaries and fans of Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest but today, we celebrate Christmas, one of the most special holidays in the world. We thank you for always choosing this portal, as your main news portal with regards to news about the local music scene.

We have been around for almost four years, and in that time, we have noted down several artists who have unveiled tunes in relation to the holiday, including none other than Malcolm Pisani, Kevin Borg, Josmar, Eleanor Cassar, Morena, GeorginaDebbie Scerri, Bartolo Sisters, Miriam Christine, Andrew Zammit, Paul Giordimaina, Enzo Gusman, Carmen Gusman, Chiara, Ludwig, Corazon, Deborah C and many others.  It is always important to stay current and original with such showtunes. Of course, most of the material denoted above was released in a compilation disc in aid of id-Dar tal-Providenza with musical arrangements by Andrew Zammit and original lyrics by Fr George Ocar Buttigieg.The editorial team at escflashmalta.com would like to wish you ALL a very MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Source: escflashmalta.com

Published in Local Music News

Heads of Delegation from thirty-nine competing nations in this years' Eurovision Song Contest taking place in Malmo, Sweden officially presented their entries for the international competition thus bringing the curtain down on yet another season of national selections. The editorial board of escflashmalta.com has been in contact with several professionals from the local and the foreign music industries to help assess the entries in this years' competition. This is one of the features which our portal has coined in the past three years and which has amassed popularity with the readers. Our professional analysts have a look at the videos with a certain detail for the simple reason that they know what it means to create hit songs or nurture talent which has gone onto achieve success in the foreign market. 

They will pass on their comments on each of the respective tracks and give a mark out of ten, but then, the final ranking of qualifiers will be very dependent of their top ten ranking. Each of the direct qualifiers, six in total where given voting rights in each of the respective semi-finals and therefore the professionals as decided by the editorial team to cover which semi-final would listen to the competing entries along with the direct qualifiers who would be voting in that respective semi-final. One of the major revelations of this years' Malta Eurovision Song Contest has surely been Matthew Mercieca who is known in the local music industry as Muxu. His talents as a singer/songwriter have never graced the festival scene but surprisingly, people were stunned to listen to the lyrics he penned to the track Betrayed performed by Davinia to the music of Elton Zarb. It has an appealing feature which the jury adored and as a matter of fact, it managed to finish in third place to the surprise of many. The quality is becoming more of an issue in Malta hence why this track was not overlooked. Muxu on the other hand has released two singles in the past couple of months including So Good and Pour Down On Me, earning a couple of nominations at the Bay Music Awards and Malta Music Awards. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DH26TKwtzw

Joining him in analysing the first semi-final will be none other than Lina Eriksson, based in Sweden and signed to EMI Music Publishing in Scandinavia. Her worked during the past couple of years surely speaks for itself noting that she has managed to make the Melodifestivalen competition on six out of the past eight years including with more than one entry in 2010 and 2012 respectively. In the latter year, Baby Doll performed by the group Top Cats made it to the final finishing in a respectacle sixth position. Away from the Melodifestivalen, Lina Eriksson alongside her husband Marten Eriksson, a songwriter and producer himself have worked on a number of renowned tunes including for example This Moment by Marie Picasso and Vill Da Dig Igen by Thomas Di Leva. She was also a co-writer for It's For You performed by Niamh Kavanagh for Ireland in 2010.

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

Czech Republic was a competing country in the Eurovision Song Contest but decided to stop competing altogether following successive disappointing results. One of the prime songwriters and music producers of the country is none other than Stano Simor, having done a lot of work with a variety of artists including Tereza Kerndlová, for whom he had written the song Have Some Fun alongside Gordon Pogoda. Stano Simor comes from an industry which is somewhat accustomed to different tastes to what Malta has become to enjoy over the years, but not in an exclusive manner especially considering that he is currently managing pop/rock artist, Mista who was quite close to being the Slovakian representative back in 2010. He has worked on several studio albums, all of which have gone at least 1x Platinium and that is definitely a statistic which should always be accounted.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzh7f7H5YDY

