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Friday, 01 January 2016 14:02

2015: Reviewing a Successful Year in Music

Every year brings with it a number of events, festivals and lots of new material that many appreciate and play over and over throughout the year. The editorial board of escflashmalta.com decided to have a look back at the main highlights of 2015, the year in which no Malta Eurovision festival was held because it was held back in late 2014 but other annual competitions keeping the singers busy such as; l-Għanja Tal-Poplu, Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza, the Summer Hit Song Contest and for the very first time a singers competition for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.  There were quite a number of events that kept our site busy and also our readers on the lookout for the next event.

The year surely started in full swing for Amber who after winning the right to represent Malta in November of 2014, a lot of work was done to ensure that the song is given the right boost and everything would be ready for the big night in Vienna. Sadly, Malta finished in 11th place in the semi-final and missed out on a chance to compete in the grand final in Vienna but this whole experience was surely one to treasure for the Maltese ‘Warrior’ and as we head into 2016, Amber is ready to release her first singe ‘What They Say’ by the same team behind ‘Warrior’, Elton Zarb and Matthew Mercieca. 


The first local festival of the year, happened to be one in Maltese in 2015 in the name of ‘L-Għanja Tal-Poplu’, a festival that has been going for a number of years and has a good following thanks to the importance it gives to the themes of the songs. The winner of the festival was the song ‘Ġismi’ interpreted by newcomer Ecca Muscat. Mark and Matthew Pellicano’s composition attracted a lot of attention from the beginning, thanks to its graphic theme which deals with sexual abuse in fact, Mark Pellicano, the author behind this number won the prestigious  award for the best social theme in the festival. Raquel Galdes finished as the first runner up with the song ‘Ċans Ieħor’ which was penned by Daniel Paul Farrugia and Norbert Borg, whilst Rita Pace ended in third place with ‘Battibekk’ she wrote along side Emil Calleja Bayliss and Paul Attard. 

Following this event, the finalists of other competition were announced but the attention turned to towards the Junior Malta Eurovision Song Contest, where for the very first time 20 singers competed for the right to represent Malta in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Bulgaria. The three favourites from the get go where, Christina Magrin, Veronica Rotin and Destiny Chukunyere, and these three super talented girls surely did not disappoint as they belted out their number and managed to finish in the top three positions. Destiny Chukunyere was the one who ended up on top. After consultation with her team, PBS selected the song that Destiny was going to sing in Bulgaria which was composed by Elton Zarb and penned by Matthew Mercieca, the team behind Malta’s last two Junior Eurovision entries and Malta’s 2015 Eurovision entry.


Destiny gave her input in the song to both in the composition and also with the lyrics, these prooved to be vital in coming up with a number that suits Destiny’s voice and personality. The creation of a memorable, catchy number in terms of ‘Not My Soul’ was surely a successful formula – Destiny arrived in Bulgaria as one of the top favourites to win the Junior Eurovision for the second time for Malta and she did not let anyone down. She delivered the performance of a lifetime and won the competition with the biggest score to date – managing the rare feat of winning both the public vote and the jury vote. The win was well merited, throughout that week in Bulgaria, Destiny was nicknamed mini Aretha Franklin and we’re sure we will be hearing more of her in the years to come.

The annual Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza saw a number of new names in the competition, mixed with others who were no strangers to this festival. The result was slightly unexpected as Analise Mifsud’s self penned ‘Kuraġġ’ won the judges hearts with her simple yet very well sung number, a song that speaks about finding the inner strength to fight when you hit an all time low. This was Annalise’s second participation in this event and one can say she went by unnoticed until the final night where she emerged victorious over Dorcas Debono’s ‘Ma Ninsa Qatt’ written by Dominic Cini and Rita Pace which finished in second place and Dario Bezzina’s ‘Dment Li Malti Ħaj’ written by Ray Agius, which was seen as one of the top contenders from the beginning.


Two other winners who emerged in the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza were Mikaela Bajada who won the New Talent Section and Paolo Micallef who triumphed in the second edition of Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza Junior. Mikaela Bajada reached the finals of the prestigious event and went on to win this section with the song ‘Għandi Ħolma’, a composition of Mark Spiteri Lucas & Francesco Pio Attard.

