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Police and Thieves

Show notes for the 266th Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast featuring music by performers from or in Malta:

Gil Camilleri aka GetFunky – Joey
Trawling though Facebook I came across the tragic true story of a Maltese 16-year old from Vittoriosa who ended his life this week last summer because of what appears to be a case of homophobic pressure. This song by Gil Camillieri addresses a very similar (even if different) story and it quite a poignant plea against prejudice on grounds of sexual orientation. I don’t know that there’s another Maltese-language lyric that’s as strong as this on the subject.

Genio Il-MajċaTaħt Idejk
Although he has also collaborated with GetFunky, Eugenio Lanzon, to give this Maltese rapper his full name, is a noteworthy hip hop performer in his own right. From what I’ve gathered from his eclectic online presence he is quite prolific. Although his musical turns are somewhat derivative and quite conventional, the level of sincerity in his words more than makes up for that, in my book. He strikes me as the sort of guy who prefers to do things on his own stream, but I think the local hip hop scene would greatly from more collaborations involving him. He is very much a successor of the traditional Maltese għannejja spirtu pront even though he has chosen a very different musical idiom to spout his literally vulgar dexterity on.

Żdongraap feat. G-Force – Sempliċiment tat-Triq (Qumu Minn Hemm)
This is one of the most politically explicit tracks I’ve heard from one of Malta’s foremost hip hop performers. Also known as Bone or Il-Farawni, Żdongraap is collaborating with various others to come up with very socially aware rhymes that really deserve to be heard. Particularly in light of the recent riots here in the UK, this track strikes a very resonant chord, particularly back to back with the next selection.  Samples from Gil Scott-Heron’s The Revolution Will Not Be Televised and Walter Micallef’s Lil Malta tend to drive the point home for those in search of a context or other for any of this.

Marmalja Uniformi Blu
This collaboration between Andrea Delicata and Claude Agius is without doubt the most confrontational song I’ve ever heard in the Maltese language. The lyric is as direct as can be. There’s no possibility of equivocation here, especially in the context of the riots here in England just a few days ago. Then again, although it’s unlikely that there will be any riots in the street of Malta anytime soon, some of the sentiments expressed in this track are not to different from the ones expressed by some of the English rioters this summer.

Frans Il-ĦamalluOld School Frans
To lighten up the mood a little, more in the sense of a comic relief during a tragedy, I’ve chosen to end this week’s MMI podcast with a track from 2009 by the one and only Franswa Bugeja Buttigieg – Gozo’s most outstanding hip hop icon. Better known as a cartoon character, I’m sure that his brand of satire can be appreciated even in aural form only. Still, I can’t resist including the video for this song here too. Whoever thinks there’s no hip hop in Malta or that it’s just a purely mimetic shadow of the strife that comes from the ghettos of New York and Los Angeles, had better think again. This form has found a natural home in the Maltese islands because it’s home to generations of spontaneous rhyme-makers delivered over a music bed.

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