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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Waterloo Sunset

Last Tuesday evening I was walking across Waterloo Bridge from London's theatre district heading towards the National Theatre on the South Bank to hear a spot of live jazz and take in an exhibition of Maurizio Buscarino's photos from Grotowski's Apocalypsis Cum Figuris. Suddenly I realized that if I turned to look back on the Westminster skyline what I was really experiencing was a Waterloo sunset. It was a magical moment.

I had just returned from a quick weekend visit to Malta. Aside from a couple of personal and professional engagements, the rest of my time there was filled with all sorts of live music. This week's Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast captures some of these musical moments, which included an unusual CD single launch in Valletta, a punky gig in Paceville, and an evening at CampusFest in the University of Malta's Vassalli Quadrangle. There was plenty more to see and hear but the laws of physics always get in the way on such occasions.

The music of Bletchley Park was originally featured on the MMI series last August after they had just won Rookie's 2009 Battle of Bands. They've now released their debut single entitled Alien so I thought it was appropriate to set things off with it on this week's podcast. I had a brief chat with guitarist Mario Saliba after the gig and then bumped into him again the next evening at Castille Place just before I watched Mark Dingli's Kont Diġa. I think I should play a track from its soundtrack on a future edition of the MMI podcast.

Just hours after arriving in Malta last Friday I found myself getting on an open top double decker bus to be taken to the Valletta Waterfront for the launch of the new CD single by Kristina Casolani.L to R: Jes Psaila, Renzo Spiteri, Toni Sant, Kristina Casolani The whole idea was quite well organized, especially the welcoming environment at Fratelli's where the launch actually took place. The coup was a live acoustic set of about half a dozen songs from Kristina's repertoire played by guitarist Jes Psaila and percussionist Renzo Spiteri (pictured here on during the bus tour). These arrangements clearly bring out the fact that Kristina is no ordinary R&B wannabe and her songs contain much more than well-crafted computer sequences. It was a very welcome surprise to hear such a heartfelt set from a performer who is better known for glitz and glamour.

Later that same evening I found myself at Remedy's in Paceville for Dripht's reunion gig. Dolls for Idols warmed up the crowd, perhaps a little more than Nick Morales expected. So much so, that this can be called the most troublesome show he ever gave because between a broken string, copious amounts of beer thrown towards the musicians, and clumsy stomping by die hard fans on the front row onto the small stage his guitar and pedals were damaged. Nevertheless, Dripht haven't lost the edge that made them so well-loved by the alternative scene in the first place. To mark their reformation (is that the right term?) they've reissued a track from their Global Warning CD entitled Ecoloclast. They have plenty of songs that are better than this but it's good to pay some attention to one of their lesser hyped tracks. I'm hoping they'll be writing and recording some new tracks next year.

Among many musicians at the Dripht gig (most of Xtruppaw, Ray il-Baħri, Patrick Galea, Adolf Formosa, Leo Stivala, and name a few) I met Antoine Vella who immediately told me that his former Particle Blue partner Claire Tonna has recorded a new song, which she has released as a confessional video on her Facebook page. I later found out that she was giving a very low-key gig in San Gwann that same night. Kicking myself hard is one of the things I remember doing when I found out about this. For the Princess Called Sea is one of the most beautiful songs I've heard this year. Claire has evidently found a new voice for herself and we can only hope that she will be recording more songs like this in the coming months. Along with all the tracks on this week's podcast, this song will be nominated in the 2009 MMI Listeners' Picks poll, which will open for voting in about six weeks time.

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 or on MySpace. If you have no idea what any of this means, just click here or listen to the podcast on the player right below this text. This podcast is brought to you by Vodafone.

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