February 18, 2020

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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 2014, the Public Broadcasting Services, responsible for Malta’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest decided to conduct a national final with just twenty (20) entries, rather than the typical twenty-four (24) which many had become accustomed to in recent years. Promotion is always vital, and escflashmalta.com has sent each entry to a professional panel of individuals in the music industry, who have in turn passed on their comments. This year, we have asked the likes of John Scott from the United States, Martin Isherwood from the United Kingdom, Sharon Vaughn from the United States but based in Sweden, Stano Simor from the Czech Republic and Greig Watts from the United Kingdom to do the honours. Today’s review is centred on City Lady, composed by Paul Abela and Ryan Paul Abela to the lyrics of Joe Julian Farrugia with vocals provided by Ryan Paul Abela.

Ryan Paul, a relative newcomer to the stage of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, having previously been an observer to the countless occasions his father and mother had been involved, noting that they have even been to the international competition, on more than one occasion. Ryan is more a musician rather than a performer but with his radical change in appearance across the years, could definitely earn repute in the industry. He is more accustomed to performing in musical theatre, having been instrumental in several productions, including none other than; The Sound of Music, Les Miserables, Legally Blonde, Evita and Godspell, to name a few. When it comes to competitions, experiences have been limited, noting a double appearance in the Malta Junior Eurosong competition as well as a one-off participation in the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2tqgDGI8k0

Paul Abela and Joe Julian Farrugia, an experienced duo in the field of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, with their most notable success achieved thanks to a group known as Trilogy which featured Eleanor Spiteri, Roger Tirazona and Cliff Zammit Stevens with Daniel Debono replacing the latter after different opportunities came to fruition. Their entries; This Heart of Mine, Starlight and The Song in Your Heart will be forever remembered by the public not for their third, second and sixth place finishes but for their message and warmth. As a songwriting duo, their most notable success came at the 2005 Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza and the 2013 International Festival of Maltese Song with the songs Ix-Xemx Mill-Ġdid sung by Eleanor Cassar and Hawn Mill-Ġdid performed by Olivia Lewis, respectively. As a composer, Paul Abela has already experienced the Eurovision Song Contest in 1991, 1996 and 2001 whilst he also conducted the orchestra in 1992 with a song his wife composed.

The Critics Speak Out

Rating: 49%

John Scott: The hook is quite catchy. The verses are not quite as strong and some of the lyrics could be better. However, the song very effectively captures the retro sound of the 70’s and 80’s. Retro sounding records have been very popular lately, but most of them incorporate some newer sounding elements as well. This one lacks those newer elements that would probably make it competitive in today’s market. 

Martin Isherwood: Decent enough voice. Not a clue why it's called City Lady. Lyrics use lots of bog standard clichés. Nice melodic chorus. Tavares without the fancy suits and cool dance routines. Not sure about 70's disco in jeans. Might have done well in the 1974 contest but I doubt it for this one.

Sharon Vaughn: This has about every cliché musically and lyrically, song wise, that one could squeeze into three minutes. Not a drop of soul in a soul motif.

Stano Simor: Kool and the Gang from Malta! This kind of song is not typical for the Eurovision Song Contest and frankly, I do not think that it is time for this genre to take off again. City Lady is an energetic song and has a good groove. Ryan certainly captivates the female audience. Whether this will be enough to Denmark, we will see.

Greig Watts: Has a good sing-a-long melody although I thought the sound of production was quite outdated to start with. When the chorus comes back in again its pleasant to hear and I can remember it from the first time so has good potential to be memorable but I’m left wondering if the song would have been better presented with a different style of production, maybe?

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEtIGo-RoKY

Published in Editorials

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

L-Għanja tal-Poplu, a local music competition which differs from the International Festival of Maltese Song and the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza for the simple reason that it promotes the singer/songwriter along with the use of traditional forms of music whilst also giving prime importance to the lyrics. The event, slated for the 15th March 2014 was officially unveiled to the general public and the media during a gathering held at the Manoel Theatre. There was one main change in the regulations, one which will see songwriters having no limit to the amount of songs they could have in the final stages.