For the second semi-final, the format is kept the same with a female and two males joining the proceedings and kicking off things is none other than Martin Isherwood whom escflashmalta.com is proud to present as one of the annual partners in this respective feature. Martin Isherwood is a leading figure at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, being the Head of Discipline and bringing to the table more than twenty years of experience within songwriting, producing, sound engineering and managing artists. As a matter of fact, he also won the Song for Europe competition with his song Cry Baby which despite being a pop song written for the times was not performed to the expected standard. Such a figure has been quite successful and currently is a Board Member of the Merseyside Music Development Agency in order to help support aspiring artists in their dream to reach out to the masses and be successful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAJ62IG3gBo

In the past couple of months, we have closely worked with Sharon Vaughn and indeed, she has become a regular contributor to our projects. Her success within the foreign music industry speaks volumes having targeted several markets, most notably the larger ones in the United States of America as well as Australia and also the United Kingdom. The repertoire of artists that she has worked with is phenomenal and not only that but she had been involved in some of the most intriguing hits throughout the years including Release Me by Agnes, The Guardian by Delta Goodrem and Fahrenheight by Joe McElderry whilst also having tracks included in albums by Malena Ernman, Brian Kennedy, The Wanted, September and Jedward, having written their Eurovision Song Contest entry last year. One note towards local artists is surely the fact that she correctly predicted Gianluca to win this years' Malta Eurovision Song Contest.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0G7eDpMGe1k

The final individual which we have included within the analysis of the second semi-final entries is a songwriter, producer, and a sound engineer who has been working with a number of local artists in the past two years of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. Magnus Kaxe, born in Sweden but based in Germany has collaborated with various artists all across the world with success achieved in the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Sweden, Norway, and South Africa amongst others. The most notable successes surely are those which he has helped write and indeed, he has written two notable tracks, one entitled Higher Ground performed by Amy Diamond and the other being Falling by Clay Aiken, runner-up of American Idol. Nevertheless, he has met the likes of Britney Spears, Aqua, Celine Dion, Westlife and Will Young whilst working on their respective singles and studio albums. This year, he was competing in the national selection with Klinsmann, Dorothy Bezzina and Richard Edwards and hopes to return next year. The project will be launching in the first week of April, so stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.

Source: escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7Oa0uWxAbE

Certain artists define the music of a generation and thus could ultimately claim their stake in calling themselves icons. Therefore, from the sultry voice of Frank Sinatra to the rocking beats of The Rolling Stones, many people will definitely know the names and even more, the tracks that they are well known for and these tunes will once more be given a new light thanks to this years' edition of Strummin' which is taking place on the 14th and the 15th September within the Sir Temi Żammit Hall with the main focus of the evening being a Tribute to the Greats who have as already pointed out before hand, shaped music, and given it meaning.

The cause has always been sublime with this years' benefiiciaries being none other than children and families who are suffering and given aid by Puttinu Cares. The evening will be impeccable, mark my words, noting that the organisation known as Żgħażagħ Ħaddiema Nsara are ensuring an unforgettable night filled with sounds from a guitar ensemble of around sixty (60) guitarists polished to perfection to emulate some of the greatest contributors to music after months of preparation. Last year, there was a great input from the people with a total of €2,400 collected and given to the Malta Community Chest Fund. 

It has to be noted that Strummin' is quickly growing into a notable event especially with the launch of a brand new website which could be accessed here and also a brand new logo designed by none other than Isabel Micallef who won a logo competition against an extremely intriguing group of talented artists. The logo chosen incorporates the essence by which sound is coaxed out of a guitar as well as Strummin''s own identity. Talent is surely key for such an event and it is also to be noted that amongst the people included in the event there are former Malta Song for Europe semi-finalist, Jean Claude Vancell who is also an escflashmalta.com contributor as well as Luke Grech from the local band Relikc. From our editorial board, there is also none other than Andy Muscat and therefore, we would like to officially announce our endorsement for the event following such active involvement by our team.

We are counting down the days for Strummin' Tribute to the Greats to be held on the 14 and 15 September at Sir Temi Zammit Hall, University of Malta at 8pm. Don't miss out! Book your tickets  from www.ooii.com.mt or call to reserve your tickets from 79 244 418.  The event is being supported by BOV, Nestlé, Corinthia Palace Attard, Studio 7 and The Sound System. Stay tuned to  escflashmalta.com  for more news about local events which are a great tribute to the arts.