On the other hand, Paolo Micallef won the judges with his quirky number ‘Maġija B’Tekonloġija’ a composition of Augusto Cardinali and Etienne Micallef – he gave a very intriguing performance as through it he gave the song life. This was Paolo’s second participation in the event and surely celebrated his lucky birthday on the day of the festival. In second place was Nicole Falzon with the beautiful ballad 'Ngħix Ħolma', a composition of Mark Spiteri Lucas and Emil Calleja Bayliss, and in third place, another ballad, this time with a social theme in the form of "Inħobbkom It-Tnejn", a composition of Dominic Cini and Chris Azzopardi, with vocals provided by Rutger Scicluna Galea.


The Summer Hit Song Contest returned for the second consecutive after having a break of nearly three years. The winner of this edition was the song ‘Tabula Rasa’ sung by the bubbly Julie Pomorksi who won her second festival, ten years after triumphing in L-Għanja Tal-Poplu as a young teenager. Her number was composed by Augusto Cardinali and Giovann Attard, she also had her input in both the composition and the lyrics. It was the first time for Julie, giving a go at songwriting and with the help of Augusto and Giovann, she wrote the beautiful and intriguing ‘Tabula Rasa’. The runner up of the competition was Michela Galea, who also managed to win two awards which are unique to local competitions, she won the best duet with ‘Bounce Back’ singing alongside Janvil and also the best Maltese Cover with ‘Għanja’, an original of Nadine Axisa. This composition was by Renato Briffa and Emil Calleja Bayliss. The second runner up of the competition was Danica Muscat with ‘Amour’, a song composed and penned by Philip Vella. 

2015 year finished off with the announcement of the 20 finalists of the Malta Eurovision, all fighting for a chance to represent Malta in Stockholm, Sweden among the competitors there’s the return of former Eurovision runner-up Ira Losco, who made her return to the local competition with two numbers after months of speculation of whether she will participate or not. Yet, the race is surely still wide open, with 20 strong numbers and varies styles which appeal to different people – in fact both locals and foreigners discussed how this could be one of the best Maltese national selections in a while. The competition will in fact open the festival season in the fourth weekend of January, with the semi-finals on the 22nd of January and the finals the next day.


One rumour which went round during 2015 was the possible return of  the ‘Festival Internazzjonali Tal-Kanzunetta Maltija’ but unfortunately it was not the case, seems that it was put aside for 2015 for some reason or another. A real pity because it gave light to a number of new Maltese songs in the last edition and gave the enthusiasts another festival to look forward to on a national scale. Yet, so far it was not meant to be. Let’s hope that 2015 would be a year were one gets to celebrate through more competitions and more songs to feast the keen Maltese music lover. 

On behalf of the editorial team of escflashmalta.com, we would like to wish you a Happy New Year filled with joy, health and success in whatever your heart desires. We urge you to keep following escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about the local music scene in 2016. All the best! 


Published in Editorials

Sugar Chopsticks” composed by Minik to the lyrics of Emil Calleja Bayliss with vocals provided by Michela Dalli is a brand new release from the young and talented vocalist. Coached by Pamela Bezzina, a two-time backing vocalist for Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest, Michela has been alternating between being a vocalist and an actress, having also held a supporting role in the hit television series; “D.R.E.A.M.S” which aired on Television Malta.

Michela made her nationwide debut in music when she got through to the Talent Ġdid category of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza back in 2011, eventually making it through to the final where she finished in second place, ahead of Michela Galea and just behind Angelica Portelli. It is worth noting that both Michela Dalli and Michela Galea are semi-finalists in the Talent Stabbilit category of this year’s edition of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza. 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: SoundCloud

Published in Local Music News

It has been a turbulent couple of days with the announcement of the finalists of this year's edition of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza with no less than 5 artists getting through the second phase of the competition with two songs or more. I do not envy the committee for having to go through the tedious waiting game before making the final announcement as reserves are somewhat awaiting the call to see whether they got in, especially when they should have got in by merit through their vocal capabilities.