Sir Temi Żammit Hall, the venue which has played host to recent editions of L-Għanja tal-Poplu saw to the success of Cherise Attard with her song Hawn Siġġu Nieqes composed by Mark Spiteri Lucas to the lyrics of Paul Ellul with the first runner-up being Dorothy Muscat with the track Signor Si composed by Sammy Galea to the lyrics of Joe Julian Farrugia and the second runner-up being Rita Pace with her self-composed entry Pupazz, penned by Emil Calleja Bayliss.

Another innovative element incorporated in the results is a cash prize which is set to be given to the first, second and third place finishers. As has been the case in recent years, the competition will be aired both on radio and television. escflashmalta.com is proud to support the event, and moreover to support a local music competition which aims to promote Maltese as a national language and one which could also show diversity in the art of music. In order to download a copy of the rules and regulations for the 38th edition of L-Għanja tal-Poplu taking place on the 14th March 2014 at the Sir Temi Żammit Hall, please visit the official website of the competition. Stay tuned for all of the latest news.

Source: L-Għanja tal-Poplu

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

Published in L-Għanja Tal-Poplu

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
Saturday, 02 November 2013 16:15

Malta: Interview with Olivia Lewis (FiKM '13)

escflashmalta.com has been granted permission to speak to the local artists competing within this years' edition of the International Festival of Maltese Song, fourteen in total. Apart from speaking to them about their careers thus far, it is pivotal to denote that we have focused on their participation within this competition in particular and their stance on Maltese being passed onto future generations through the medium of song. The order in which these interviews are being presented does not reflect the running order of the competition. Olivia Lewis is the fourteenth and final act and is set to perform the track Hawn Mill-Ġdid composed by Paul Abela to the lyrics of Joe Julian Farrugia.

In 2007, you entered the Malta Eurovision Song Contest with the track Vertigo composed by Philip Vella to the lyrics of Gerard James Borg and despite being the overwhelming favourite, it was somewhat astonishing to account for the support of 31,000 individuals who picked up the phone and voted for your entry. What kind of feeling did you get where you were announced as the winner with such an astonishing amount of votes and did you expect it?

I had a feeling of a very good chance to win, but i was completely overwhelmed with that kind of support. I can still here the cheering of the audience calling my name just seconds before the presenter announced the results. It was kind of scary for a moment.

On the evening leading up to the semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest, one of the most popular fan-sites supporting the event revealed that you were the most popular pick to get through to the final but unfortunately, it was not meant to be as you succumbed to an extremely disappointing twenty-fifth (25th) place with just fifteen (15) points. What was your reaction to the result and what do you think you could have done better to assure a stronger finish?

It was not a nice moment, it goes without saying. Completely opposite to the moment when I was announced winner in Malta. The first thing that came in mind was the Maltese people who believed in the song and me. I was so sorry for disappointing them. There were things that could have been done better, surely, but I don`t think I could have done anything else from my side, really. Websites are websites, journalists are people with opinions who try to get the feel of what`s going on, just like the other thousands of voters have their opinions, After all, the general public`s  say is the most important opinion on the night.

It has been six years since you last entered a song festival, and indeed, it seems that you had been waiting for the right moment especially with the International Festival of Maltese Song returning following an eleven year absence. You will be competing with the track Hawn Mill-Ġdid composed by Paul Abela to the lyrics of Joe Julian Farrugia. Would you care to explain the meaning behind the lyrics and the genre that the track encompasses?

“Hawn mill-Gdid”, is very special for me. It encompasses all that I`ve been through since the audience last saw me in the Eurovision Song Contest.It is putting behind what may have been a bleak period in my life. It`s the start of a new chapter. A stronger me, definitely positive about everything life has to offer and completely confident about the present. I really want it to be a very positive message to all. “Look forward and carry on with your head held high.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMnOiuli-xU

Chiara and Fabrizio represented Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest on three and two occasions respectively, achieving varied results and therefore, enquiring minds wish to know whether Olivia Lewis intends to put her name forward to take part within the Malta Eurovision Song Contest next year especially due to the fact submissions close in less than two weeks?