Source: Press Release

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

Published in Local Music News

One of the most important assets in the music industry is definitely experience and we have gone onto talk to one of the most experienced performers from the local sector in the form of three time representative Chiara who up till now has also released four studio albums, three of which are of original material and the other one featuring a number of cover versions. In the past couple of months, Chiara has been reinventing her musical taste noting that she has gone onto a current sound, one which is being played on the radio. She has also joined the cast of entertainment on the programme Ħadd Għalik hosted by Angie Laus on Television Malta (TVM). She has found some time to answer some of our questions about her career in the past, present and even the future!

In the past couple of months, the local music scene has continued to grow in strength and prowess and it seems that this idea has spurred on a lot of people to work even harder. One of the most interesting careers which is still developing to this day is yours noting that you have very much changed since 2009 by virtue of taking up a brand new genre, one which shows a completely different image to what many have become used to over the years. What could you tell us of this sudden change and you should we expected an album any time which would maybe correspond to the new you?

Well, change is something that all of us have to go through and I embrace it always, this change came on me slowly, step by step and as you say now I find myself far from where I began but I am in a good place, I like the way I am singing now and it gives me as much satisfaction as my old ballads did.  To be honest albums are always on my mind and I was thinking that all the songs I did in the last couple of years should actually be put on an album to be more reachable to my fans as well, so I cant say I’m not thinking of it.

Your rise to fame commenced during the 1995 edition of the Ghanja tal-Poplu competition when you had entered the competition with the track ‘Ismaghni ftit Habib’ composed by Jason Paul Cassar and penned by Sunny Aquilina. This was just the beginning though because despite the fact that the song had a strong message, you returned with an even more iconic track in the form of ‘It-Tlett Ibliet’. Competing against some of the countries’ leading talent, you still managed to achieve the results but looking back at the beginning, would you consider taking part in a festival in which you would have to perform in Maltese again or is that part of your career completely over?

Malta is my beloved country so singing in Maltese gives me a certain satisfaction. I love to sing in Maltese but taking part in festivals is over for me. Obviously The Eurovision for me is just part of my life and “Chiara” so I am not talking about it. I would go to Eurovision even tomorrow if I had the chance as it is such an important part of my life and carreer and also as I am a big fan. But competing in other festivals, I don’t think I would be comfortable doing that anymore.

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

Entering the Malta Song for Europe for the first time in 1998, you were gunning up against some of the most notable names in the local music industry at the time including former representatives Georgina and Miriam Christine Warner as well as notable runner-up Claudette Pace yet the track that you presented entitled ‘The One That I Love’ composed by Jason Paul Cassar and penned by Sunny Aquilina was the one that made the upset and ultimately, the decision did pay off because Malta was just a couple of points away from winning in Birmingham. What can you recall of winning over here on our shores and being so close to victory abroad?

It was overwhelming, I still think back today and feel all the astonishment I had that night, and still feel the grandness of what happened to me. I feel that that night, maltese people opened a door for me which gave me so much, It was what made me fall in love with the festival and what gave me all my fans around Europe who today, after all these years have become personal friends, so it is a very deep emotion for me to think of the festival in 1998. the victory was very close and up till today when I watch the last part of the festival of 1998 I still half expect Macedonia to give Malta 12 points and we win..but unfortunately it never happens!

When asked about the possibility of future participation back then, you never discounted it and therefore, when you submitted two tracks to the competition in 2005, the people were somewhat excited to see what you were ready to bring to the table this time round. Both of the tracks being ‘Angel’ and ‘Sail Away’ would make the album cut and are still very much favourites of the public but you had to take up a song which you believed could take you all the way and chose the former. Do you believe that your second song would have been received differently by the respective viewers of the Eurovision Song Contest?

I can never say how it would have been, I think I made the right choice with Angel.  Being that I wrote angel myself for me it was very special and I am always very glad to be able to transmit this special feeling to the audience in front of me, I know that today Angel is special not just for me but for a lot of people around Europe too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhzMQgmi7SY

We are moving forward in time and this brings us to your final participation up to this point in time as you made one final return in 2009 with the track ‘What If We’ composed by Marc Paelinck and penned by Gregory Bilsen. When speaking about this participation, you cited that it was clearly representative of your fathers’ wishes and ultimately when it won in Malta, the track was received well. In the semi-finals of the foreign competition, you made it through to the final stage for the first time since 2004 when Julie & Ludwig had done the honour with ‘On Again .. Off Again’. Three years on, many people believe that the track was not as strong as other material that you have presented to the competition but would you have done anything differently or do you believe that you were in the right?

