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Saturday, March 06, 2010

I Don't Want To Go Out

Having once again witnessed the devastation property development in Malta has leveled at green areas and small towns across the islands, I am glad to see that a group of environment NGOs are taking to the streets to raise awareness about various issues that have ruined the country's environment. Encroachment of urban areas, illegal hunting and trapping, illegal occupation of public land, loss of biodiversity, air pollution, and water conservation are issues that have gone on for far too long.

Birdlife Malta, Nature Trust Malta, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, Ramblers Malta, Friends of the Earth, Moviment Graffiti, Greenhouse, and MOAM are leading a National Rally in Valletta at 10am on Saturday the 13th of March 2010, calling on the Government for effective law enforcement. Protests along the main streets of Valletta seem to be coming thick and fast this year. This one is at least as important as lowering utility tariffs and certainly as significant as free speech. If nothing else, let's hope that the government comes to see that something's rotten in this age of hope. Then again, change is inevitable...even if it's not always the sort of change we're after.

In spite of this, Malta remains as fascinating as ever. There's no way I'll stop following the complex cultural formations present there, as long as I'm alive and healthy enough to do so. This is why the Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast has come to the 202nd edition. I'd like to think that if this podcast was a plant it would probably be an orchid.

To shake out the Malta EuroSong earwigs out of my head, I've chosen to open this week's podcast with Petra singing All I Need by Keith and Andrew Zammit. This song stands out head and shoulders above most other new Maltese pop tunes I heard in the past weeks. I would have certainly included it on the MMI podcast if it had come to me by any other channel.

I'm also very pleased to see the new album from Chasing Pandora. The Driver and the Dancer has already yielded two excellent singles - Running in Circles and Time - and now Escape has also been released with a cute music video to help promote the release of the album. It's also quite wonderful that the duo is receiving some much deserved attention from the alternative music media in the UK. So far, this is undoubtedly the most outstanding album released from Malta for 2010.

From time to time I like to dip back into past episodes of the MMI podcast to catch up with acts I like who have not released any new material for a while. David Agius falls squarely in this category. The Sydney-based singer-songwriter plays a mean guitar and I'd really love to hear some new stuff from him in the coming months. His MySpace page is still active, but no new songs have been forthcoming for a while. While we wait, I've picked I'm Not the One from 2007.

Closing off this week's podcast is a new release from Stefanos, ahead of the upcoming release of his album Zero Plus. Unlike most of his other recording, My Flower Girl is actually a song, and features the voice of Brendan Jackson, who many MMI podcast listeners will know as the singer from Eve Ransom. His tuneful voice makes this song well worth a listen and perhaps this track will be the highlight of Stefanos soon to be released album.

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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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Too Old to Rock 'n Roll

I'm swamped in marking final assessments for this academic year. The weekend is a welcome break but the rest of my life tends to catch up with me whenever I'm not fully engaged with work at the office. News of change (supposedly real change, or so I've been told) tends to be like the proverbial water off a duck's back with me these days, be it Barack Obama's tough road to the White House or Joseph Muscat's not as tough road to Castille Place.

As ever, my weekly podcasts keep me sane. For the 117th edition of Mużika Mod Ieħor I've chosen to present a couple of live recordings I discovered in recent days. The first of these comes from The Free Blues Club in Szczecin, Poland. As MMI regular listeners may recall, Polish funk band Ambulanza is fronted by Maltese music maverick Mario Cordina. The live version of Telefon is a prelude to the forthcoming album from the band, expected later this year.

Keeping it live, the next track on this week's podcast comes from a television show from last December that featured the song All About You by Grimaud. As with the song from Ambulanza, you can also watch this video clip via YouTube, along with other rare footage from Grimaud's long career as a singer.

Going back down under to see what Maltese musicians are up to we find that Andre Camilleri & the Broken Hearts have just released their second album. Australian is out on CD soon but you can already download all the the tracks for free from the official website. Stuck in Melbourne is the track I've selected to include as a sample from this album for my podcast listeners.

The rest of this week's podcast features material from two musicians who appeal to niche markets within the local underground music scene. They've both been working on their respective albums. Elyk Elymur's Dismantle & Destory should be out this summer but meanwhile you can listen to There and Back to determine whether the album is something you should be looking forward to.

The CD Maġija Sewda by Saħħar is out next week. It will be launched at the Elements Rock Cafe in Paceville on Friday the 13th. Did you expect it to be on any other day? Nsejjaħ il-Mejtin is available as a rough mix through MySpace and since I don't have a preview copy of the CD I can only share that with anyone who may be interested in this dark release.

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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