I have lots of reasons to celebrate right now. The (way too) early Christmas reminders have nothing to do with this. The rollercoaster is currently on the upturn.
A couple of days ago, my former classmates from St Paul's Missionary College in Rabat (1978-1983) had a reunion. This was the first such event for this group since the end of our school days. I was unable to attended but my beloved Immanuel has blogged about the encounter. I've even received some photos from my old buddy Patrick Farrugia. It seems like a splendid time was had by all.
Meanwhile, this week marks the first anniversary for Mużika Mod Ieħor. The first podcast in this series was recorded and released on the 19th of November 2005. It's still available online, so you can still listen to it. The very first song I played was Xtuppaw's Ġenerazzjoni ta' Meqrudin, so I saw it fit to start this week's podcast with that song again. The version you can hear on my podcast is not the one on the majestic album Is-CD tal-iXtruppaw, but rather the raw demo released through their website in the summer of 2005. What a great anthem!
Incidentally, you can now vote for your favourite Maltese music releases for 2006. Xtuppaw's album is among the nominations, of course. Also among the nominations in the albums category is Winter Mood's fourth, Ordinary Men. This album was released just a few days ago and it captures the sound of what is most possibly Malta's longest running rock band. Founding member Steve Caruana Smith (a.k.a. Is-Serp) quit the band soon after the recording of Ordinary Men. Can't Help Myself, the song I chose to play on this week's podcast, is one of two I like best on this CD. I'll probably play the other one in a future edition of Mużika Mod Ieħor.
Since this week's podcast marks one full year of podcasts in this series, I wanted to maintain some of the spirit of the very first episode. Aside from Xtruppaw, on that first offering, I also played a relatively mellow track after the noisy tune from the Xtrupps: something off the Jason Paul Band CD. I then followed that up with a track from the southern hemisphere: a song written and produced by Adam Bonello, which played widely in Australia and New Zealand. This time I've picked a song by Luke Caruana, who performs as Carra. This Sydney-based singer-songwriter was in Malta for a number of gigs earlier this year, and promoting his debut EP entitled Travelling Solo. You can hear The Sky Speaks to Me off that EP on this week's podcast and if you like Carra's music you can vote for him in the Overseas-based releases category for 2006.
A whole year of Mużika Mod Ieħor podcasts has brought me closer to the music that matters to anyone who cares about Maltese popular culture. I am most grateful to all the bands and recording artists who have sent me their CD and MP3s over the past 12 months. I'm sure there's more to follow in the future. My plan is to continue with this series as long as I can. The number of quality releases for 2006 is simply amazing. The local scene has matured in a way that can only be described as impressive. Now, thanks to the Internet, Maltese musicians are finally finding a larger audience than can appreciate their talents in a broader context than the one we were limited to in previous times.
If it wasn't for the Internet and my weekly podcast, I would probably have completely overlooked someone who deserves great praise. Why Not? is the name of the song from Chris D'Alfonso who released his debut CD Blueprints in 2005. Since then he has gone from strength to strength, even graduating as a medical doctor in the interim. Isn't that impressive? Equally outstanding is the fact that, to my knowledge, Blueprints is the first album by a Maltese artist available for sale on the iTunes Music Store. Although the CD was released last year, Blueprints was released on the iTunes Music Store in April 2006. It therefore qualifies for a nomination in the Internet release from 2006, where you can vote for your personal choice along with titles in the other categories.
The four categories are: Maltese Album, Single/EP, Internet Release and Overseas-based Artist Release for 2006. You can vote for one title from each category, so you can vote up to four times, as long as you pick titles from each of the lists. I should also mention that voting on this poll is free of charge. The final results will be included in the first podcast for 2007 in the Mużika Mod Ieħor series.
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.