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Tuesday, 10 March 2015 19:22

GħTP 2015: Interview with Mario Debono

On the 21st March 2015, L-Għanja tal-Poplu, a local music competition known to breathe life into the music industry, will be turning thirty-nine. Following the huge success of "Jien Ma Naħdimx", composed by Mark Scicluna to the lyrics of Rita Pace, with vocals provided by Karen DeBattista, a surge of interest was reported, as a record number of 105 submissions were received.

escflashmalta.com in partnership with the organising committee has been given the opportunity to have a chat with the sixteen competing acts, whilst also presenting an exclusive 30 second snippet of each respective entry in contention. Act number six is Mario Debono, and his entry is entitled "Il-Malti", composed and penned by himself. 

Mario, as a singer/songwriter, you have complete creative control over your material, whilst also having the distinct opportunity to give colour to your words during the live interpretation. What inspires you to create music, and how important is it to get your message across? 

The Maltese language itself, with its intonation and rhythm, inspires my music. I compose the melody and find the harmony on my guitar. For me the message is the very reason for writing the song. I rarely write purely entertaining songs. I don’t think they find a place in a festival of this kind.

“Il-Malti”, to which you composed the music, and created the lyrics to, 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 song was conceived as a linguistic comment on the beauty and utility of the Maltese language, our national tongue. We don’t know what language the first inhabitants of these islands spoke. We do know that Malta was dominated for quite a long time by foreign powers and that Maltese was confined to the people. It was later to grow in stature and become a European language. So we should speak, learn, read, sing and use Maltese. It is our heritage. It makes us what we are. This is the message I would like to give in this song. 


In 2015, L-Għanja tal-Poplu is turning thirty-nine (39), and during the years, it has earned a positive reputation, by virtue of breathing life into the music industry. It is no secret that the lyrics of each entry could cause controversy amongst the public. What is your view with regards to this statement, and do you believe that your entry challenges public perception?

Songs with a social theme tend to be controversial. I think this is a valid contribution to our society.

Some people may not agree about my views on the Maltese language but  linguistically and historically I believe I am correct. Perhaps I will convince those who do not use our national tongue to use more our language.

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

Please, request songs from L-Għanja tal-Poplu to be played on local radios. Come and support the festival on the 21st of March.

Published in Local Music News