The Eurovision Song Contest is not something I am thinking about at the moment.

As a music competition, the International Festival of Maltese Song was the first to promote the national language through the medium of music, eventually followed by L-Għanja tal-Poplu and Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza. With the Public Broadcasting Services supporting the event, it makes it only second to the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. 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?

There is its place on a National Level. Ideally it will be also supported by the National Orchestra . It should be the most important Festival in my opinion. The Maltese language has so much to offer. The Maltese public always enjoys Maltese Songs whenever we give concerts and shows. I believe that The Maltese public would also love to hear more Maltese Songs on the radios. This Festival was and will still be one of my favourites. I am still in love with a lot of songs that came out of this festival in the past. I am actually planning my 1st Album of Maltese songs, which will be a mixture of covers and original Maltese songs. 

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

I would like to thank everyone for their support throughout the years, and encourage everyone to flock to the Mediterranean Conference Centre on the 9th November 2013 to view the best that the local music scene has to offer!

Published in Interviews

In the past two years, the list of twenty-four (24) semi-finalists competing within the Malta Eurovision Song Contest has included the name, Danica Muscat. For all those who have been following the illustrious career of the teenage performer, they would realise that she has had both local and foreign success, having also been part of the Canale 5 talent show, Io Canto. In an exclusive announcement, we are at liberty to reveal that Danica Muscat will not be submitting any songs for next years' edition of the showcase citing a number of other projects in the pipeline which are keeping her grounded.

Danica's last appearance within the local music scene was back within the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza where her entry L-Ewlieni composed by Philip Vella to the lyrics of Emil Calleja Bayliss rounded out a hat-trick of top ten results within the competition. At this years' edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, she had made it through with the song Fantasy composed by Paul Abela to the lyrics of Julian Farrugia but did not get beyond the semi-final whilst the year before, she had presented the magnificient 7 Days written by Philip Vella, sailing into the final. It is with deep regret to know that such a young, versatile performer will not be entering next years' edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com over the next couple of days as we reveal names of artists who submit and did not submit for the major showcase.

Source: escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0O-2Ofzi6x0

Published in Local Music News

escflashmalta.com has been granted permission to speak to the local artists competing within this years' edition of the International Festival of Maltese Song, fourteen in total. Apart from speaking to them about their careers thus far, it is pivotal to denote that we have focused on their participation within this competition in particular and their stance on Maltese being passed onto future generations through the medium of song. The order in which these interviews are being presented does not reflect the running order of the competition. Miriam Christine is the eleventh artist and she will be performing the song Stejjer composed by Andrew Zahra to the lyrics of Joe Julian Farrugia.

Mid-Nineties, Miriam Christine was starting to leave an impact within the local music scene, reaching the finals of the Malta Song for Europe on two consecutive years, in 1995 and 1996 respectively. During the latter year, the upbeat In a Woman’s Heart composed by Paul Abela to the lyrics of Alfred C Sant was selected as Malta’s entry in Oslo, Norway and once abroad, managed to garner tenth place. Would you have done anything differently whilst abroad as you look back on the experience and do you believe that you were too young?

It was an amazing experience, and a music and life lesson too. I have such beautiful memories of that year which I will carry with me forever. I do believe that I was very young when it all happened. I was not able to make certain decisions myself and I definitely did not agree on  quite a few things that were decided on my behalf, like the costume design and choreography. Having said that I do believe that everything happens for a reason in our life. Thanks to the Eurovision I made a lot of friends, and so many opportunities came my way, like various concerts abroad, awards and recording sessions. I do not regret anything. 

