Archive for December, 2012

Shake the Tree


* Vote for the Top 2012 Music Releases in Malta – poll open until 31 December 2012.


Show notes for the 324th Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast featuring music by performers from or in Malta:

Andrew ZammitTwieled is-Sultan
Following last year’s Paċi fl-Art, Andrew Zammit returns with this one for 2012. It’s a pleasant song that devoid of the saccharine sweetness that normally accompanies most mainstream Christmas songs. Over the past twenty years of so, Andrew has worked with many musicians who have broadened his muscial horizons and this is very clearly reflected in songs like this, which can only really come from mature pop rock musicians. It’s really a good way to open this year’s special Christmas edition of the MMI podcast.

DiCaMilied Iswed
Diane Camenzuli has just joined Maltese metal band Weeping Silence as lead singer. This song is her collaboration with Marco Larski Ellul and shows her in formidable form as a solo artist. I’m sure that 2013 holds great stuff for her and the band she has just joined. I’m really looking forward to whatever they are about to produce together, and I’m sure I’ll be featuring it on a future edition of the MMI podcast.

MisturaDiska tal-Milied
This duo has surprised many by appearing in the top 5 of the Online Releases category in the MMI 2012 Listeners’ Picks poll, which is open for voting via Facebook until the end of 2012. As you would expect, the lyrics are a social commentary about this time of the year, but I’m sure that their ever-growing fan base will really appreciate this song as an antidote to the empty cheer that permeates most of the festive season.

Mutt Ley & Gia with the Angel Pop Choir – Christmas Time
In 2008 the original version of this song was unleashed on the Maltese music scene as a collaboration with Gianni Zammit and Moira & Chris. Matt Ley and Gia have now reworked this song with a children’s choir and dedicated it to raise funds for the UK-based charity You Touch Africa. The song is available as a single download on iTunes.

L-IstrinaStay
Another charity song comes from Malta’s now established annual campaign L-Istrina. With music by Toby and lyrics by Steve Compagno, this one features the voices of Kurt Calleja, Raquela, Marilyn Mifsud and Richard Edwards. It’s the kind of song that will either turn into an instant classic or will simply join the fray of countless other songs that have surfaced at this time of the year as part of the soundtrack of some heart jerking scheme or other, pushed by local television marathons…or should that be telethons.

MCANinni La Tibkix Iżjed
Released last year on the day (or so) after I had recorded my 2011 Christmas edition of the MMI podcast, this song has not only found its way into this year’s show but has also landed a nomination in the Top Video category on the MMI 2012 Listeners’ Picks poll. This is certainly an alternative way of look at (or listening to) Christmas, but this one is surprisingly respectful of the Indri Schembri original, which as become a classic (and certainly traditional) Maltese Christmas carol.

Sempliċiment tat-TriqĦrug (Riħa ta’ Milied)
If you’re looking for a sincere contemporary expression of Christmas angst, look no further than this fresh offering from Malta’s foremost underground hip hip act. Not quite appropriate for family listening, particularly where escapism is the order of the day. Gritty is probably how many people would describe this sort of thing, but then again it’s a reality that has been swept under the carpet for far too long, especially in the Maltese way of life. I think it’s a very fitting way to end this year’s MMI podcasts.

The next MMI podcast will appear on Saturday 5th January 2013 and it will feature the top picks by my listeners and others voting on Facebook for the favourite 2012 Maltese music releases.

The RSS feed for the Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast is available here or you can simply click here to subscribe directly with iTunes. You can also follow each new episode through the MMI Podcast: Facebook Fan Page or on MySpace. If you have no idea what any of this means, just enjoy listening to the podcast on the player right below this text.


My Angel

Show notes for the 323rd Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast featuring music by performers from or in Malta:

SkimmedRonnie
Skimmed are finally releasing their first full length album Summer Lovers on the 23rd of February 2013 at the intimate British Legion Theatre in Valletta. To hold us over until then, or perhaps simply to promote this launch event, they’ve released a single from the album, which is a tribute to 1960s pop icon Ronnie Spector. Although the band has produced a string of impressive single releases over the past couple of years or so, I must say that this is one their most impressive tracks to date. If there’s more of this sort of thing in store on the album, I’m sure it’ll prove to be one the first significant debut albums to be released in 2013.

ClandestinesTry Too Hard
I lifted this track of the split cassette release Summer Camp for Pale Young Boys, which Clandestines share with Hey Sus, for two reasons. The first of these is the fact that I need to follow up on an M3P exploration with band member Daniel Abdilla, but more importantly to have a good excuse to provide a link for the MMI 2012 Listeners’ Picks Poll, which is open until Monday 31 December on Facebook. The split album is obviously nominated on this year’s MMI poll.

Mel XkejfaStoryteller
Former Chasing Pandora singer Melissa Portelli returns as a solo performer called Mel Xkejfa. She has just released this track to promote her debut solo album supported by a number of collaborators from her time with Chasing Pandora. There will be a video to promote this song in the coming days (you can see it here when it’s out) and a live show planned for 25th January 2013 at the St James Cavalier Music Room in Valletta. The album Who Me Mel Xkejfa? was officially released on 3 December 2012, so it’ll have to wait until next year to be nominated in the MMI Listeners’ Picks poll.

