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Saturday, January 09, 2010

I Like It Rough

I'm amazed at the recent developments on the case of young Mark Camilleri who is looking at the prospect of facing jail time because of Malta's outdated obscenity, censorship and blasphemy laws. Mona Farrugia (Malta's number one food writer) has published a very articulate reflection on the situation. She has also started circulating an online petition addressed to Malta's lawmakers asking for the following:

1. For Malta's censorship, obscenity and blasphemy laws to be changed to reflect the year we are living in (rather than the Middle Ages)
2. For our politicians to take their heads out of the sand (in general, but especially with regards to the above)
3. For the Police to drop the case against Mark Camilleri, 21-year old student Editor of Ir-Realta', a University newspaper in Maltese. When he published a particular piece of fiction in Maltese, Camilleri was prosecuted through laws that make it possible for him to be imprisoned.
4. For the University of Malta Rector and Chaplain to apologise in public for causing such ridiculous hassles and wasting Police time.

It's undoubtedly the first remarkable petition in Malta for this year. I can fully see why some people may be offended by works covered by these ancient laws (and seriously doubt there will be any apologies coming from Tal-Qroqq) but it really is about time that Maltese lawmakers do something concrete to protect freedom of expression in Malta.

Process seems to be the one word that describes most of what I'm doing and/or thinking about these days. The latest censorship petition in Malta and my weekly podcast are certainly clear examples of this, at least for me. The 195th Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast features some of the first releases for 2010. If this is the shape of things to came this year, this could turn out to be quite an interesting year.

The year's first release comes from metal rockers Fire who have issued a single from their album Thrill Me. Come with me is available as a free download on Reverbnation, which is sponsored by Microsoft. I must say that Kenneth Calleja's voice has never sounded better.

The first album announced for release in 2010 is Xammar, a 13-track CD of new Maltese songs by Freddie Portelli. The CD will be officially launched in February to coincide with Freddie's next tour of Australia. These 13 songs now brings the veteran singer's total number of tracks released in the last 45 years to 257. This new album is therefore quite appropriately titled as anyone hoping to be as prolific really needs to roll up your sleeves to catch up with Freddie. The title track from Xammar is uniquely crafted to bring together rough classic rock 'n roll and the singers love for his dog Nina. In my book, Mojo Nixon has got nothing on Freddie Portelli.

I'm always grateful whenever Maltese artists send me their CDs. One the ones I received over the Christmas break is With Stings Attached by For Strings Inn. I played a track from this EP before it was released last autumn, but now that I've actually received my own copy of the disc I couldn't pass up the opportunity to play a track from it. I've picked one called Strada Bar, which shows this new band as a force to be reckoned with on the local alternative rock circuit.

As regular MMI podcast listeners know, one of the things I cherish most about the Mużika Mod Ieħor series is the prospect of discovering and promoting new acts. So the first podcast for 2010 featuring new music must include something from this category. As it happens I recently came across a young new band called Bridget Bone. As a debut release (available via their Facebook fan page), What if signals great potential for this band, particularly if they manage to start gigging regularly in the coming months.

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.

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