Your comeback into the local music scene has been seen as relatively successful, managing to win a local music competition, the Malta Hit Song Contest with your own composition, Alone Today prior to reaching the final stages of the Malta Eurosong with another self-penned song entitled Mama. What was the main reasoning behind your comeback and what are your current plans for the near future?

I love to write songs and perform. That is always the main reason behind any music venture I get involved in. I do however believe that sometimes, it's best to take a little break to recharge the batteries and refresh ideas. Hence the reason why sometimes I seem to disappear. It is a very exciting time at the moment for me. I am eagerly waiting the final night of the Festival Kanzunetta Maltija. I am in the finishing stages of a new music project where I contributed as a singer on a chill-out album. I am also preparing to shoot a new TV programme where I am the main host together with another three local celebrities. And I am working on new music material which hopefully will be released next year. I am at a very happy place at the moment.

Unless the records are mistaken, this is your sixth participation within the International Festival of Maltese Song, having also been part of the line-up during the event won by Lawrence Gray and his entry Eklissi, eleven (11) years ago. It seems that you had been close to being a regular at the showcase, and have also shown your support to the competition by virtue of participating within the submission process. Do you have any fond memories which you would like to share?

I have always loved this Festival. I think my fondest memory was when I participated for the first time in 1995 (my composition Int Tajtni Idek). The show was held at the amphitheater in Ta Qali. I loved performing there with a live band, and for the first time, singing one of my compositions on such a big stage at only sixteen years of age. The cherry on the cake was actually placing third! I will never forget that special night.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5E5NREaUy5k

Stejjer composed by Andrew Zahra to the lyrics of Joe Julian Farrugia is the song that you will be presenting in this years’ edition of the International Festival of Maltese Song. Would you care to explain the meaning behind the lyrics and the genre that the song encompasses?

The songs starts off as a ballad, but then evolves nicely into a soft-rock song. I adored it from the first time I heard it. The melody is strong and the lyrics are so moving. The song is about all the stories that are written in time during a long, loving relationship between two people. It describes the hopes, dreams, experiences and memories that two people build together. I dedicate it to my loving parents who this year celebrated their 40th year of marriage.

As a music competition, the International Festival of Maltese Song was the first to promote the national language through the medium of music, eventually followed by L-Għanja tal-Poplu and Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza. With the Public Broadcasting Services supporting the event, it makes it only second to the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. 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?

It definitely has a place within our local music industry. I had been secretly hoping for its comeback for many years. It was such a pity when they stopped organizing it. There is a big lack of songs in our beautiful Maltese language, and there is no other way to put it: the Maltese and Gozitan public love Maltese songs. I know this because I continuously meet local people who keep mentioning some of my Maltese songs, and saying how much they love listening to them. I really wish and hope that the Festival Kanzunetta Maltija is back for good.

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

As always, I would like to thank all the lovely fans who keep supporting us local artists, our music and our dreams. Without your constant support, I would not be able to find the inspiration and the will to continue pursuing my music dreams and projects. Thank you all. Big hug.

Published in Interviews

escflashmalta.com has been granted permission to speak to the local artists competing within this years' edition of the International Festival of Maltese Song, fourteen in total. Apart from speaking to them about their careers thus far, it is pivotal to denote that we have focused on their participation within this competition in particular and their stance on Maltese being passed onto future generations through the medium of song. The order in which these interviews are being presented does not reflect the running order of the competition which is yet to be determined. Roger Tirazona is the sixth artist and he will perform the track Inti Mill-Ġdid composed by Paul Abela to the lyrics of Joe Julian Farrugia.

Without a shadow of doubt, you are one of the most experienced vocalists in this competition, having previously been a winner of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza back in 2003 with the song Inħarsu ‘l Quddiem performed alongside Nadine Axisa and also a first and second runner-up at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest in 2006 and 2007 with the tracks This Heart of Mine and Starlight. Each competition represents a different feeling and a different backdrop but how do these three in particular reflect upon the current Roger Tirazona?

