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Saturday, January 03, 2009


Happy New Year! Let's hope it's a good one.

Life has already reminded us how cruel it can be: I was very sad indeed to hear of Charles Camilleri's passing at the age of 77 today. Mro Camilleri's death was announced after I had already finished producing the 145th edition of my Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast. So I will produce a separate (non-MMI) podcast within the next couple of days to mark his passing. Charles was very kind to me over the decades that we knew each other, and he will always have a special place in my mind as the first person I ever interviewed on the radio at the very start of my broadcasting career almost 25 years ago.

The Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast returns after a two-week break over the Christmas period. This week's edition features music from the 2008 Listeners' Picks poll, which we carried out on Facebook over the last five or six weeks. 574 people cast their votes on the 2008 poll. This is more than double the number of people who voted the previous year.

55% of all voters cast their preference in the Top Album category. Ira Losco's Fortune teller received 18.5% of these votes but, as expected, Brikkuni's Kuntrabanda! was selected as the the Top Album for 2008, with 21.3% of the votes in this category. The track I've selected from Kuntrabanda! is the band's excellent version of Danjeli's Iż-Żufjett, which comes across as one of the most amazing Maltese songs ever written.

Thea Saliba's popularity as the singer for Malta's entry at to the 2005 Junior Eurovision Song Contest helped her achieve a considerable number of votes in the 2008 Top Single category. 58% of all voters cast their preference for Top Single and Thea's Musilicious received 13.5% of these 333 votes. However, popular Christian rock band Salt managed to garner 15.9% of the preferences in this category with Jars of Clay. My personal preference was for The Rifffs Magic of the Sun, but I believe that Salt's Jars of Clay is a very worthy winner of the MMI 2008 Top Single accolade.

Claudio Baglioni's version of L-Aħħar Bidwi f'Wied il-Għasel attracted 24.7% of the 198 votes cast in the Malta-related Overseas Release category. However, British band Airstrip One (whose Andrew Hill qualifies them in this category through his Maltese parentage) received 30.3% of the votes in this category for their EP Into the Silence. From this EP I've selected Crashing Cars, which is a much heavier offering from this band than most of their other songs. I have a feeling that Andy Hill will be making a splash on the Maltese alternative scene this year.

291 votes were submitted in the Top Online Release category. Ezzy's Puzzle People is clearly the most supported selection here with 21% of the votes. Still, for the first 3 or 4 weeks, Synthax & Chemicals looked like they could be the winners in this category with their online release Next to Hell. In the end, they only managed to secure 14.1% of all the preferences in this category.

I'd like to give an honourable mention to the outstanding Gozitan duo Chasing Pandora. I have a feeling that if rather than two EPs they had released an album during 2008 or just one EP they would be among the listeners' top picks. Two and Wide Eyed Beauty together received 23.8% of the overall votes, which is 2.5% more than Brikkuni's album. They clearly have a much deserved group of fans who adore them. The video for their song Memories (from the EP Two) received 3 more votes than The Beangrowers' Not In A Million Lovers, but 4 less than the 60 to Wax's Thoughts. Wax also won the 2008 Virtual Rockstar contest by Malta's XFM. I hope that the following and success they've built over the last year or so propels them into greater things in 2009.

Back to the 2008 Top EP category, it looked like Baz and Max Cilia (as Spriggan Mist) were set to clinch this title for their Konditions of Change. They ran a vigorous campaign for votes on Facebook but in the end Just Rock by nosnow/noalps gathered 24.6% of the 321 votes in this category. Their song Headset -- which incidentally has a great video to go with it -- brings the podcast to a close. In parting, I should also mention that nosnow/noalps managed to attract the largest number of votes out of all this year's nominations, with 13.6% of the 574 total voters behind them...just 0.4% ahead of Chasing Pandora.

There's also an enhanced version of this podcast. [coming soon!]

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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