Throughout the day, texts and calls from renowned artists, and songwriters were received by editorial members of escflashmalta.com, to try and answer queries with regards to the supposed changes, seeing to the emergence of another 10 entries in the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza 2014, despite having seen an original list of 20 published on no less than three media outlets; MaltaRightNow, ESCflashmalta and TVM. Nevertheless, the errors are being cleared out after having received an assurance by Chairperson Claudette Buttigieg whose team is working hard to make the final revelations in the next couple of hours.

For any future festivals, the suggestion that I would like to pass is that any artist who is submitting more than one entry, should only get through to phase two with just ONE entry, and that way, giving the opportunities to the local music scene in general, as well as creating less problems for the organising committees. Otherwise, I wish every one the best of luck in every competition. As escflashmalta.com continues to search for financial support, we are here to cover the Summer Hit Song Contest, the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza and the International Festival of Maltese Song for sure, so we urge you to stay tuned to this portal for all the latest news.

Source: escflashmalta.com


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.


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.


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.


Published in Editorials

In the local music industry, the Eurovision Song Contest is one of the most coveted events to garner the opportunity to perform in, noting that it has also spurred on the beginning of some astonishing careers, including those of Ira Losco, Fabrizio Faniello and Miriam Christine to name a few. These three though have another successful victory in hand that differs them from all the rest, and that has come during the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza organised by Media.Link Communications. escflashmalta.com is a covering the event, having also been represented on the committee in the past seeing to the editions from 2010 till 2012.

Tomorrow, 3rd April, Media.Link Communications will be hosting a meeting for composers, lyricists and vocalists who wish to partake in the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza. In recent days, there have been a lot of rumours but nevertheless, the birth of a new edition kick starts tomorrow, with a brand new committee taking over and hoping to give the competition more credibility as it used to have in the past. The most recent winner was Fabrizio Faniello with the song Aħfirli Jekk Trid composed by Minik to the lyrics of Rita Pace. It also successfully entered the iTunes Chart for a couple of weeks. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news.

Source: Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza (Facebook Page)


Laura, one of the female vocalists competing in this years' edition of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza with the track Fraħt Għax Sibtek written by Frederick Camilleri, is becoming somewhat accustomed to participating within this local competition noting that this will be her third participation. Just below, five questions have been asked by the editorial board of escflashmalta.com in order for you to get to know Laura a little bit better. Nevertheless, this is an interview and review with former Eurovision Song Contest representatives; Chris and Moira listening to all of the songs and passing their judgement. With regards to Laura, they stated that 'she has a good voice, but nevertheless needs to smile more whilst giving a performance', ultimately offering seven (7) points.

Laura, this is your third time in the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza, and you are definitely hoping that it will ultimately prove to be the big break prior to making it through to the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. It is no surprise that you have submitted entries with the hope of representing Malta at the Pan-European competition but have thus far not proven successful in making it through to the final stages. Will you be adopting a new approach for the coming years?

I like to sing and perform different styles of music so i look forward for any challenge and opportunity that may arise. I always believe in the songs I submit.

In this years' edition of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza, you are presenting the track Fraht Ghax Sibtek which has somewhat received mixed comments from the general public thus far. Frederick Camilleri, the veteran songwriter is responsible for the track, noting that he was also the individual behind last years' masterpiece which ranked within the top ten following the final vote of the professional jury. What is the exact meaning behind the song and what are you anticipating with regards to the live performance?

The song originally was a poem composed for a couple who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, but the lyrics also describe love which is never ending, which grew from the first moment. I feel this song is special as I am also living it in real life thanks to my husband Ramon. So it is completely dedicated to him!!


The songwriting duo made up of Philip Vella and Gerard James Borg are somewhat synonymous to the world of the Eurovision Song Contest with their entries having represented Malta on five occasions from the year 2000 onwards. In 2009, you had the opportunity to perform their entry Something About You during the Malta Eurosong semi-final. The track, predominantly pop infused with dance was relatively intriguing. How was it created and would you have made any alterations to the presentation if you had the chance?

