August 20, 2019

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In a Press Release issued by the organising committee of L-Għanja tal-Poplu – Festival tal-Kanzunetta Maltija, it has been made public that 144 submissions were received on Tuesday 19th April at the Youth Travel Circle (YTC) in Merchant Street, Valletta. This is a record number of original songs for the ever-growing festival which is being organised under the auspices of Spazzju Kreattiv, the Public Broadcasting Services, Pjazza Teatru Rjal and Fondazzjoni Valletta 2018.

As of Friday 22nd April, the first phase of the judging will commence, with a panel of expert judges whittling down to the songs by the end of the weekend, and leaving a shortlist of potential candidates, from which a second panel of expert judges will then select the 18 qualifiers. It is expected that the names of the songs through to the final phase of the competition will be made public by the end of April, hence in a weeks’ time. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4v0dPFgrFM

L-Għanja tal-Poplu – Festival tal-Kanzunetta Maltija will be a coordinated effort, with the support of the PBS Orchestra, led by Mro Paul Abela and Mro Joe Brown. The last winner of L-Għanja tal-Poplu was “Ġismi”, written by Mark & Matthew Pellicano, with vocals provided by Ecca whilst the last winner of the Festival tal-Kanzunetta Maltija was “Hawn Mill-Ġdid”, written by Paul Abela & Joe Julian Farrugia with vocals provided by Olivia Lewis. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: Press Release

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

Published in L-Għanja Tal-Poplu

On the 17th and 18th April 2015, at the Republic Hall in the Mediterranean Conference Centre, the Public Broadcasting Services will be staging ‘Amber in Concert - Warrior’, a spectacular event which will serve as a farewell concert to Malta’s representative at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015.

Joined by a 40-piece orchestra, inaugurated in December during ‘A Night at the Theatre’, under the direction of Maestro Paul Abela, composer of “Could It Be?” (Eurovision 1991), “In a Woman’s Heart” (Eurovision 1996) and “Another Summer Night” (2001), Amber will have the opportunity to perform several songs LIVE whilst accompanied by a variety of supporting artists, all of whom are instantly recognisable in the local music scene.

Joe Cutajar (Eurovision 1972), Franklin Calleja (Malta Eurovision 2013, 2014, 2015), Kurt Calleja (Eurovision 2012), Gianluca Bezzina (Eurovision 2013), Christabelle (Malta Eurovision 2014, 2015), Gaia Cauchi (Junior Eurovision 2013), Federica Falzon (Junior Eurovision 2014), Luisana Bartolo (Malta Eurovision Backing Vocalist 2012), Ivan Grech (Lead Singer of WinterMoods) and the Southville Dancers have all been given supporting act roles.

If you have not yet obtained your tickets for the event, and do not want to miss this event, then make sure to visit the official website of the Mediterranean Conference Centre. ‘Amber in Concert – Warrior’ tickets for the 17th April are still available, noting that the Public Broadcasting Services only added this date, after the high demand on the previous standalone date. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: tvm.com.mt

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wevxW3l_tkg

Due to the fact that a compilation album with all the songs competing in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest was not issued since 2011, a number of record labels, including CAP-Sounds and Jagged House have stepped in, with the hope of releasing the songs through digital services such as iTunes, Deezer, and Spotify for the general public to purchase or stream.

"Still Here" written by Alexander Rybak, "Chasing a Dream" written by Paul Abela and Joe Julian Farrugia as well as "Something in the Way" written by Mans Ek and Charlie Mason, performed by Franklin Calleja, Trilogy and Daniel Testa are the three songs which have been made available thus far, all through the German based company, CAP-Sounds, who have a distribution deal in place with Universal Music Germany.

