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Xarabank, one of the longest running television shows in Malta, produced by WE Media and hosted by Peppi Azzopardi on Television Malta, will be revealing the names of the twenty semi-finalists competing in the 2014-2015 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest.

A quick recap of the selection process, would denote that the Public Broadcasting Services received 134 entries, out of which 48 entries have been shortlisted to the second phase. All of the artists have been invited to the popular programme Xarabank, in order to ascertain their fate in the competition, hoping that they got through. The programme kicks off this evening at 20:45 on Television Malta which will be streamed LIVE.

12, Baker Street – Karen DeBattista

Beautiful to Me – “L-Aħwa”

Break All Borders – Jacqueline Richard

Breakaway – Glen Vella

Call It Love – Kurt Cassar

Chasing a Dream – Trilogy

Close Your Eyes – Danica Muscat

Closed Doors – Chris Grech

Could Have Been Me – Iona Dalli

Dark Dark Waters – Domenique

Dream of Love – Rebecca Mifsud

Eclipse – Ana-Maria Grima

Empty Hearted – Domenique

Fandango – Jessika

Flame – Monroe

For All Those Times – Gloriana Arpa Belli

Freedom – Simaria Galea

Hey Yo – Domenique

Hold My Hand – Estelle Imbroll

Hold On To Love – Olivia & Miriam

Home – Lyndsay Pace

Hurricane – Marilena Gauci

Indestructible – Annabelle Vella

It’s OK – Deborah C

Look – Neville Refalo

Love & Let Go – Sr Michaela, Sr Monica, Sr Rita, Sr Claudia, Sr Denise & Sr Magdalong

Love Call – Danica Muscat

My Next Tattoo – Domenique

Never Ask Why – Andreana & Fiona

Once in a While – Minik

Ringside – Gabriella Azzopardi

Rush – Christabelle

Secretly – Corazon

See Through Lover – Larissa Borg

Shine a Light – Malcolm

Something in the Way – Daniel Testa

Still Here – Franklin

Stop Haunting Me – Raquel Galdes

Stuck Without Me – Kylie Coleiro

Take Me as I Am – Domenique

The One That You Love – Lawrence Gray

The Thief – Dario Mifsud Bonnici

Warrior – Amber

What You Wanna Hear – Stefan Galea

What? When? Where? – Joseph Refalo

Where Do We Go? – Kurt Cassar

Who Needs a Heart – Soraya Cardona

Your Phone – Fiona Cauchi

Apart from the 6 former Eurovision Song Contest representatives, there are a number of well known figures from the local music industry, with a lot of surprises to be expected amongst the songwriters. In 2014, Malta got through to the final of the Eurovision Song Contest with the track "Coming Home" which Firelight performed impeccably. We urge you to stay uned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: TVM, WE Studios

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siKTx3veTXU

Friday, 26 September 2014 19:23

MESC 2015: Shortlist of 48 Entries Made Public

On the 3rd October, Xarabank will kick-off for another season, and it will do so with a bang, as the revelation of the acts through to the semi-final of the 2015 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest will be made public. Following the initial submission process, where the Public Broadcasting Services received 134 entries, a shortlist of 48 entries has now been published through the official website.

A quick glance at the list of shortlisted entries, one would realise that the list features a relative amount of established artists including; Glen Vella (ESC 11), Miriam Christine (ESC 96), Olivia Lewis (ESC 07), Lawrence Gray (MESC 98-99, 01-04, 09, 11), Gianluca (ESC 13), Trilogy (MESC 05-07, 09), Daniel Testa (JESC 08), Chris Grech (MESC 13-14), Jessika (MESC 08, 11-14), Amber (MESC 11-14), Domenique (MESC 11, 13), Danica Muscat (MESC 12-13), Marilena Gauci (MESC 11, 13), Andreana (MESC 98, 02-06, 09-10, 14), Fiona Cauchi (MESC 98, 01, 02, 05, 09) & Franklin Calleja (MESC 13, 14).

