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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Magic Bus

Now that the public transport system in Malta is back to "normal" it's good to start thinking about what will really come from the shambles created on the roads of Malta and Gozo throughout most of this past week? Will the liberalization of mass transport on the Maltese Islands really improve in the coming months. Perhaps it'll take a couple of years or more. Will the characteristic authentically vintage buses (not the ones made for tourist) survive much longer?

Knowing how hot the temperature gets at this time of the year in Malta, I seriously doubt anyone has the necessary energy to really bother with all this right now. Truthfully I must admit that I'm impressed by the Transport Minister's actions toward reforming the sector. In Malta it takes a hard-headed political animal like Austin Gatt to change anything that's been ingrained into the Maltese way of doing things for generations.

You could ask why I should care about all this when I don't live in Malta? Aside from the fact that I'm fascinated by this sort of this, the simple answer is that I depend on mass transit to a large extent whenever I visit the Maltese Islands now. So it really does matter to me. Unlike the first-time visitors to the Malta who swore never to return after the mess their holiday turned into, I must return to the islands several times in the coming years.

Ironically, it's at times like this that I miss (if that's the right word) being there. I'd have been able to stay on for the upcoming Hunters Palace gig at Warehouse 8 on July 25. Alex Vella Gera and Peter Sant recently recorded a number of tracks in London along with percussionist Vinicius Duarte. From these London session I've picked Brussels, to open the 123rd edition of my weekly Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast. Alex Vella Gregory will also be appearing at the upcoming gig, so it promises to be a splendid evening of fine music for discerning ears.

Last week
I mentioned that Pink Pube has just released the music for Dubbien by Particle Blue. This release is blanketed in sweet sorrow for me and all Particle Blue fans. The recordings are devoid of Claire Tonna's unique vocals and this recording is possibly the last we'll hear from what was undoubted one of the most interesting musical duos to grace the local scene in recent memory. Antoine seems to have found his groove again with Shattered Pride (featured in MMI #122) and I'm hoping to including a recent recording by Claire on an upcoming edition of the MMI podcast.

Errol Sammut seems to have appeared on this series more than any other singer in recent months. This is because he is involved in a relatively large number of bands and projects. The most recent of these is a band called The Does; called so after the initials from the band members - Dirk, Owen, Errol, Steve. To me it sounds just like an alternative version of Stone Joker, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Errol's voice is very recognizable and it makes you either become a fan instantly or tune it out after one too many listens, depending one your personal taste, I suppose.

After last year's impressive line-up for Malta's XFM Virtual Rock Star contest, which was won by Slur/Ann Degaetano, I was expecting an equally palatable cross-section of new acts and songs this year. There are a few good contestants but I must admit that I'd have liked to see more participants. I wonder what happened. Anyway, one of the better bands taking part is called Wax. Their song is called Thoughts and it comes with a decent video that I'm sure will be nominated in that category for the listeners' picks towards the end of this year.

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. If you have no idea what any of this means, just click here.

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