Archive for September, 2010

Make It Happen

Show notes for the 227th Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast featuring music by performers from or in Malta:

Aaron BenjaminI Can
Another single from this singer following up on his Break the Silence from a couple of years ago, which was also written in Sweden by Didrik Thott, Sebastian Thott and Sharon Vaughn. This trio of songwriters have also written for Kevin Borg (Street Lights), Boyzone (To Late For Hallelujah) and Celine Dion (Let Your Heart Decide) among others. This is star quality pop and I’m not sure it gets the attention it actually deserves in Malta and internationally. Still, that’s the pop world, I guess.

Eve RansomBleed
During a visit to Malta last July I met Eve Ransom at the Radio 101 studios, where they were guests on Michael Bugeja’s very first edition of his show Rockna. During that programme they announced that their next single would be called Bleed and I told them that was a great name as it was the same as that by one of the most unknown bands from the Maltese Islands, Tears of Revenge. Understandably, to some degree, they had never heard of that band or any of their songs. Their song bears no resemblance to the ToR cult classic, of course, and its places Brendan Jackson and his band on the forefront of contemporary guitar-driven rock in Malta.

Scarlet DropBroken Wings
Back to the Sweden connection on today’s podcast, I’m pleased that the music of this band has come to my attention. Graziella Väcklén and Leah Muscat give Scarlet Drop a strong Malta connection, even if they’re based in Sweden and active in Germany. The track I’ve selected to play is taken from the EP with the same name and most certainly showcases the band’s best qualities. I’m sure many hard rock fans in Malta would love to see them live but to my knowledge they’ve never performed in the Maltese islands nor do they have any plans to do so in the foreseeable future.

SplitMuscle to Muscle
The M3P: Malta Music Memory Project is now underway and I’ll be referring to it at least once during every edition of the MMI podcast from now on. Links for the show notes on this blog now point the the respective M3P pages rather than MySpace or anywhere else as before. Alfie Fabri’s personal collection is one of the most remarkable sources of Malta’s music scene, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s. The song I’ve picked today comes from a demo tape recorded in London by a Maltese band featuring Mike Mercieca and William Mangion among others. Alfie interivew William Mangion his pirate radio station about all this 1982 but I had never heard this material before. I’m sure many podcast listeners will as fascinated by it as I am.

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.

Mużika Mod Ieħor podcasts are brought to you by Vodafone.


Viva Malta

Show notes for the 226th Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast featuring music by performers from or in Malta:

The Lesser GodsAurora
Among 2010’s newcomers but made up of band members who are quite established in the local rock scene, The Lesser Gods are undoubtedly a band to watch. Fronted by Jody Fiteni, this band will certainly become one of most followed on Malta’s alternative rock scene in the coming years. They are among the six bands playing the M3P launch event Your Rarely Hear This On the Radio! at Hastings Garden in Valletta during Notte Bianca on Saturday 2010. They will be sharing this stage with Forsaken, Norm Rejection, Loathe, Memento Nostri and R.A.S. Many other bands, singers and musicians are appearing at other venues during Notte Bianca; Synergy and The Overouts will also be appearing at Hasting Garden from 6:30pm.

Memento NostriIl-Fatt
Hot from the release of their impressive Pro Patria, this band will continue to amaze new audiences with work, which has a clear Maltese dimension to it. This aspect is most pronounced on the track that I’ve selected to include on this podcast, which is an amazing rendition of traditional Maltese song into a contemporary heavy rock idiom. I’m really looking forward to seeing this band live during the M3P launch concert at Hastings Garden next Saturday. I hope you can join us.

Rita PaceIl-Fatt ta’ L-Għarusa tal-Mosta
The M3P launch starts at 2pm with an Inaugural Symposium featuring many of the key stakeholders on this project, who will be discussing various aspects of their own work in the Maltese music scene. This will take place at St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity in Valletta. A full schedule is available here. A live concert of Maltese songs with Rita Pace starts at 6pm. In the first part of this gig, she will be accompanied by guitarists Denise and Kalcidon Vella ta’ Mustaċċa along with ex-Black Sorrows’ Willie Saliba. I had the great fortune of seeing them all perform together in February 2006 at the Manoel Theatre Courtyard during an event organized by Poezijaplus and Narraturi 21, produced by the late Ġorġ Mifsud-Chircop. This recording was originally featured on the 27th edition of the MMI podcast.

