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Saturday, May 02, 2009

May It Be

I was just getting ready to blog about the fact that Wired Malta (formerly known as Wired Temples) is now active again with postings by Gattaldo when I received the very Toni Sant with Augusto Boal outside NYU - August 1999sad news that Augusto Boal has died. I have very fond memories of the summer weeks we spent together in 1999, when he gave a 3-week intensive workshop in the Theatre of the Oppressed at New York University. Assisting him during that series of workshops was one of the most beautiful experiences not only of my theatrical life but also of my life as a human being. Augusto made theatre because he cared about people. I will miss him.

The return of Wired Malta after hibernating since mid-winter is a very welcome. As some of the regular readers of WM may have noticed, Robert Micallef, its founder, has been too busy with other projects to continue updating that blog regularly. He plans to return in the coming weeks but meanwhile we've invited our long-term friend Gattaldo as a guest blogger to get things started up again. Gattaldo is setting out with the following two strands: (1) Noise - excerpts from various sources with one theme in mind, and (2) Borgo is a story, the characters of which all live in the same town. One of the things Gattaldo remembers most about his childhood was his father's imaginative storytelling and the fact that his dad would start the story without knowing where it would lead. In this little experiment, it's the journey that is important. It's a story with no end. All characters in this story are fictitious; and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Meanwhile, I've also released the 160th Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast. This week I've selected to play four brand new tracks and a previously unreleased recording. The opening song is the new single from The Myth. Dream sees Dion Farrell and his band finding their own style. It's been a long process and I have good reason to believe that it's far from over. Check out their MySpace page for the latest gig listings. Another new single comes from 8 Ugly, whose long-awaited album is expected later this year. Goodbyefinds singer Mark Azzopardi in top form. I'm looking forward to more from this band and hopefully I can catch them live one day sooner or later.

The Myth's Dream is a follow-up to Animal, which I played during one of the first MMI podcasts this year. During another podcast last January I introduced my listeners to the music of guitarist Stefanos. He now returns with a new recording entitled Zero Plus. Stefanos is a proficient rock guitarist and I for one would be very pleased to hear him play live and/or record with a proper band rather than a drum machine and sequenced tracks.

During my recent visit to Malta I was glad to (re-)meet Cecil Jones. We've known each other for decades but hadn't met since the early 1990s. I asked him to forward some of his recordings and I promised to include at least one of them on my podcast. Break Machine is an unreleased track writen and performed by Cecil Jones, with Mario Caruana on fretless electric bass and the late percussionist Nicki Doublet. This song helps me fulfill two long-held desires for this series of podcasts: playing something by Cecil Jones and featuring a recording featuring Nicki Doublet, who died young of a cruel illness some years before the series first appeared.

A few days ago, Tribali released a new CD called The Elephants of Lanka. After just a few minutes of listening to this album I would say that the band has matured since their first outing a few years ago. I'm grateful to Howard Keith and Dennis Fenech at Jagged House for sending me a copy of the CD by snail mail. This has enabled me to pick the track Festa as the closing track for this week's podcast. I'm sure that many music lovers will thoroughly enjoy the musical fusion presented by Tribali on The Elephants of Lanka. If you're in Malta on the 23rd of May you can catch Tribali live in concert at the GreenPak EarthGarden in Ta' Qali; tickets cost €15 and are expected to sell out 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 or on MySpace. If you have no idea what any of this means, just click here.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Windmills of Your Mind

When Kilin died earlier this week I paused to focus on my obsession with death and everything Maltese. I resisted temptation to blog about Kilin's passing when it happened, not just because I only met the man a couple of times and knew him only marginally through his writings, but more so because I felt the need to shake off the obsessive impulse I mentioned in the first sentence of today's blog entry.

I was also tempted to listen to a recording of an original Maltese song I wrote and sang with Kilin's daughter Cecilia in 1986. The song was written for Skruġġ, a Maltese musical based on Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol. I honestly believe that including it in this week's podcast would have been most inappropriate, for various reasons. I haven't seen Cecilia since before I left Malta for good in 1994, but I was pleased to see her name in print again, on a short note to thank people for their respectful tributes on one of the local newspaper websites. Perhaps I'll play that song on the Christmas edition of my podcast. Yes, that would certainly be more appropriate.

Not being physically able to attend the great gig by Xtruppaw and The I-Skandal today, did help my mood as I prepared this week's Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast. I'm not surprised, however, that once I got into it I got over both my Kilin-related thoughts as well as my misplaced longing for Maltese culture.

A new duo called Shattered Pride has just released some tracks via MySpace. Singer Dorian "Sid" Turner and electro-musician Antoine Vella got together in May when they discovered they shared a common taste in dark '80s electro-rock, which they've managed to capture beautifully on tracks like Beneath. They seem to be producing new material quite fast but that comes as no surprise for anyone who knows how prolific Antoine can be when the muse strikes. Fans of his former band Particle Blue are undoubtedly delighted by the official release of their 2005 recordings for the Dubbien performance. More about that next week.

I'm very pleased to see that Carrie Haber (as she now calls herself) has released a number of new recordings of songs we've heard as raw demos just a few months ago. The original version of They Turned Me To Plastic was featured on an earlier edition of the MMI podcast. So it gives me great pleasure to include the full-band studio arrangement of this same song on this week's podcast.

Carrie is currently in London doing a couple of gigs. Tonight she is Tony Moore's guest at The Regal Room. If you follow the Maltese music scene closely, you'll have seen Carrie championed by Tony on TV show Let's Talk Music a few week's ago. That TV series is quite unusual for Malta but it's wonderful to hear that there are plans for it to return next year. Since Tony likes Malta so much, it's only fitting that we include his music on a MMI podcast. From his album Perfect and Beautiful I've picked Face in the Window. Look beyond his history with Iron Maiden and Cutting Crew and you'll see that Tony Moore is a remarkable artist in his own right. I really enjoyed a set he played at SecondFest last year, and I'm currently revisiting that for my own research into Second Life.

"It's all good" is a mantra I've picked up from my wife. It's what leads me to include Black Metal act Improbus Atrum towards the end of this week's podcast. They released an EP entitled Bearing the Mark on the 4th of July. I haven't heard the whole EP, but for personal reasons I'm partial to My Immortal Master. From pictures I've seen of this band, I have reason to believe that they're interesting to watch live too.

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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