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

"Still Here" and "Chasing a Dream" have been the most successful of the three thus far, both managing to peak at number #2 on the iTunes Chart in Malta, kept off the top spot by Band Aid 30 and their cover of the song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" 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: CAP-SoundsiCam Photography

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziIHcsbRmG4

Friday, 31 October 2014 17:52

MESC 2015: In-Depth Interview with Trilogy

On the 21st and 22nd November, the Public Broadcasting Services will be hosting the 2014-2015 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest at the Marsa Shipbuilding. 20 acts will be taking centre stage, in hope of representing the country at next year's edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, being held in Vienna, Austria. Over the next couple of weeks, escflashmalta.com will be publishing a series of interviews with all the participants. Whilst thanking the Public Broadcasting Services for this opportunity, Let's continue and follow things up with Trilogy.

Would you kindly introduce your entry to our readers and also identify the meaning behind the lyrics?

Our song is called “Chasing a Dream” and it’s composed by Paul Abela with lyrics by Joe Julian Farrugia.  The theme of the song is that no matter what life deals us, even if we are oppressed, we must find the strength and courage to keep chasing our dreams.  Hope and love never die and they will enable us to make our dreams come true.

In Malta, the Eurovision Song Contest is considered to be a major outlet for the music industry, and you stand here as one of the semi-finalists. What does the whole experience mean to you?

We consider ourselves to be very lucky to be with the final 20 for a variety of reasons.  Malta’s music industry is booming with talented Eurovision hopefuls and to be with the finalists is a great honour as it is.  Moreover this year will be a special edition because it will follow Junior Eurovision and we will be very lucky to also enjoy the magnificent stage that PBS has prepared for this occasion. 

Recently, Malta has been rather successful at the Eurovision Song Contest, making the final on four of the last five participation attempts. What do you think is the reason for this success, and do you believe that your entry has what it takes to continue this positive trend?

From the feedback that we have been given since the beginning of Trilogy back in 2006 from both the general public and people in the music industry internationally, we firmly believe that we have something unique to offer with our sound and our music, irrespective of the Eurovision and its results.  We are confident that we would be able to carry Malta’s aspirations with dignity.  We are a very hard working team and take Eurovision very seriously and perhaps it is this serious attitude to Eurovision that has enabled us to gain better standing in the contest.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TpyBDmHq0k

If you were given the opportunity to sing another one of the competing entries in the 2014-2015 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, which one would it be and why?

In reality we haven’t had time to listen to all the other songs because of our very busy schedule.  We would probably pick a favourite somewhere close to the final nights.  Having said that, songs for Trilogy need to be specific in style and music to suit the sound, voices and the use of harmony so we can’t really see other songs in the competition that could fit that requirement.  Our sound and song is truly unique.

Do you have any plans to release more music in the future, and do you have any particular projects in the pipeline?

As individual performers we also have major projects coming up, including Malta’s biggest Musical Theatre concert hosted by the PBS Orchestra on the 1st of November at MFCC, in which Eleanor and Roger will be interpreting some of the most favourite show tunes.  You will also see them together in The Phantom of the Opera as the phantom and Christine.  As Trilogy, we will surely be working together in the future as part of this new team that includes Ludwig Galea.  One of our plans is to eventually release a first Trilogy Album.

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

We sincerely hope that you will enjoy this great show in which each and every participant is putting a lot of energy and effort and please do come to the venue to support all of the participants! Love to all!

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

Published in Interviews

Welcome to a new initiative by escflashmalta.com. Given that a lot of our readers are not Maltese, on a monthly basis, we will be reviewing two songs in Maltese so as to encourage more and more of our foreign readers to listen to them and still understand the meaning behind them. We believe that language should not act as a barrier when it comes to music, hence, our reviews in English for songs in Maltese ought to facilitate one’s encounter with such songs. The choice of such songs is purely personal and any opinions expressed do not necessarily resonate with those of the editorial team. Also, do not bother to suggest any songs you deem fit to be dealt with in future posts.

Tema  ̓79: Composer Mro Paul Abela, Writer, Ray Mahoney 

Its first debut was in the 70s, in the rock opera Ġensna (literal translation: Our Nation), first held at Ħaġar Qim, one of the megalithic temples still standing in Malta. The number, 79 refers to the historic date of 1979, when the British military base left Maltese shores and following whole centuries of colonisation Malta finally conquered freedom.

