22 November 2017

Gerard James Borg, one of Malta's most successful songwriters, responsible for penning the lyrics for no less than 6 competing entries in the Eurovision Song Contest has recently been involved in a project, a new single entitled "Revolving Doors" featuring Hallgrimur Oskarsson as the composer, and Johanna Gudrun (Yohanna) as the lead vocalist.

Yohanna, the runner-up in the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest with "Is It True?" and recipient of the maximum 12 points from the Maltese Tele-Vote and Professional Jury, has kept a rather low profile since trying to return to the international competition back in 2013, noting that she gave birth in October 2015. 

Her comeback single "Revolving Doors", is a beautiful ballad, with hints of country, which soars into true vocal depth. On the other hand, Gerard has focused his creative talent on novels, and thus far it seems that he has been truly successful, noting the release of two best-sellers; "Sliema Wives" and "Madliena Married Men".

You can listen to the song, whilst also following the lyrics through the video below, as we urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: Yohanna (Official Facebook Page)

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Have you had a look at your calendar? It is already February, and that could only mean that the national finals season is well and truly underway, with the choices for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest being made as the weeks go by! This year, 43 participating broadcasters will be fielding entries in what has been coined the biggest entertainment spectacle in the world.

We had the opportunity to speak to some of the acts who are hoping to win their nations' ticket, and the 1st to grace us with an interview is Sigga Eyrun, who will be singing the song "Kreisi", which she co-wrote with Karl Olgeirsson in Songvakeppnin 2016.

Hello Sigga, how does it feel to be part of the Icelandic national selection “Söngvakeppnin 2016” with the song "Kreisi"?

I am very excited and having so much fun with the preparations. 

Who had the idea that you could participate in the Icelandic national selection and who decided "Kreisi"?

My partner, Karl, wrote the song and we decided together that it would be a good idea to enter it into the competition. We were about to release it but decided that it would receive more notice if it was part of Eurovision. And it sure has.

What is the message of "Kreisi”?

The message of the song is to not lose touch with the real world when you get attached to something like a computer game or even social media. Don’t let social media and other modern temptations drive you crazy (kreisí).

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When have you started doing music?

I started out as an actor/singer. I went to drama school in England (Guildford School of Acting) where I studied Musical Theatre. I have mostly been doing voiceovers for cartoons and acting in Musicals. My solo career in music didn’t take off properly until 2014 when I first sang in Eurovision. 

What are you expecting in the national selection “Söngvakeppnin 2016”, are you excited?

Yes I am very excited. I am expecting a lot of fun with all the wonderful contestants and the lovely talented people at RÚV. It will be a great party.

How do you prepare yourself for the show? 

I make sure I am rested and that I eat well and sing the song constantly in my car and everywhere I go. 

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You already participated in “Söngvakeppnin 2014” with the song “Lífið kviknar á ný”. Do you think it’s an advantage that you already participated in the national selection?

Yes. Last time I had to spend a lot of energy on letting people know who I was and now I can let the act speak for itself. People know I can be trusted not to break down on stage.

Which are your favorite Eurovision songs and what is your favorite from Icelandic entries?

My favorites are Waterloo, Ein Bitchen Frieden, Gente di mare, J’aime la vie, Euphoria and Selma’s All out of Luck is my favorite from Iceland.

What is your first Eurovision memory?

Nicole singing Ein Bitchen Frieden

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Which kind of music do you like personally?

I like all kinds of music that stirs up some kind of emotions in me, wether it’s happy, or sad. It really depends on my mood. 

What are your plans for 2016 beside the Icelandic national selection, are you working on an album?

I finished an album just over a year ago. I am in the process of writing a musical comedy and hopefully I will find the time to make another album soon.

What are your wishes for the future? 

That whatever happens will be something good and I can be proud of everything I have done. 

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If people outside Iceland never heard about you before – what should they know about you?

I love what I do, I love entertaining people and I promise a good show.

Why should the Icelandic audience vote for your song to represent Iceland at Eurovision 2016? 

Because it is a fun song and we have a good show which will entertain Europe in May. 

Do you have a message for our readers and your fans at escflashmalta.com

Thank you for reading and please follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Youtube and Instagram

Thank you so much for answer those questions. Good luck for you and your song in the Icelandic national selection and maybe we see us in Stockholm! We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest.

Source: Sigga Eyrun / RUV

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Published in Interviews

The European Broadcasting Union made an official announcement this morning that 39 countries have submit paperwork to participate in the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna, Austria. Despite the withdrawal of Ukraine, this is relatively exciting news, as the event will feature two more countries than last year, following the return of Serbia, Cyprus and the Czech Republic. Malta is one of the few countries to have selected both the singer, and the entry, with Amber set to perform "Warrior" written by Elton Zarb and Matthew Mercieca in one of the two semi-finals.

