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Saturday, December 13, 2008

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

It may just be that this is the earliest I've ever been grabbed by the Christmas spirit. It feels quite odd, particularly because there's at least one whole week of lectures and meetings at our university before campus starts looking like a ghost town. If I stop and think a bit why I'm feeling Christmas in the air earlier than usual this year, I'd probably say it's the dark rum and pre-production on this week's Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast.

For the first time in years there seems to be a steady flow of new Christmas music from Malta. Some of it is far too saccharine sweet for my taste but there are a song or two that I'm more than happy to include on my weekly podcast. The first of these is Shilloo's Tree Christmastime is Here. The lyrical twist is quite refreshing and all the British references are an excellent example of the strong influence the colonial years have had on contemporary Maltese culture.

I didn't want to turn this week's podcast into a Christmas special, so I've also included one non-seasonal track. Hadrian Mansueto's music would have probably made it to my list of nomination for the 2008 MMI Listerers' Picks poll, if I had discovered it earlier. Voting is now underway via Facebook until the 3rd of January 2009 but I still wanted to sneak in Manseuto's music before the end of the year. Running Away has hints of The Doors' Riders on the Storm (if not an actual sample!) and it's as good as way as any to introduce this young musician to the MMI podcast listeners.

Back to the Christmas stuff: I was very pleased to be included in the publicity drive for Muttley's latest project, now that he has returned to Malta. Recording as Mutt Ley, he has teamed up with Gianni Zammit and Chris & Moira to deliver a new yuletide song called Christmas Time. Better still, all money generated from this song will be given to away to charity.

As Christmas is all about good cheer, I wanted to share one of the best Maltese musical moments from this season with my podcast listeners this week. X-Tend double CD Sbieħ il-Milied from 1991 was not only one of the most forward looking Christmas projects ever produced on the local scene, but also the very first double CD produced in Malta. My favourite track of all from that work is Il-Wasla tas-Slaten Maġi. It shows Charlie Dalli at his absolute best, both as a songwriter, a daring performer, and a collaborative maverick the likes of which I've rarely met.

The alternative view of Christmas (finally) has its own champions too. I haven't managed to get my hands on the Jingle Punk CD released (recently?) by Pupi tal-Logħob, but I'm still able to close this week's podcast with their wickedly delightful Wasal il-Milied based on the traditional carol named after Good King Wenceslas. It's an excellent way to end this year's Mużika Mod Ieħor offerings.

The next MMI podcast will appear on Saturday 3rd January 2009 and it will feature the top picks by my listeners and others voting on Facebook for the favourite 2008 Maltese music releases. Until then, over the next two weekend, we will once again be releasing Ġorġ Mifsud-Chircop's special christmas editions of his Tisqifa għall-Għana tagħna featuring Karmnu Debono l-Pikipakk (from Birkirkara) and Frans Mifsud ta' Żaren ta' Vestru (from Żejtun).

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

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