The children, dressed in white and red represent a symbol of a resurging Malta, the old lady crippled by centuries of foreign rule now experiencing rejuvenation under a local ruling. Previous rulers are seen nodding at the audience, following one another in sequential order, hinting that the musical is reaching an end now that Malta is free. The song may be interpreted as a medley for it is delivered by all main singers, including Renato, Chaterine Vigar, Mary Rose Mallia,  Paul Giordimania, Bayzo and John Cutajar.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xa6Ur_z3rE0

The introductory lyrics give way to a whole series of vocabulary that derives from the natural world. The Rose (il-warda) is seen sprouting from the bramble (għollieq) and thirsty dry thorns (xewk għatxan), symbolising the revival of Malta, represented by the flower. Even the clouds (is-sħab)  seem saddened by the bitter fate of Malta, an evident use of the technique known as pathetic fallacy, whereby the weather conditions are influenced by the mood of the protagonists, in this case a whole nation. 

Minn bejn l-għollieq musfara

minn bejn ix-xewk għatxan

il-warda l-għajn li tara

lewn ħamran fl-għelieqi u l-qigħan.

Minn bejn is-sħab imnikket

Minn bejn iċ-ċparijiet

The birds (għasfur, singular) are now singing with joy and their song (il-għanja) will be everlasting, now that their country is free. Moreover, the wings (il-ġwienaħ) of the free (meħlusa) Maltese are now seen reaching the skies, heading towards the sun (ix-xemx), which could also be understood as a reference to all Maltese who died as martyrs, who can rest for real now that Malta is free. The Maltese flag (il-bajda u ħamra) is implied by the mention of the its two colours, the white (abjad) and the red (aħmar) respectively, and just like the cheerful bird song, it never ends (ma tintemmx), indicating a persistent nation that keeps on fighting till the end., whatever the hurdles along the way. 

Il-għanja qatt ma jsikket mis-smewwiet

l-għasfur sajjied

[...]

u l-ġwienaħ tal-meħlusa

jittajru lejn ix-xemx

[...]

Il-bajda u ħamra nbusha

bħalha m’hemmx li ma tintemmx

Such a patrotihic theme can never feel complete without a reference to God (Alla), which follows at the very end of the song, in a prayer-like manner, implied by the address from all Maltese encouraging Him to have a look upon (ħares fuqna) a nation that is finally free (qed jgħix mill-ġdid).  

O Alla ħares fuqna

dal-ġens qed jgħix mill-ġdid

The song is extremely synonymous with Mary Spiteri (Malta Eurovision singer in 1992 with Little Child) due to an immaculate cover version of the song. In fact she also delivered Tema  ̓79 during Ġensna in Concert in 2009 (http://youtu.be/-S0vdSBfGPg).  However, very recently, in 2014, Ira Losco has also given a flawless cover version of the song during the second concert version organised by Fondazzjoni Ċelebrazzjoni Nazzjonali (FĊN).

Source: escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6QDCSjdDQ0

Published in Editorials

In 2013, following an 11-year absence, the International Festival of Maltese Song returned to the local cultural calendar under the auspice of the Secretariat for Culture, then led by the Hon Dr Jose Herrera. The music industry was excited, and exuberant to learn of the return, with several well known artists putting their name forward in the hope of restoring pride back into a returning showcase which had in the past featured winners such as; Ira Losco, Lawrence Gray and Georgina. 