12, Baker Street – Karen DeBattista

Beautiful to Me – “L-Aħwa”

Break All Borders – Jacqueline Richard

Breakaway – Glen Vella

Call It Love – Kurt Cassar

Chasing a Dream – Trilogy

Close Your Eyes – Danica Muscat

Closed Doors – Chris Grech

Could Have Been Me – Iona Dalli

Dark Dark Waters – Domenique

Dream of Love – Rebecca Mifsud

Eclipse – Ana-Maria Grima

Empty Hearted – Domenique

Fandango – Jessika

Flame – Monroe

For All Those Times – Gloriana Arpa Belli

Freedom – Simaria Galea

Hey Yo – Domenique

Hold My Hand – Estelle Imbroll

Hold On To Love – Olivia & Miriam

Home – Lyndsay Pace

Hurricane – Marilena Gauci

Indestructible – Annabelle Vella

It’s OK – Deborah C

Look – Neville Refalo

Love & Let Go – Sr Michaela, Sr Monica, Sr Rita, Sr Claudia, Sr Denise & Sr Magdalong

Love Call – Danica Muscat

My Next Tattoo – Domenique

Never Ask Why – Andreana & Fiona

Once in a While – Minik

Ringside – Gabriella Azzopardi

Rush – Christabelle

Secretly – Corazon

See Through Lover – Larissa Borg

Shine a Light – Malcolm

Something in the Way – Daniel Testa

Still Here – Franklin

Stop Haunting Me – Raquel Galdes

Stuck Without Me – Kylie Coleiro

Take Me as I Am – Domenique

The One That You Love – Lawrence Gray

The Thief – Dario Mifsud Bonnici

Warrior – Amber

What You Wanna Hear – Stefan Galea

What? When? Where? – Joseph Refalo

Where Do We Go? – Kurt Cassar

Who Needs a Heart – Soraya Cardona

Your Phone – Fiona Cauchi

Apart from the established names, it seems that the line-ups of established groups such as Trilogy and Monroe have both been altered for the upcoming edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest with Ludwig Galea replacing Daniel Debono in the former, and Nadia Vella becoming a new member of the latter, joining former Malta Eurovision Song Contest finalist; Kelly Schembri.

Other names which have caught our eye in the list are surely those of; Karen DeBattista, winner of this year’s edition of L-Għanja tal-Poplu; Kurt Cassar, winner of the Best New Talent at this year’s edition of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza; Annabelle Vella, backing vocalist to Malta’s entry at the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2008 and a group of nuns, who have most likely been inspired by the recent phenomenon on The Voice of Italy.

Everyone is somewhat gasping about the non-inclusion of Ira Losco in the first shortlist with the general feeling around the industry being that the Public Broadcasting Services may go ahead and offer a wildcard as is stated in the rules and regulations. This will be made public in a week’s time as Peppi Azzopardi and his dedicated team at WE Media reveal the chosen acts. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about the 2015 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest.

Source: PBS / TVM

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

Monday, 08 September 2014 17:05

SHSC 2014: Curtain Brought Down on Duets Phase

Tonight! The Summer Hit Song Contest continues. A music competition which originally took place between 2008 and 2011 and featured Miriam Christine, Neville Refalo, Romina Mamo, Minik and Siconix as winners, with a brand new selection of original songs. The celebrity-packed show is set to host leading singers from the local entertainment scene.

This week's edition of the Summer Hit Song Contest sees the return of several local stars for the Celebrity duets phase. The show, which airs on Monday at 20:30 on F Living Channel, has a very strong following this Summer.  The past editions of the same festival were also nominated for the Malta Television Awards in the Best Entertainment category, and one can understand why!

Fiona Vella from Fiona Couture will spice up the show with her critique on the artists' fashion sense. Miriam Christine, the very first winner of the Malta Hit Song Contest (2008) will return to the show with a specific role ... one, which will be revealed duing the show. During this week's show we will be able to follow the following Celebrity Duets:

Franklin will feature in Ana-Maria Grima's 'To Hell and Back

Dario Bezzina will feature in Anna Azzopardi's 'My Hero

Karen DeBattista will feature in Simone Gauci's 'Hourglass'

Jessika will feature in Marie Claire's 'Just Wait'

Tiziana Calleja will feature in Julie Pomorski's 'Shout!'

Debbie Scerri will feature in Janice Mangion's 'The One'

The guest artists will also perform songs from their own repertoire, whilst the Summer Hit Song Contest participants will draw their own place in the final's running order.

The competition aims to promote the local music artists in search of a true hit song. The show is produced and hosted by Deo Grech and Ignatius Farrugia. Stay tuned escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for the latest news from this year's edition of the Summer Hit Song Contest. Show is aired on Mondays and Sundays at 20:30 CET on F Living channel, your favourite tv channel for the best music this summer.

