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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Silver Train

Manic magazine appeared with The Malta Independent on Sunday this morning. I mention this because this month's issue features an article I wrote about Malta's favourite rock act Xtruppaw. The magazine doesn't have an online presence so I've reproduced the original text for my article here for people who are unable to get their hands on the paper version of the magazine.

Mużika Mod Ieħor is at podcast number 25 this week. I couldn't resist opening with something (remotely) related to the World Cup. The song I chose is not a football song at all but at least it has the same name as one of the most famous players of our time: Maradona. It comes from 48K, the 1999 CD album by the Beangrowers.

I have a number of tracks I've been meaning to play for several weeks. Some of them have been given to me by the artists themselves. Maltese rapper Buggly B is one of them. I met his father in Valletta on my most recent trip to Malta and that was the required catalyst for David (that's Buggly's real name) to send me his music. You can hear a track from his album Djarju Kullaġx called Ħolma Kerha.

I must admit that I'm fascinated by Maltese rappers. I'm not a huge fan of rap, even if there are a number of rap MP3s in my personal collection. What I particularly admire in Maltese rappers is that they don't simply rap in English, just as most Maltese rockers sing in English. I have a feeling that they've understood that rap is as much about sincere storytelling as it is about the flashy posing that comes with it. Another theory of mine is that there's a connection between rap and traditional Maltese għana. Until about 40 years ago, young kids with a natural knack for rhyme would have applied it to as many rounds of għana spirtu pront as they could lay their vocal chords on.

Xtruppaw are undoubtedly part of all this. No, I'm not playing another track from the newly released Is-CD tal-iXtruppaw. I urge everyone who hasn't bought their own copy to do so right away! In line with Xtruppaw's love of the vernacular, warts and all, this week's podcast features music from an underground cassette release from the early 1980s. I don't recall or even known the name of the person/s behind this fragrant ditty, but I have no doubt that although it became an instant cult classic this material never received any airplay from the one and only Maltese radio station available at that time. Someone known as L-Inkwina has created a website with MP3s from this cassette, along with other similar material. This stuff has been featured on the Maltese blogosphere in recent months, but unfortunately there are no details about the singer or the guitarist/s or anything else on the website either.

The material on the website is labeled by the unlikely name It-Tape tal-Bass u l-Ħara. I've chosen to play two tracks from this cassette. The first is called Il-Malti u l-Purgatorju, which is based on a well-known joke about a popular Maltese expression. The other is an instrumental interlude based on the jazz standard I'm in the Mood for Love. During the recording of the podcast I was still unsure about the name of this second piece simply because it's called Interludju on L-Inkwina's website. Still, I'd love to know more about whoever created these recordings about 25 years ago. If you know more than I do, please contact me directly or leave a comment at the end of this blog entry.

The simple yet beautiful sound of acoustic guitars played by Maltese musicians reminded me that I had another recording I've been meaning to play for a while. I mentioned this recording during one of podcasts last January when I played something by Hunters Palace. Mystery is apparently the only surviving recording made by Alex Vella Gera and Adolf Formosa. After playing with Peter Sant in Hunters Palace, a name he's retained for his current band, Alex and Adolf called themselves Treeears. There isn't much else to say about this short-lived duo or the recording you can hear on this week's podcast but I'm sure Alex will correct any heresy I've spouted here right away, especially if he's forgiven me for slobbering with Eurovision's "drivel" in recent weeks.

As I've become quite an avid MySpace user I've taken up the unwritten rule of including at least one track from that wonderful online network on every episode of Mużika Mod Ieħor. This time I'm playing Feed Your Mind from Industrial Metal band Spin mostly because unlike most other Maltese acts on MySpace they've made their songs available for full free download though the website. Strangely enough, there are still bands and artists who think that giving away a couple of songs from their repertoire will somehow damage rather than help their overall efforts to leave a mark on the scene. Thankfully Spin isn't one of them. If you like Industrial Metal you can download three of their songs from their MySpace page and I have a feeling that they'll be very happy about that.

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 add the latest episodes to your My Yahoo! page.

Blogger Erezija said...


alex here. no hard feelings about the eurovision. m'ghandi xejn kontrik man :) kulhadd b'xi hobby.

just to clarify, it is not the only surviving treeears track. we made two cds, but they're out of print :(

I am contemplating putting them online though... 

10:08 AM, June 14, 2006
Blogger Toni Sant said...

Thanks for that Alex! I was hoping you'd put the record straight about Treeears. Now I'm hoping you'll make good on your contemplation to put more tracks online. Let us know when you do please. 

10:15 AM, June 14, 2006

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