I consider myself very lucky to have had a very colourful, varied and multidisciplinary music career till now, and every experience had a profound effect on me.  Currently my career has blossomed to not only singing in different occasions and in Musical theatre, but also in musical composition and production.  With Trilogy we managed to elevate our music to what I really am as a performer; with the right mixture of light pop music, trained classical discipline and the right touch of romance, which is what I would like my voice to be about.

Ben Howard and Tom Odell are two singer/songwriters who have gained fame for their own material, and it seems that internationally renowned record labels are giving more opportunities to such artists. In recent months, you have shown yourself as both a vocalist and a songwriter, having been writing for the likes of Nadia Vella, a talented female vocalist who is still waiting for her local big break. Tell us, how different is performing from song writing and is there one which you prefer over the other?

The reward one gets from composition and performance is different but similar enough to go hand in hand.  When you are performing someone else’s song you are conveying their feelings and their dreams.  There is great satisfaction in making someone else’s feelings into something real and giving life to someone else’s poetry.  But when you make your own music, there is the added bonus, that people are actually peering inside of your own mind and sharing with you the passions and dreams that brought that music about. 

Inti Mill-Ġdid composed by Paul Abela with lyrics provided by Joe Julian Farrugia is the song that you have been entrusted to perform within this years’ edition of the International Festival of Maltese Song. Would you care to explain the meaning behind the lyrics and the genre that the track encompasses?

The song is a romantic and poetic song, inspired by images from nature.  Paul wrote a beautiful melody that is very emotionally expressive and it has a positive and hopeful feeling that marries well with the poetic lyrics.  Joe Julian, inspired by nature as he most often is, uses a metaphor to make us understand the feeling of losing someone who is very important to us in our lives.  There is always that special person, or special people whose existence in our lives, inspires us to be great and to rise to any challenge that may be presented to us.  So the song asks, “how can I do such things if you are not here again with me?”  I think this song will speak on a personal level to everyone as it is a simple, yet powerful reference to human experience that we all go through.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_u7dv3ETLi0

As part of a group, or a duo, it is fair to say that you have been incredibly successful within the local music industry and competitions in particular but then again, luck has not transcended into any of your solo participations despite managing qualification in several competitions. To what does one owe success when joined by others on stage and do you think there is any particular reason for how things in your career have turned out?

I do not measure my career’s success by the trophies or festival victories.  For me it is more important to be respected as an artist who brings beauty to people.  It is more important to be respected as a reliable and trustworthy and talented performer.  It is true that circumstances were more on my side when I was in a duet or when I was part of Trilogy with respect to festivals.  It is also true that the musicality that is offered by a duet or a trio can be more fulfilling than with just a single performer and this is true for everyone. 

But one has to also remember that festivals are song contests and most of the onus of a festival entry rests on the song itself, not just the performer.  On the other hand, when I participated in an international “singer” contest in China, along with another 35 entrants, including from all over Europe, Asia and the United States, I progressed through 2 elimination phases and reached 6th place along with being given an artist award.  This is just one example of an international experience, which was rewarding for me and I was recognised as a solo artist.  The same goes for the concerts that I gave internationally.

As a music competition, the International Festival of Maltese Song was the first to promote the national language through the medium of music, eventually followed by L-Għanja tal-Poplu and Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza. With the Public Broadcasting Services supporting the event, it makes it only second to the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. 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?

Yes I believe with all my heart that this festival is an essential part of our culture and I would hope to see it grow further, including having the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra involved in it and to be turned to the most important Music event in Malta.  The ethos of this festival is very different from KKI and Ghanja Tal-Poplu.  I think that FIKM allows for more poetry and romance to be expressed on stage than other festivals and that brings a lot of artistic freedom.

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

I would like to tell the readers that I hope they will enjoy my song as much as I will enjoy performing and that they will be able to relate to the same feelings I will convey.  I also urge them to keep supporting local artists and local music, especially that which is performed in our Mother tongue.

Published in Interviews
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