The participating countries are as follow; Albania, Armenia, Austria (Host), Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Big 5), FYR Macedonia, Georgia, Germany (Big 5), Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy (Big 5), Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain (Big 5), Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom (Big 5).

The European Broadcasting Union has also divided the semi-finals with respective number of participants, due to the fact that the number of participating countries is odd. As a result, 16 countries will partake in the 1st semi-final on the 19th May, as opposed to 17 countries which will partake in the 2nd semi-final on the 21st May. The allocation draw will take place on the 26th January, and will be streamed live through the official website of the Eurovision Song Contest. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest.

Source: eurovision.tv

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Apart from the means of FM Radio in the Netherlands on FM 106.8 and the audio stream from the studio via www.radiointernational.tv and on Digital Cable 781 & Cable 8.1Mhz in the Netherlands, the show will also be web-televised via the Radio International TV Channel from the studio and linking up the many international Eurovision fans and friends and play your requests and read your messages out on air. The simulcast will be from 2000 – 2300 hours CET when fans can join in and chat amongst each other via the Chat Room and request their favourite Eurovision entry.

Radio International has built a name for itself throughout the years by bringing about exclusive video and audio interviews with some of the most notable names to have either participated in the Eurovision Song Contest or even in national selections preceding the continental event. As a matter of fact, in this weeks' episode, Hersi Matmuja from Albania, Aram Mp3 from Armenia, Pollaponk from Iceland and the Tolmachevy Sisters from Russia will all be having a word with the team of Radio International, assessing their experiences at the 2014 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest which took place in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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As the curtain on the 2014 season of the Eurovision Song Contest is brought down, David Mann will continue to look at cover versions from the event whilst the latest news from escXtra and escflashmalta.com will be read out. In the meantime, former representatives of the Eurovision Song Contest are always looking for ways to please their fans and thus new music is being recorded and published throughout the year. Radio International will be playing the most recent singles as sent in by several record labels. We urge you to tune into Radio International this evening at 20:00 CET in order to request your favourite entry from the Eurovision Song Contest and listen to the special features.

Source: Press Release

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It has only been a couple of days since the curtain came down on yet another successful edition of the Eurovision Song Contest and whilst attention is shifting to the Eurovision Young Musicians which is taking place in Cologne, Germany on the 31st May 2014, preparations are also well underway for this year's edition of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest which will be staged in Malta.

MTVA and RUV, the respective public broadcasters in Hungary and Iceland have recently both made public their positive sentiment in taking part in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest for the very first time as key interest in the event increases. This comes on the back of their success at the senior edition of the Eurovision Song Contest where Hungary recorded their second best result with "Running" finishing in 5th place and Iceland managing yet another qualification with "No Prejudice".

At this stage; Belarus, Georgia, Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, Ukraine and host country Malta have confirmed their presence in the event, although Cyprus and Greece are also hoping to return meaning that this could be the most contested Junior Eurovision Song Contest since 2008 when 15 countries had taken part. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news as soon as it becomes available.

Source: eurovoix, junioreurovision.tv

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It is almost 2 o'clock in the morning and the energy levels are slowly dwindling but nevertheless, we had to stay up in order to note down the running order for the final of the 2014 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, as decided by the European Broadcasting Union. Following each of the semi-finals, a partial draw took place where the respective artist of the qualified country picked out a piece of paper stating whether they would perform in the first or the second half.

Performing first during the second semi-final was actually the right call by the European Broadcasting Union considering that it gave the show a feel good factor, one which definitely got the crowd in the arena and at home going. As the qualifiers were revealed, Malta was the sixth nation to be called out, calming down the bundle of nerves that had built up over the course of the evening. During the press conference, Richard drew the second half of the draw, which creating exciting prospects. We are now pleased to confirm that Malta will perform in slot number #22.

  1. Ukraine
  2. Belarus
  3. Azerbaijan
  4. Iceland
  5. Norway
  6. Romania
  7. Armenia
  8. Montenegro
  9. Poland
  10. Greece
  11. Austria
  12. Germany
  13. Sweden
  14. France
  15. Russia
  16. Italy
  17. Slovenia
  18. Finland
  19. Spain
  20. Switzerland
  21. Hungary
  22. Malta
  23. Denmark
  24. The Netherlands
  25. San Marino
  26. United Kingdom

The editorial team of escflashmalta.com would like to thank our esteemed readers for following the comments of Karen DeBattista, Simon Casey and Christabelle throughout the course of the evening. We encourage you to visit our social media pages on Saturday when Daniel Testa, Matt Mercieca and Danica Muscat will be the guest writers. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: eurovision.tv

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It has been an entertaining fortnight with certain entries falling well below expectations with others coming to terms with new found fame following first rehearsals on the stage found at the B&W Hallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark. Tonight! The beginning of the 2014 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest with sixteen countries set to compete against one another in hope of garnering one of the ten available slots, and in doing so joining the big five; Spain, France, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom as well as host country; Denmark.