Source: Summer Hit Song Contest

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52O9m1cJHXw

Saturday, 30 August 2014 09:55

Malta: Awe Inspiring Local Tune for August

And here we are, presenting to you all another monthly Maltese awe-inspiring tune. Riflessi (Reflections), sung by Karen DeBattista and composed by Mark Scicluna to the lyrics of Emil Calleja Bayliss is my next choice following Tema 79, reviewed in July. This song participated in last year’s Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza. Although it  did not make it to the very top, it was surely a magnificent stepping stone for DeBattista, following her triumph in this year’s Għanja tal-Poplu with Jien ma Naħdimx (literally, I don’t work).

The song’s vocab at the very beginning is predominantly marine and this reminds me of the first seconds of another successful song penned by Calleja Bayliss, Poeta Bla Kliem (Lost Muse), with words like nixxiegħa (spring), ilma (water), fond (depth) and riflessi (reflections) all related to water.  She finds herself stepping in this spring without managing to catch a glimpse of her own reflection, an absence which urges her to keep on insisting and go into another world, what she calls the surreal.

This is alluding to the incredible capacity we all have to immerse ourselves into another world, a world of our choice, doing away with our bitter reality and retreating into a better place, maybe another place of our own creation. Following her going into another world, her own reflections reappear, hinting her encounter with her very own self. Troubles with how her life might be unfolding become more evident and explicit by means of this stanza:

Din ħajti paradoss,

Għajjat bla ħoss

Kemm se ndum mitlufa nħuf?

Qed nitkisser f’elf biċċa

Qed inħossni nispiċċa

which suggests a life of opposites, a complete paradox (paradoss), ironically without any sort of life whatsoever, as implied by the mute screaming  (għajjat bla ħoss) and her being literally shattered (nitkisser) in a thousand of pieces (f’elf biċċa).  However, the comparision that follows, to a hopeful  (ma nieqaf qatt nittama)boat  in the middle of a storm (bħal dgħajsa f’maltempata) symbolises the strength of her very own persistence:

bħal dgħajsa f’maltempata

ma nieqaf qatt nittama

Confirmation to my interpretation of the reflections at the start of this review materialises close to the end of the song, previous to the very last chorus:

Kemm bkejt u kemm ħlejt żmien

Infittiex jien min jien

Ma kelli l-ebda ħjiel

Kif negħleb dan ix-xkiel

Imma issa sibt it-triq

Dak kollu li nixtieq

Riflessi ta’ min jien 

She is now face to face with who she really is (riflessi ta’ min jien), and the reflections she could not perceive with her eyes at the beginning of the song are now well visible at its final seconds, hinting a hopeful ending. However, one could well easily ask, but is she still in a surreal world, where everything is possible? And if she still is, what would happen should she return to the real, cold world that wipes out all reflections of who we are? 

Karen DeBattista, a year ago, gave an outstanding interpretation to this song and adding this up to her accomplishment at the 2014 Għanja tal-Poplu I believe that she’s surely one of the best emerging artists at the moment.

Further Reading: Karen DeBattista (Facebook / Twitter)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4QgwdgUbGw

Published in Editorials

Fondazzjoni Nazareth are getting ready to host the second edition of Żejtun FolkFest, a three day summer festival full of culture, music and entertainment scheduled to take place between the 24th and 26th at St Gregory's Gardens in the aforementioned town of Żejtun. With proceedings kicking off at 19:00 CET on a daily basis, it will definitely be an event not to be missed, especially by those who hold patriotism very high on their list of values.

Scarlet Sally, Infinite Loop, Footprints and Planet Seed are the most recognisable bands on the list with Errol Sammut and Chris Curmi from Airport Impressions playing an acoustic gig. Other artists in the line-up from the world of the local music competition include; De Bee, the first runner-up in this year's edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest; Karen DeBattista, winner of this year's edition of L-Għanja tal-Poplu and Odessa Green, a finalist in this year's edition of the Summer Hit Song Contest which officially kicked off earlier this week.