What added to the grandeur of the showcase though was the inclusion of a small orchestra, led by Maestro Sigmund Mifsud, largely responsible for the Rockestra in recent years. Following the exclusion of live music from the Eurovision Song Contest, no local festival decided to invite the orchestra back, citing it as a waste of financial resources, a reason which we disagree with, wholeheartedly. Anyway, the issue at hand is that rumours are quickly spreading round that despite the promise made by the Secretariat for Culture less than 12 months ago, the International Festival of Maltese Song might not be making a return in 2014.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfDu1h-BOC8

This comes as a surprise to many, especially in a year in which Malta is celebrating several anniversaries in relation to becoming an independent and republic country. Nothing represents Malta better than original music in the national language, but it seems that this element is well and truly miscalculated by our lawmakers, because if the festival does not take place then we are back to square one, lacking an independent competition which best represents the local music scene and the language that represent the nation and it's communities abroad, in countries such as Australia, Canada and the United States, who proudly following the competition in 2013.

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

The International Festival of Maltese Song has helped several artists, acting as a launch pad, noting that even upon it's return, it saw to the beginning of a brand new music career, that of Dorcas Debono whose merited 4th place with the song "Din Jien" written by Minik and Rita Pace would have never took place. At this stage, this editorial is being written for the authorities to make the right choice and not remove this competition from the cultural calendar. It would be wrong, immoral and deeply unpatriotic. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nX7pcGXhPQI

Published in Editorials

In a Press Release published by the European Broadcasting Union, the five member professional jury panel representing each country at the 2014 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest was released in accordance with the new regulations set forth earlier this year.  Malta, partaking in the second semi-final with the song Coming Home written by Richard Edwards Micallef and performed by Firelight, have enlisted the help of five extraordinary musicians; Paul Abela, Corazon, Elton Zarb, Pamela and Manolito Galea.

Maestro Paul Abela leads the panel with his expertise in the music industry, having been a part of the Eurovision Song Contest on four occasions either as a songwriter or as a conductor. He is joined by fellow songwriters and producers; Elton Zarb and Manolito Galea, the latter having helped create the final product that is representing Malta in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest and the former having been co-responsible for The Start, the first winning entry from Malta in any event organised by the European Broadcasting Union.

The two females represent a wealth of experience, with Pamela being a renowned vocal coach and also a multiple Malta Eurovision Song Contest finalist and Corazon being a television host, multiple winner of L-Għanja tal-Poplu, three-time participant in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest and most recently also commentator for the Public Broadcasting Services during the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. They will be voting in both the semi-final and the final round of the competition with their votes owing to 50% of the final result. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14rMJdR0QD8

In 2006, Maestro Paul Abela and Joe Julian Farrugia wrote a song entitled This Heart of Mine for a trio which in turn comprised of Roger Tirazona, Eleanor Spiteri and Cliff Zammit Stevens. Together, they were called Trilogy and finished in third place, behind Fabrizio Faniello and Olivia Lewis. That composition received a lot of praise but did not last long, noting that a couple of months later, Cliff had to leave for the United Kingdom and continue studying music abroad. 

This left an opening, a void, one which was replaced by a promising pop vocalist, Daniel Debono who had been found through the popular reality talent show L-iSfida. They submitted the song Starlight into the 2007 edition of the Malta Song for Europe, and finished in second place, quite a way off from Olivia Lewis who won that years' edition. It was noted that their image had to be adapted for better use of the music industry, and indeed, they did come back slicker than ever, two years later, with The Song In Your Heart which is considered to be the best track that they presented, alas finishing in sixth place.

escflashmalta.com has recently learned that Trilogy is set to make a comeback to the local music scene, alas with a brand new line-up knowing that Daniel Debono has also left to further his studies abroad. Joining Roger Tirazona and Eleanor Spiteri is seemingly none other than former Eurovision Song Contest representative; Ludwig Galea although a representative for the group has declined to comment about this speculation, continuing to fuel rumours that this is close to being reality. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest.

Source: escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TpyBDmHq0k

Published in Local Music News

Malta, a small island with a lot of talent when it comes to the arts noting several successful endeavours on foreign fronts, most recently acknowledged thanks to Gaia Cauchi and her success at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest with The Start which she co-wrote alongside Gillian Attard, Elton Zarb and Matt Mercieca. Nevertheless, this article is about the second event encompassing the Fondazzjoni Ċelebrazzjonijiet Nazzjonali, that being Ġensna, a rock opera written to commemorate Malta’s status as a republic, which featured some of the top artists in the scene.