Whilst Malta will not be in contention this evening, the Public Broadcasting Services will still be broadcasting the event through Television Malta with commentary set to be provided by Carlo Borg Bonaci, head judge at this year's edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. In the meantime, we have asked our panel of professional reviewers to come up with the names of the countries they believe will get through to the final this evening and this is the cumulative list which they have come up with;

  1. Armenia
  2. Estonia
  3. Sweden
  4. Russia
  5. Azerbaijan
  6. Ukraine
  7. San Marino
  8. The Netherlands
  9. Montenegro
  10. Hungary

We urge you to tune into escflashmalta.com through Facebook and Twitter this evening with Emil Calleja Bayliss, Brooke, Rikki Lee and Davinia micro-blogging on the acts competing in the first semi-final. Once more, we remind you that the comments passed forth by our special guests do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the escflashmalta.com editorial team. Remember, the first semi-final of the 2014 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest kicks off at 21:00 CET on Television Malta.

Source: eurovision.tv

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Chiara, a three time participant in the Eurovision Song Contest with tracks including; The One That I Love (1998), Angel (2005) and What If We (2009) is ready to reveal her brand new song entitled Mermaid in Love co-written by Örlygur Smári, Pétur Örn and Valgeir Magnússon. The same songwriting team were responsible for Ég á líf, performed by Eyþór Ingi at the 2013 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest.

The revelation will take place during the Europhoria Party were a set of DJs from New York are set to entertain guest with some of the greatest songs in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest. Chiara will be kicking off a promotional tour during the course of summer alongside DJ Valgeir Magnusson who is also her international manager as part of the team at Hands Up Music. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: Press Release (Hands Up Music)

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Tuesday, 01 April 2014 21:15

ESC 2014: An In-Depth Review of Iceland

It has become customary for the escflashmalta.com editorial board to engage professional individuals from the music industry to assess the songs competing in the Eurovision Song Contest as presented to the European Broadcasting Union during the Heads of Delegation Meeting. Martin Isherwood, Deo Grech, Stano Simor and Matt Mercieca from the United Kingdom, Malta and the Czech Republic have been entrusted with the first semi-final, comprising of sixteen songs and set to take place on the 6th May 2014 at the B&W Hallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark. Making use of the running order and thus moving onto number #5, we catch up with Iceland (RUV) who will be represented by Pollapönk and the song No Prejudice co-written by Heidar Orn Kristjansson, Haraldur Freyr Gislason and John Grant.

Pollapönk were founded in 2006 by guitarists Haraldur Freyr Gislason and Heidar Orn Kristjansson of the Icelandic post-punk trio Botnledja. They created Pollapönk when graduating as Bachelors of Education from the Icelandic University of Education – in fact the first Pollapönk album was recorded when Haraldur and Heidar were graduating as pre-school teachers: they made an album as a part of their final work and submitted it along with a final paper. The purpose was to write and perform ambitious music that children and adults alike would enjoy and be able to sing along to. The songs are intended to relate to different age groups in an open and illuminating way.

The first Pollapönk album was a major hit in Iceland. In 2007 drummer Arnar Thor Gislason – who is Haraldur‘s brother - and bassplayer Gudni Finnsson both joined Pollapönk, who then became a quartet. Pollapönk have recorded two subsequent albums and played countless gigs for children and adults all over Iceland. In everyday life Haraldur Freyr is chairman of the Association of pre-school Teachers. Heidar Orn is a pre-school teacher and Arnar Thor and Gudni are professional musicians. Haraldur Freyr and Heidar Orn are childhood friends who have been playing and writing music since their early teens. They formed the band Botnledja and entered the local music contest Battle of the Bands’in 1995 and ended up winning it.

Despite their obvious sense of humour, Pollapönk’s serious aim is to help eradicate prejudice and bullying through the medium of music. The song No Prejudice (Enga fordóma) is typical of this running theme in all their work. It is all about a young person who has a speech impediment and is afraid of being teased or bullied because of it. With this song about celebrating our diversity it is Pollapönk’s aim to help eliminate all forms of discrimination, bullying and prejudice, with the message that every individual has the right to live harmoniously with the rest of the world. Eurovision itself is a uniquely diverse institution and Pollapönk are proud to use this musical stage to send their positive message out across Europe to millions of viewers.