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

Fondazzjoni Nazareth, run on a voluntary basis, provides support and shelter for persons with special needs in three different homes at Żejtun. It was founded in 1995 by Fr Angelo Seychell, on the ARCHE model founded by Jean Vanier. It provides homes for those who have no family or cannot live with their family for some reason or other, and nowadays offers its services to 29 persons. it is currently building a new home to provide its services from which to offer its services. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for the latest news.

Source: Press Release (Official Facebook Page)

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

Published in Local Music News

Karen DeBattista, winner of the 2014 edition of L-Għanja tal-Poplu with "Jien Ma Naħdimx", composed by Mark Scicluna to the lyrics of Rita Pace first emerged onto the scene by making the finals of the Summer Hit Song Contest back in 2011, an experience which she holds close to heart. She has well and truly won several fans since then with her Official Facebook Page obtaining more than 600 followers in about 4 months.

In a concert organised by the Band Club of Balzan in recognition of the feast "Annunciation of Our Lady", Karen DeBattista was invited to perform two songs; "Fejn Staħbejtli" composed by Mark Spiteri Lucas to the lyrics of Paul Ellul as well as the "Ave Maria" which brought an end to the proceedings. The former is a song which has barely been touched upon since Ira Losco triumphed in the 2001 edition of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza but nevertheless, this mysterious gem was polished with a LIVE band under the direction of Maestro Ray Cremona. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news as soon as it becomes available.

Source: YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLtjKeP0djE

Published in Local Music News

A career in music is somewhat subjective to the opinion or either the public or a panel of professional judges, pertaining to the audience. In three years, one of the artists who has truly shown potential for growth has been none other than Karen DeBattista, a female vocalist whose first venture in music came at the Summer Hit Song Contest back in 2011.

Performing the song "Memoirs" composed by Mark Scicluna to the lyrics of Daniel Muscat was just the beginning, garnering traction when duetting with Thea Garrett, months shy after representing Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest. Since then, Karen has never looked back and had the opportunity to perform as part of the BOV Children's Choir during the Joseph Calleja Concert as well as The Voices Choir in support of charity.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bu42S626B88

Whilst thriving in the spotlight, Karen knows when the time is right, and putting herself forward for the Passport 2 Indifest competition was a good idea. Garnering the support of Annabelle Debono and Janvil in the final round of the competition, she triumphed and found herself in the 2013 Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza. The song allocated to her, "Riflessi" composed by Mark Scicluna with lyrics by Emil Calleja Bayliss was extremely well received.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CShSN9jTJfc

Whilst the reviews were glowing, the results were not as forthcoming, but all that would change as her L-Għanja tal-Poplu 2014 entry "Jien Ma Naħdimx" composed by Mark Scicluna to the lyrics of Rita Pace won the support of the professional jury and has received the backing of several key figures, praising the image that Karen gave the song, along with crystal clear diction. The future is ripe for this young 21 year old, who is on constantly keeping her fans updated through Facebook and Twitter. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news.

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

Published in Editorials

At this point in time, the local festival circuit has been witnessing a surge in competitions where the original songs have to be in Maltese, noting that the Malta Eurovision Song Contest remains to be the only one where English is the predominant language. This will not be the case in a couple of days time, as the organising committee of the Summer Hit Song Contest, which we are proud to support, will be receiving applications from those willing to partake in the event, being broadcast on F Living throughout the summer months. For the FULL version of Regulations along with the Applications, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and it will be answered back as soon as possible.

Against a fee of €50, each submission should be original in both music and lyrics, and no longer than 3 minutes 30 seconds in duration. It is worth reminding lyricists in particular that the subject cannot be interpreted as to being either political racist or anti-religious as those would definitely be grounds for immediate disqualification. If any artist, who submits more than one entry, gets through with two, then he would get the opportunity to perform the one with the highest amount of points, with the other songs either passed onto other performers or withdrawn from the competition at the discretion of the songwriters. Submission of entries will be received at the BME Studios in Luqa on the 24th May 2014.