Clifford BorgEmergence
Also appearing in the M3P launch event will be one of Malta’s foremost pianists. He will be performing a number of pieces from his CD releases of solo piano, as well as accompanying Rita Pace as she interprets some of her own Maltese-language songs. The track I’ve picked from his second CD album Origin will be among the ones we’ll hear live during the show.

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.

Mużika Mod Ieħor podcasts are brought to you by Vodafone.


Help Yourself

Show notes for the 225th Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast featuring music by performers from or in Malta:

Tears of RevengeBleed
One of the very first bands to be featured on the MMI series broke up soon after a gig at the now defunct Naasha Events Lounge in San Gwann. A couple of members for this band are now playing with Saving Alexis, attracting considerable airplay in Malta. ToR’s only song has turned into a cult classic in my book so I was thrilled when my friend Michael Bugeja discovered that there’s a studio recording of the song as well as another song that’s never been aired anywhere.

Renee CassarLive and Learn
I’m surprised that this wonderful Maltese-Australian singer is not better known in Malta. Her new single, released by Island Records in Australia is quite good and could attract a larger audience for Renee Cassar. I’m not sure how well known she is in Australia either, but whatever the case, I’m sure she doesn’t care that much about any of this because she’s a very talented singer-songwriter.

Emanuel BalzanMary
From Melbourne’s underground comes another Maltese-Australian of note. Not particularly mainstream in direction or output, Emanuel Balzan ranges from psychedelic wonders to rockabilly romps. From Mr Ed and the Children of Providence, the first of the five albums he has released, I’ve picked a song that could be an homage to Hendrix without ripping off the classic guitar god in any way.

ip-configParticle Collision
A few days ago, on the 25th of August 2010 (to be precise), Maltese net label Pink Pube released its 44th offering: Winter to Sine by ip-config (aka Justin Meli). This release marks 5 years (plus two days) since the label was launched, back in 2005. The new album blends in well in the eclectic selection of electronica and other sonic art wonders available as free downloads from the label’s website at PinkPube.com.

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.

Mużika Mod Ieħor podcasts are brought to you by Vodafone.


Keep Yourself Alive

Show notes for the 224th Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast featuring music by performers in or from Malta:

Fenech-SolerStop & Stare
My friend and colleague Michael Bugeja brought this English band to my attention. Apparently they’re on the verge of making it big in the UK. They released this single (and video) last April and they have a new one coming up in a matter of weeks. They get their name from bassist Daniel Soler, who is of Maltese descent from the Fenech-Soler family. They sound fresh in a retro kind of way and I have a feeling that I’ll be playing their new single when it comes out too.

The Attika StateCelebration?
Another British band with a Maltese connection, which has appeared on previous editions of the Mużika Mod Ieħor series. Warren and Martin Mallia return with the rest of their band and a new single, their first release with Alcopop Records, from Measures their next album, which is due out in October.

The RifffsArabian Romance
To mark the first mention of a major research project I’ve just embarked on, I’ve selected something from Alfie Fabri’s personal collection. This rare gem from one of Malta’s most loved bands of all time comes from a cassette recording made some 30 years ago. M3P is the Malta Music Memory Project, which is set to launch officially in Valletta on the 25th of September and I’m pleased that this is how I’ve mentioned all this on my podcast the very first time. I’m sure that this is just an ice cube off the tip of the iceberg that we’re about to start exploring through M3P. More (much more!) to come in the weeks, months and years ahead.

Freddie PortelliLife Is What You Make It
Malta’s king of rock ‘n roll is back with a song clearly made for his legions of loyal fans craving more music in this vein. The lyrics are pretty upbeat and Freddie’s singing and guitar playing remain as vibrant as ever. I expect this to make a fairly large splash in the week before and immediately after the end of this summer. Significant radio airplay will account for a considerable part of that, as will the many live appearances that the venerable singer makes across the Maltese islands week in week out. We’ve come a long way since the days when being an old-age pensioner meant sitting at home contemplating the twilight of one’s life.

Tony ScottIllusions of a Plastic Heart
One of the most invisible names in the Maltese music scene is the man responsible for recording some of the most memorable music in Malta, including the much-loved Aħna Aħna Jew M’Aħnix satirical anthems that have now become classics. In the last decade or two Scott has reinvented himself as an easy listening quasi-new age composer and musician, with a noticeable string of online fans via MySpace, Reverbnation and other such online music dissemination services. This is one of his latest tracks and demonstrates the qualities that endear him to his new-found audience.

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.

Mużika Mod Ieħor podcasts are brought to you by Vodafone.