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Iceland, the only Scandinavian country yet to win the Eurovision Song Contest has flirted with the top positions on more than one occasion, finished in second place in 1999 and 2009 at the hands of Selma with All Out of Luck and Yohanna with Is It True? Since 2008, the country has maintained a perfect qualification record at the esteemed event with fan favourites such as Je Ne Sais Quoi by Hera in 2010 as well as Never Forget by Greta & Jonsi in 2012 respectively. Last year, Gianluca who represented Malta had stated that Eg a Lif by Eypor Ingi was his most favourite song in the competition and was photographed with the male vocalist on a number of occasions.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 40%

Martin Isherwood: Unusual shift in feel to the chorus which loses a bit of the momentum.  Laudable politically correct sentiments.  Strange mix of 80s feels mixing madness, and almost lifting the chorus and chants directly from the J Giels band's 'Centrefold' with some funky moments and Blink’ thrown in to totally mess you up.  Hard to keep track of.

Deo Grech: Sorry, this is not my cup of tea at all!   The English version of the song didn't help it at all.   The stage act will make things worse.  I still can't figure out why are they trying to be funny while singing lyrics about 'No prejudices' out to the world!   Iceland please...bring back Yohanna, Selma and Hera Bjork!!

Stano Simor: Island brings with Pollapönkem simple fun that aims to entertain and not to act like the musicians and the art. Stage costumes and "stupid" expression of the vocalists , is exactly what can deliver today at the ESC. We will not see this song on the first places, but it will certainly an interesting variegation of the ESC.

Matt Mercieca: Blehhhh! hmm I want to love it, cause of the message it gives but nahh! The vibe of the song is cool! and like the breakdown in the middle but BLEEEHHHHHHHH! its not my kind of song.

Source: eurovision.tv

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Published in Opinions

Danmarks Radio, host broadcaster of the 2014 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest has just revealed the running order for the international competition taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark. Represented by Firelight and the song Coming Home, written by Richard Edwards Micallef, Malta will be opening the second semi-final on the 8th May 2014.

Prior to the announcement of the draw for the running order, Malta had never been given the opportunity to open the semi-final of such an illustrious show. At first glance, one might be shocked but personally I had a strong feeling that this could happen given the diversity of the genres that make up the first half of the second semi-final. Seventh in qualification with the bookies, Coming Home is facing a fate bestowed to the likes of Nije Ljubav Stvar, This is My Life, Run Away and Love In Rewind, all of which have successfully qualified to the final of the continental competition. 

01) Malta: Coming Home - Firelight

02) Israel: Same Heart - Mei Finegold

03) Norway: Silent Storm - Carl Espen

04) Georgia: Three Minutes to Earth - The Shin & Mariko

05) Poland: My Slowanie - Donatan & Cleo

06) Austria: Rise Like a Phoenix - Conchita Wurst

07) Lithuania: Attention - Vilija Mataciunaite

08) Finland: Something Better - Softengine

09) Ireland: Heartbeat - Can-Linn ft. Kasey Smith

10) Belarus: Cheesecake - Teo

11) FYR Macedonia: To The Sky - Tijana

12) Switzerland: Hunter of Stars - Sebalter

13) Greece: Rise Up - Freaky Fortune ft. RiskyKidd

14) Slovenia: Round and Round - Tinkara Kovac

15) Romania: Miracle - Paula & Ovi

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It is quite interesting to denote that those entries which opened the second semi-final have proven to be much more successful than those opening the first semi-final. In the meantime, the situation in the first semi-final is even moreso intriguing especially with the first half of the show induated with ballads, despite that they try and preserve themselves as individualistic. Favourite to win the Eurovision Song Contest with odds shortening by the second, Armenia is set to open the first semi-final in a bizarre twist.

01) Armenia: You're Not Alone - Aram MP3

02) Latvia: Cake to Bake - Aarzemnieki

03) Estonia: Amazing - Tanja

04) Sweden: Undo - Sanna Nielsen

05) Iceland: No Prejudice - Pollaponk

06) Albania: One Night's Anger - Hersi

07) Russia: Shine - Tolmachevy Sisters

08) Azerbaijan: Start a Fire - Dilara Kazimova

09) Ukraine: Tick-Tock - Mariya Yaremchuk

10) Belgium: Mother - Axel Hirsoux

11) Moldova: Wild Soul - Cristina Scarlat

12) San Marino: Maybe (Forse) - Valentina Monetta

13) Portugal: Quero Ser Tua - Suzy

14) The Netherlands: Calm After the Storm - The Common Linnets

15) Montenegro: Moj Svijet - Sergej Cetkovic

16) Hungary: Running - Andras Kallay-Saunders

One has to remember that ten countries per semi-final will get through to the final show set for the 10th May 2014 at the B&W Hallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark meaning that nine nations will be left out in the cold having not been selected amongst the best that the continent has to offer. In the final, the qualifiers will join entries from Spain, France, Germany, United Kingdom and host country Denmark who have already been given an extremely late draw following a random draw. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news as soon as it becomes available.

Source: eurovision.tv

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