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

It is worth keeping in mind that one of the main aims will be to give the 18 lucky finalists due exposure as the judges search for that hit song. Amber, former runner-up at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest with Answer With Your Eyes and Karen DeBattista, 2014 winner of L-Għanja tal-Poplu with Jien Ma Naħdimx were just two of the many artists who kick-started their career during the Summer Hit Song Contest. Previous winners include none other than; Miriam Christine, Romina Mamo, Minik ft. Siconix and Neville Refalo. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: Summer Hit Song Contest (Official Facebook Page)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bu42S626B88

Spiteri Lucas Entertainment, in conjunction with Media.Link Communications retired the format of Sas-Sitta in favour of a fresh take on a Saturday afternoon programme, Sibt Familja, which also incorporates light entertainment, interviews and a lot of laughter. Ray Attard, is joined by Debbie Scerri, 1997 representative in the Eurovision Song Contest as hosts and are known to welcome a number of personalities from all walks of life. The programme kicks off at around 13:30 CET and finishing at about 16:00 CET, meaning around two and a half hours of pure family entertainment for all. It is broadcast on NET Television.

Playing against each other are two surprise packages in this years' edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest; Christabelle and Daniel Testa, the latter being the second runner-up in a hotly contested edition. Fresh off her recent success in L-Għanja tal-Poplu with the song Jien Ma Naħdimx composed by Mark Scicluna to the lyrics of Rita Pace, Karen DeBattista will be making a guest appearance on Sibt Familja, which also led to her entry into the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza in 2013. The will not be the only vocal guest on the show with former Malta Eurovision Song Contest participant; Ivan Spiteri Lucas and also former Eurovision Song Contest representative; Ludwig Galea both making an appearance.

The VIP interview  conducted by Maestro Mark Spiteri Lucas will be with none other than the veteran actor Joe Borg. It is worth pointing out that all the music during the programme will be played LIVE as led by the gentleman mentioned above. Other attractions include female fashion trends by resident experts Rita Gatt and photographer Clint Gerald together with a team of models as well as comedian, Toni Busuttil. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for more of the latest news about programmes such as Sibt Familja on NET Television, which aims to promote the local music scene and give the general public entertainment.

Source: Press Release

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

Published in Local Music News

On the 15th March, Sir Temi Żammit Hall played host to the 38th edition of L-Għanja tal-Poplu, a revitalised music competition for which there were a total of seventy-one (71) submissions, sixteen (16) of which were presented to the audience present in the venue and at home with ONE Television broadcasting the event directly in real-time. Josephine Ebejer Grech & Clint Bajada presided over the competition as hosts, not only introducing the song title, artists and songwriters but even the musicians on stage, something which was innovative and well planned. Supported by the Malta Arts Fund and Fondazzjoni Ċelebrazzjonijiet Nazzjonali, it was truly an evening to remember.

David Aloisio, Vince Fabri, Rosabelle Bianchi, Eric Montfort, Elaine Falzon, Kevin Farrugia, Maria Abdilla and David Azzopardi were the professional panel of judges for the competition and they selected a worthy bunch of winners, all of which were mentioned by the public present during several points throughout the evening. Nevertheless, it seems like the jury and the public agreed greatly on the winning entry Jien Ma Naħdimx with music by Mark Scicluna, lyrics by Rita Pace and vocals by songbird, Karen DeBattista. In second place was the comical upbeat song about social media entitled Kif Xrobtuli l-Menti, written by Frank O'Neill, who performed it with Christabelle Curmi and Il-Lajks, leaving in third place a soft beautiful ballad entitled Wara l-Kanċell penned by Joe Julian Farrugia to the music of Miriam Christine who also performed the song in a duet with Olivia Lewis.

In the meantime, this competition is known to award a number of other trophies, in order to point out the exceptional quality of talent that Malta is known to have. Christian Arding was awarded with the Best Interpretation for his entry Il-Karba tal-Mument composed by Chan Vella to the lyrics of Kevin Tanti whilst Denise Spiteri was given the Best New Artist accolade for her stunning performance of Pupa written by Mark Laurence Zammit. The coveted Social Theme award which is given to the lyricist who challenges the stereotype and comes up with a brilliant all around combination went to Rita Pace for the wonderful Il-Quċċata which she wrote to the music of Jeffrey Scicluna, performed by 7 Spadi leaving only the singer/songwriter award which went for the aforementioned Frank O'Neill.

We would like to thank the organising committee of L-Għanja tal-Poplu for their fantastic support throughout these past couple of weeks, giving us the opportunity to speak to the artists, and making the songs available beforehand, giving the event positive publicity. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news about the local music scene and participation in the Eurovision Song Contest as soon as it becomes available.

Source: Official Website, Official Facebook Page

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

Published in L-Għanja Tal-Poplu
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