Well after I perform and watch the performance I always criticise myself and see room for improvement. Obviously I was still younger at age and now I think differently in terms of performance.

In 2002, the Festival Internazzjonali tal-Kanzunetta Maltija was officially suspended in order to give way for the nations' participation in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest but both were eventually given up subsequently. It was recently announced by Robert Cefai that the competition will be officially returning this year and that preparations are set to begin immediately now that the green light has been granted. Do you have any interest in submitting for this competition and do you believe it is a positive step for the representation of Maltese through the medium of music?

I think this festival is a good stepping stone for singers who love Maltese language as I do. But unfortunately I do believe that in Malta you can do millions of festivals which will mean nothing compared to the Eurovision Song Contest as the majority of the Maltese public is only interested in it. This is the feedback I get. I am not known as other singers are in Malta and when I meet new people and come to know I am a singer too, they question me why I don't take part in the Malta Eurovision. This mentality has to stop!!!

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

I thank them for all the support and that is what keeps me going!!


Published in Interviews

During the years, one of the most successful competitions in the local music scene has surely been the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza and this is due to the fact that it is one of two competitions whose entries are in the national language of the country, that being Maltese. After a hiatus which stretched ten years in total, Media.Link Communications decided that it was high time for a return and in fact, since then, things have looked rather positive noting that each year, new talent is established along with a mixture of already established talent. In the past couple of weeks, escflashmalta.com has been looking at some of the most memorable statistics including the fact that the runner-up of the past three years has been absent in the following year and that Eleanor Cassar has been the most successful in making it to the final eleven times, nine times as a soloist and once as a duet. This time round, the focus turns to the male artist who has made the most appearances and he is by far none other than Mark Tonna. 

Male artists have always had a tendency to stay away from competitions actually noting that there is more interest amongst the gender on radio for example but nevertheless, the last two entrants at the Eurovision Song Contest have both been male keeping in mind Glen Vella in 2011 and Kurt Calleja earlier this year. When it comes to the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza, Mark Tonna has provided the most entries in the competition or rather, has made it to the finals the most scoring a total of eight (8) entries, all of them as a solo performer. As you are going to note within the list below, Mark has worked with a large number of songwriters and this just goes to show that mixing it up a bit does definitely give a music career more flavour, an element which can be proven to be quite successful in the long run.

Mark Tonna made his mark on the local music scene within the Malta Song for Europe having participated on four occasions, the first one being in 1995, followed by his fourth place finish in 1997, then also returning in 1999 which remains to be his best finish thus far and last but not least, his participation in 2003. His participation in the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza led to a victory on his fourth try actually with the track Waħdek Ma Tkun Qatt but he did return due to the fact that he loves to perform in Maltese, citing it as a beautiful language. He takes every live performance seriously and shows sheer professionalism with all of the artists competing actually. He is a role model and he is absolutely well respective for that honour.

Source: KKI Compact Discs


Wednesday, 20 June 2012 13:13

KKI: Stroke of Bad Luck for First Runner-Up

The Committee of the 2012 edition of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza has been quite busy with all of the proceedings promising the viewers at home that this will be a bigger spectacle that what was seen last year when the event was organized for the twentieth time noting one major change with the audience seated throughout the whole evening, enjoying the twenty tracks at the comfort of their chairs. When one considers that this event has been around for such a long time, there is also to be noted the sheer prowess in terms of history and in fact, when looking at the last three years, it seems that the first runner-up has been hit by a stroke of misfortune noting absenteeism in the following year for some reason or another.