In this industry you sing because you love singing but you have to be loved by your audience or else the sense is gone out of what you do, so I never say I was in the right, obviously it is a matter of opinion and my fans opinion is very important to me.  What if we at that point in my life was very strong for ma, also because of the emotions wrapped around the passing of my father so I would not change a thing. Although I do agree with most of them that probably the remix of What If We would have been more effective but as you know it is very difficult to change a song after you have won a national selection with it.

The Public Broadcasting Services have seemingly shown increased attention to the participation of Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest in recent years having taken up the competition under their wing directly and initiating a former format to the national final, one which includes both a semi-final and a final round giving the majority of the weighing to a panel of jury, most of which are foreign. Nevertheless, the issue lies at hand that despite this, the favourite of the public has triumphed two years in a row due to the fact that he achieved a respectable top three placing by the same professionals. Do you believe that the system needs to be altered in order to have more of a representative feel?

I feel that the Maltasong is becoming more and more professional and I like the fact that they are always changing and keeping up with the times.  I feel that the people’s opinion is very important as when we go to eurovision its people like maltese in other countries who will then vote for our song, true if you are famous here it helps, but this happens in all the countries not just in malta and we always have the jury to balance it out so I don’t think I would alter anything just now. Some countries go out of their way and get singers from all over the world to try and win the festival, again it is a matter of opinion and of how strongly the country would like to actually win the Eurovision at the end.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5F7AJXWD40A

Keeping in line with the present, just a couple of weeks ago, Malta was rerpesented int he Eurovision Song Contest by Kurt Calleja and his band who performed the tune ‘This Is The Night’ written by Johan Jämtberg, Mikael Gunnerås and the main performer himself. During the semi-final, there had been a lot of talk that the performance was crucial to whether our country could qualify for the very first time since you had done so in 2009 and when the eighteen (18) semi-finalists had performed, many had been saying that we had a very good chance and ultimately, we did qualify only to suffer a disappointing result in the final, one place better than you had achieved. What was the difference from one performance to another in your opinion and what is your view about the winning entry?

Euphoria for me started the race with a lot of advantage, It is a song that captures you immediately when you hear it and in my opinion it was a full set of things which made it win. Sweden have been working really hard for the past years to win , the song is an amazing piece, the production of the song put Euphoria above all the others in the festival and Loreen is captivating on stage, her presence steals your attention for the whole duration of her song. It was just the winner without doubts.  As for the performance of Kurt, I must say that the performance of Thursday was amazing, they were very concentrated and it showed, i felt personally that Saturday was a little bit different but I do understand that the pressure and all the responsibility of the final night can play tricks on you, so I still think they did really well also on the final night.

Chiara has been involved in a number of projects in recent weeks noting that the past year has been quite busy with activities both on local and foreign soil bringing about people of different countries together to enjoy your music. One of the most recent activities that comes to mind is a tribute to the Late Whitney Houston in a concert in which you featured as a guest performer to the lead performer of the evening being none other than former Malta Eurosong runner-up Eleanor Cassar. Each experience is surely a different one but what do you draw from each one and do you have anything coming up in the weeks and months to come?

I am now preparing to go to Germany for a concert I will do there with Hera Bjork from Iceland and other Eurovision singers.  For me every performance gives me a new memory to be proud of, by now I have come to know so many singers who I love and I am very proud to say I sang with them. When I sing in Malta its always more special as my Maltese audience is my family and I want to give them my best , also singing with singers like Eleanor and other maltese singers for me is more special and emotional as these singers are actually my personal friends so for me it is honour when I am asked to take part in such concerts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FC6-QWBsOt0

This years’ edition of the Eurovision Song Contest has just finished but many countries are already preparing for the next one which will be held in Sweden. The Public Broadcasting Services is yet to formally announce their participation even though it seems that the positive showing this year would be enough to consolidate our future in the competition. Should the rule of the former participants be lifted, would you be tempted to the return and hopefully represent Malta for a fourth time in the competition and if so, would you fuse the elements that you have encompassed throughout the years together or would you take one style and make sure it is well represented?

As I always say if I was given half a chance I would go back to eurovision tomorrow!! I love the festival and it would be a great honour for me to be entrusted with this important task to represent my country once again. I have also been asked by other countries quite a lot of times to represent them in the Eurovision but till now I am still waiting for another chance to represent my own Malta before I actually go for someone else. But I can never say I will never go again, It is a wish of mine to be there amongst the fans once again. As for the style, it would depend on the particular place I would be at the time so I can’t say what it would be.