XiolaHalf A Day
I’ve made no secret of my admiration for Maltese singer-songwriter Adolf Formosa over the years. His songs have been featured on several editions of the MMI podcast. This year he has been collaborating with a couple of fellow kindred spirits operating under the name Xiola and recorded an album comprising 13 tracks called Bay of Pigs. This is certainly no commercial release and my only criticism is that I’d really love to hear Adolf do some songs in Maltese one day. Meanwhile, this new collection from Xiola will be among my treasured 2012 recordings from Malta, even through I failed to included in the list of nominations for the MMI 2012 Listeners’ Picks poll.

Ħolma Qattusa feat. Robert Farrugia FloresTalba
Although not as sophisticated as I’d have liked it to be, this Maltese-language collaboration between Ħolma Qattusa and PDM frontman Robert Farrugia Flores is still quite a pleasing song. The video that accompanies it is not very imaginative, but you could argue that at least there’s a video for the song making it more palatable to spread through YouTube. If there are other similar collaborations in the pipeline, things can really only get better…so let’s hope that that’s what’s in store for 2013.

Mikiel HaberFranco Waqqa’ l-Gvern
Following up on last year’s Diska Vili, which is among the nominations for Top Online Release in MMI 2012 Listeners’ Picks Poll, Mikiel Haber returns with yet another timely reworking of a classic song (The Beatles’ All Together Now from Yellow Submarine) to comment on a socio-political situation currently gripping the Maltese islands. This time it’s Franco Debono’s rebel rousing actions, which have brought the Gonzi government to an administrative cul de sac after many months of delaying the inevitable.

The RSS feed for the Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast is available here or you can simply click here to subscribe directly with iTunes. You can also follow each new episode through the MMI Podcast: Facebook Fan Page or on MySpace. If you have no idea what any of this means, just enjoy listening to the podcast on the player right below this text.


Follow Me

Show notes for the 322nd Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast featuring music by performers from or in Malta:

Lauren AquilinaFools
Way back in September my friend Kenneth J. Vella introduced me to the beautiful haunting voice of this British singer of Maltese descent. I immediately declared that this was a star in the making. Time is proving me right. Now that her debut EP is actually out (it was released on 22/10/12) it gives me great pleasure to include it on the 2012 MMI Listeners’ Picks Poll in the Overseas category. She is a great contender on this year’s poll and I think she has a good chance of unseating Joseph Calleja who is currently defending last year’s top pick spot in this category with his cover of the Mario Lanza classic Be My Love.

Claire TonnaMar
The debut album from one of my personal favourite Maltese singer-songwriters is called The Port. This is one of the tracks from that CD, which is now being released in New Zealand where the artist will be spending the next couple of months promoting this album. This has made me nominate this album in the Overseas category of the 2012 MMI Listeners’ Picks Poll. Having spent so many months away from Maltese shores, I sincerely believe that Claire Tonna deserves to be in this category regardless of the fact that her main musical collaborator is Mario Sammut, better known as Cygna. Although not as high profile a release as the other two I mentioned already mentioned today in this category, I’d be very surprised if this album didn’t manage to end up in the top 5 on this category.

Martin McNeil and the DissidentsApothecary
Last week I sat in a radio studio in Malta having a conversation with Alex Alden about alternative guitar tunings. This led me to convince her to break a string on her dad’s Ovation guitar just minutes before she was due to sing live on Michael Bugeja’s Rockna radio show. Luckily Konrad Pule’ came to the rescue with his impressive acoustic Gibson. I was therefore quite pleased to see her again no only backing Stalko at the launch of their album Grandiloquence last Sunday at The Orpheum in Gzira, but also on the video for this song by UK-based band Martin McNeil & the Dissidents. I’m now rather curious to see what comes next from Alex Alden. After all she is nominated in two categories on the 2012 MMI Listeners’ Picks Poll – music video and online release.

The Red Model(What’s In) Colonel Gaddafi’s Suitcase
Having all but disappeared for the alternative music scene in Malta for the good part of the last 10 years, former Shostakovitch’s Nightmare drummer Bernard Camilleri returns with UK-based band The Red Model, who have just released debut album Taste the Difference. They will be playing a couple of gigs at the Coach & Horses in Malta to launch the album there too on 7 and 8 December 2012. I’m sure that this band will go down well with local alternative rock fans as well as old SN supporters who will be glad to see the old Gringo thumping the skins in his homeland.

Christabelle CurmiIl-Kappar
While not one of the top songs on this year’s L-Għanja tal-Poplu, I’ve selected this one to remind my faithful podcast listeners that the many titles to chose from on the 2012 MMI Listeners’ Picks Poll include the album for this year’s YTC contest. Christabelle Curmi is one of the more consistent exponents of songs in Maltese and I think that if she’s lucky enough to be given the right song in the (hopefully not too distant) future she could become one of the country’s better known singers of Maltese songs. I believe she has what it takes to join the likes of Mary Spiteri, Maryrose Mallia, Doreen Galea and others like them in time.

The RSS feed for the Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast is available here or you can simply click here to subscribe directly with iTunes. You can also follow each new episode through the MMI Podcast: Facebook Fan Page or on MySpace. If you have no idea what any of this means, just enjoy listening to the podcast on the player right below this text.


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