There has been consistent talk that the runner-up of one year does indeed try again in the following year and although this is not yet entirely proven, they are still missing the following year and one does tend to try and build momentum. In 2009, the runner-up of the competition was none other than Kaya who performed the track Lilek Biss written by Mark Spiteri Lucas and penned by Joe Chircop. Originally the song had qualified with the vocals of Annabelle who would go on to win the competition with the track 1964 composed by Philip Vella and penned by Mark Amaira. This was the third time in recent history that Kaya had finished in the top three but the following year, she did not make a comeback into the finals and thus could not do one better and be the first to win the competition twice!
Way back in 2010, the competition was said to be wide open noting that the emergent talent of a number of performers took place and in fact, one could note that the names were of the newfound famed artists. In the end it seemed that Amber won with the track Trid Tapprezza composed by Ray Agius and penned by Alfred C Sant. In second place that year was a newcomer by the name of Gloriana Arpa Belli whose song Fil-Mużika composed by Renato Briffa and penned by Doris Chetcuti was entirely differently. The performer, who is the daughter of 1972 Eurovision Song Contest representative; Helen Micallef has yet to make her return to the competition. It has not been proven whether she did try again because her name did not really come out as one of the second phase qualifiers.
The very last year in question is the most recent one, which was actually the twentieth edition of the competition. I believe that anyone who got through should be lucky in saying that they took part in a different type of setting for the very first time. The runner-up was also a noteworthy individual, because the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza nurtured Albertine u L-Qamħa from previous years having competed in the Talent Żagħżugħ portion. The track entitled Skont Id-Daqqa ż-Żifna composed by Dominic Cini and penned by Giovann Attard lost out to Mike Spiteri and his entry B'Rieda tal-Azzar written by Ray Agius. Once more, it has not been sanctioned whether there was a submission from the performers this time round but that means that for the third year in a row, the first runner-up of the previous edition is missing.

One of the most pivotal competitions in the local music scene is surely the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza having the honour of being one of the two leading competitions in which songs submitted into it feature in the Maltese Language which in itself is a merge of Anglo-Saxon, Semitic and Latin in reality. We have been going through a number of statistics and it seems that since the year 1997, there has been one artist who has entered the competition with more songs than the others and this is a woman in the form of Eleanor Cassar who has even won the competition during one of the occasions. We will be going through the vast history of this exceptional performer.

Eleanor Cassar has grown to become an exceptional artist with multiple accolades to her name both in Malta and abroad where she has come out as a winner in each and every competition. Within the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza, since the year 1997, she has managed to make the finals with eleven tracks in total but being the one with the most solo performances, those amounting to ten (10) due to the fact that one of them was a duet with the renowned Glen Vella who would ultimately go onto represent Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2011 with the track One Life composed by Paul Giordimaina and Fleur Balzan.

  • 1998: Ħallini Ħdejk (Renato Briffa / Joe Chircop)
  • 2000: Min (Renato Briffa / Joe Chircop)
  • 2001: Emozzjonijiet Imdallma (John David Zammit / Paul Callus)
  • 2001: M'Hawnx Bħalek (Chan Vella / Paul Ellul)
  • 2002: Ħdejk (John David Zammit / Joe Chircop)
  • 2002: Sisien Il-Ħajja (John David Zammit / Paul Callus)
  • 2003: Tgħid Min Jaf (Renato Briffa / Joe Chircop)
  • 2003: Nisma Biss (John David Zammit / Joe Chircop)
  • 2004: Għat-Tnejn Flimkien (Philip Vella / Joe Chircop)
  • 2005: Ix-Xemx Mill-Ġdid (Paul Abela / Joe Julian Farrugia)
  • 2007: Fil-Fond tal-Qalb (Paul Giordimaina / Fleur Balzan)

Eleanor Cassar has quite the long lasting presence in the local music scene noting that apart from doing well in this competition, she was also the winner of the Għanja tal-Poplu in 2000 with Glen Vella on the track It-Tfal tal-Llum which was composed by Chan Vella and penned by Paul Ellul. She has given the country some of the most iconic tracks in our language and she was of course, the winner back in 2005 with a track which boasted stunning lyrics with a charming musical accompaniment, something that Paul Abela and Joe Julian Farrugia are known for. It will be interesting to see whether Eleanor would return to the competition for yet another time especially having decided to try one more time following her victory in 2007 where she placed third in the final competition and she performed a ballad in which one could hear a pin drop. This was the first informative artist about the competition throughout the years, but it will not be the last. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for more such features.

Source: KKI Compact Discs