Firstly, I would like to congratulate all those that took part, because the long weeks of rehearsals were pivotal to the general success of the show, as seen last night, with a strong sold out crowd taking to the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre to enjoy a show which had last been staged back in 2009. I will be brief, yet detailed in my analysis in highlighting the performances of the evening, kicking off with none other than Mark Tonna, whose impeccable rendition of the different ruler was truly music to my ears. His diction was perfect, and his tone reached a certain standard which was required throughout. It seems that the singer/songwriter has been on top of his game since coming in second place at the International Festival of Maltese Song in November of 2013.

Moving on, the runner-up of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2008 and 2012, Claudia Faniello was also truly on form, wearing a black ensemble accompanied by dark and gothic like make-up to give a sensationally emotional performance, one which saw my eyes flood with tears, something that rarely happens to me. Yet, the moment that everyone was expecting was definitely the rendition of Tema ’79 which was made famous by 1992 Eurovision Song Contest representative; Mary Spiteri. The role was taken on by Ira Losco, regarded by many as Malta's pop/rock princess. She took to the stage stage in a beautiful long cream dress and gave a performance worthy of a standing ovation, one which she got half way through her rendition.

Other stand out performers in my sincere opinion were Franklin Calleja, a two time Malta Eurovision Song Contest participant, Lawrence Gray, who almost represented Malta on two occasions, those being in 1999 and 2003 as well as Ivan Grech, lead vocalist of the group WinterMoods who I do not cite as one of my favourite vocalists but was well suited to the role he was given. Performing in Ġensna is a triumph in itself, and all the cast is to be merited. I singled out performances of soloists but on behalf of the escflashmalta.com editorial team, a big round of applause should go to the Animae Gospel Choir who accompanied almost all of the songs, the original cast who made a cameo appearance for one song and the amazing live band led by Maestro Paul Abela. Well Done!

Source: escflashmalta.com

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

Published in Editorials
Thursday, 27 February 2014 01:00

Malta: Nadine Launches Debut Album this Evening

On the 27 February 2014, the album Velvet by local singer Nadine Axisa will be launched. The album includes twelve original songs in the ‘easy listening jazz’ style, penned by various composers and authors. The album features a total of 38 top musicians renowned in the local jazz scene such as Dominic Galea, Sandro Zerafa, Charles ‘City’ Gatt, Paul Abela, Vinny Vella and Paul Giordimaina amongst others. Nadine is also collaborating with foreign musicians in this album, where two tracks feature bass player Roberto Badoglio and saxophonist Gabriele Comeglio respectively.

Although all tracks fall under the jazz idiom, there is a variation in the style of songs which include latin, swing, blues, ballads and funky tunes. Eleven tracks have lyrics in English while one song (1) entitled Għanja is in Maltese and boasts a certain musical charm. This was in fact the tune which Nadine launched as a single a couple of weeks ago. The album was named Velvet after one of the tracks which talks about the passion for music, which in turn is compared to velvet.

This album is a very special project for Nadine since it reflects her passion for this style. It encompasses the experiences she lived for the past ten years with some of the musicians she collaborated with in events such as the recording of other albums, gigs in Malta and outside Malta, and the Malta Jazz Festival. The album shows her versatility and brings together the talent of local composers and authors together with the ability of all these musicians. Nadine admits that this project is a dream that became a reality and thanks the Malta Arts Fund and other contributors for their support.

Nadine enjoys an interesting track record both in Malta and abroad, however she considers this project to be the most satisfactory accomplishment she has experienced until now. The album was recorded, mixed and mastered by David Vella at Temple Studios. For more information on the album, visit Nadine's Facebook Fanpage whilst the event page encompasses the creation of the concept to the actual release of the album. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news and a review of the album to follow in the next couple of days.

Source: Press Release, Bernard Polidano (Photograph)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLwAzsRY95w

Published in Local Music News
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