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

There is one thing I always say to my fans and I will always repeat, and it is THANK YOU , for everything you have given me, for the chance to share my music and emotions with you and the luck of getting to know you and love you so much. Richness for me is not money, it is the collection of people who surround you in your life, and  you make me richer every year and I will be grateful forever. I promise to always do my best to make you proud of being my fans.

Source: escflashmalta.com, JJ Chircop Photography

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeKBo56B7Hc


Published in Interviews

Innovation is the key to success and in the past couple of weeks, the editorial board at escflashmalta.com has been brainstorming a number of possible ideas on how to move forward with regards to the content presented and one of the ideas was to promote artists who release material consistently and make it to the local top ten on the 89.7 Bay charts as announced weekly by Nathan D who has been one of the main supporters on our online media since beginning just over two years ago. The very first week of our project will be featuring Carlo Gerada whose latest track entitled My World features the vocals of Jan Cortez, a former contestant on the hit reality show L-Isfida.

This is not the first time that Carlo Gerada makes it to the chart noting that he is quickly becoming one of the most established artists in the radio scene. In the past couple of months, we have seen work such as I Never Meant and Can't Stop which featured the musical stylings of Scott Walker and guest vocals by Chess and Azazel respectively. He is working on brand new material daily and seems to be giving several artists a run for their success especially with his music being extremely current and consistent with what is being played in the foreign charts such as those in the United Kingdom, United States and also Germany. The track My World is a new entry at number #8 as announced by Nathan D on 89.7 Bay earlier this week. Should you have missed the programme, make sure to visit the official page and listen to the podcast recording of the whole show. In the meantime, we had the opportunity to ask a couple of questions to Carlo Gerada.

How does it feel to be one of the new entries in the only local music chart that is being presented in Malta?

Having my work being listed anywhere is more than I ever dreamed my 'hobby' would take me. Being listed as a new entry on one of Malta's top local radio stations is a feeling I have still yet to get used to! 

Music normally represents the emotions of the artist, what could you tell us about the track and the feeling that it evokes?

Yes it does, in fact I do not specialize in one particular genre because I feel that every genre has a very different feeling. My mood plays a huge part in making music.

There is a lot of buzz going round about this track especially due to the fact that summer is around the corner. Do you believe that it could live up to the expectations of the listeners?

I sure hope so! It's still too early to say but shares, likes and comments about constantly looping the track have been popping up amongst top social network sites. I am currently working on a music video too which I think will further make it more interesting.

Source: 89.7 Bay

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jHAb_dZ0S8

Published in Interviews

Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan will be hosting this evenings' showcase of the Eurovision Song Contest where eighteen (18) countries will be competing for one of the ten slots which are up for grabs. Over the past couple of weeks, there have been a number of predictions put forth by the bookmakers, by fans of the event and even by well known musicians, songwriters and people in the music industry. The fact of the matter is that we at escflashmalta.com brought together, four well known individuals including none other than songwriters Jan Van Dijck and Knut-Oyind Hagen from The Netherlands and Norway respectively as well as the upcoming songwriting/production team of Max Persson and Salar Gorgees. They spoke about the songs and rated them whilst the people were still rating them up to one o'clock in the afternoon. We allocated a fifty per cent (50%) billing to each and came up with quite an interesting prediction for this evening.

Whilst the votes of the four individuals, three entities were of course based on musical fortes, this might not have been the same with the people but that is what the Eurovision Song Contest is all about at the end of the day. There were some 1200 votes from all over the continent and they are the ones which had to face the consequences in the overall result with one of their selections missing out in the final tally. The qualifiers in no particular order for this evening according to the expert reviewers and the voters in the poll are as follows:

  • Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Latvia
  • Romania
  • Switzerland

Amongst the surprises, are surely Russia and Albania who have really impressed during the rehearsals but then again, the reviewers did vote based on the preview videos and not the actual rehearsals and the performances will definitely be impressing a number of people. Another interesting assessment is that Moldova who almost have a perfect record only failing to qualify once did not garner a qualification from the mixture of votes but nevertheless, look as sure fire contenders in this semi-final. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news. 

Source: escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81cE3DV_OYE