Archive for May, 2012

Can You Feel the Love Tonight

Now that Malta has made it to the 2012 Eurovison Song Contest final, it’s time to see how well the Maltese entry places during the pan-European voting this evening.

Here are some comments I gave to Marlene Galea at SBS Radio [in Maltese] ahead of tonight’s final.

The only prediction I’m willing to make at this point (ahead of the start of the TV show) is that Sweden’s Euphoria sung by Loreen will win the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest unless Russia’s Party For Everybody with Buranovskiye Babushki creeps in beyond Italy’s L’Amore è Femmina by Nina Zilli from second place to first place.

Here are my top 10 picks, ahead of the official voting period, in approximate order of predicted success:

    1. Sweden
    2. Russia
    3. Italy
    4. Estonia
    5. Cyprus
    6. Bosnia & Herzegovina
    7. Serbia
    8. France
    9. Malta
    10. Albania

This selection is for entertainment purposes only and should be taken with more than a pinch of sodium benzoate. This is to say, I know that I have picked at least 3 songs/countries that will not be in the final top 10 placings.

Which ones did you pick? I managed to guess 7 out of the top 10 and was quite off with Albania and Serbia in terms of placing. My picking Malta, France, Bosnia & Herzogovina, and Cyprus was misguided and the voting public and judges picked Azerbaijan, Turkey, Spain and Germany.


Love To Love You Baby

Kurt Calleja and his team have just given Malta’s best Eurovision stage performance since 2007. I’m comfortable saying that Malta deserves to the in the final this year. adding Amber to the act was a good move as was the synchronized dance steps.

Judging from the rest of the songs on the second semifinal I think it would have been dumb luck if Malta was not in the semifinal.

Here’s my pick for the 10 countries making it to the final from semifinal 2 (selected live as it happened):

  • Serbia
  • Malta
  • Portugal
  • Ukraine
  • Bulgaria
  • Sweden
  • Estonia
  • Slovakia
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Lithuania

This selection is for entertainment purposes only and should be taken with more than a pinch of sodium benzoate.

Well, Macedonia, Turkey and Norway made it through rather than my picks Portugal, Bulgaria and Slovakia.

Oh, and Malta is in the final again for the first time since 2009! That’s obviously national headline news in Malta for the next couple of days.

Let’s see how it goes at the final on Saturday.


How Deep Is Your Love?

So it’s time for the Eurovision Song Contest again. I’m not in Baku to watch the contest unfolding as I’ve done in recent years, but I’ve given my comments about what’s ahead to SBS Radio [in Maltese] and I don’t really have much to add just yet. Enjoy the show:

And for what it’s worth here are the 10 countries I think will make it to the final from the first semifinal, in order of appearance.

  • Iceland
  • Greece
  • Albania
  • Romania
  • Israel
  • San Marino
  • Cyprus
  • Russia
  • Austria
  • Ireland

This selection is for entertainment purposes only and should be taken with more than a pinch of sodium benzoate.

UPDATE: Moldova, Hungary, and Denmark made it though rather than Israel, San Marino, and Austria. So I got 7 out of 10. How well did you do with your own picks?

Let’s see how it goes with semifinal 2 on Thursday.


I Feel Love


Show notes for the 299th Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast featuring music by performers from or in Malta:

Norm RejectionEncounter
Taken from last year’s Belligerent EP, this song is officially billed as Norm Rejection’s single release for 2012. It’s not the sort of thing most radio stations in Malta will play, but it will certainly get some airtime on the various specialized rock shows. They remain one of my favourite Maltese heavy rock bands of all time, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I chose to open my podcast with their sound whenever I can.

Baron BubblebeefJennifer’s Dead
Steve Hili is known for his comedy work by many in Malta, even though he is not exactly a household name. He has now recorded two songs in London as Baron Bubblebeef. The ska beat is enjoyable enough and the video gives a good insight into the lyrics of the song but I doubt that this will reach as wide an audience as Steve deserves. If he keeps at it, I suspect that he may strike gold within the next year or two.

RiSEForever
Following up on last year’s debut Stars, this young band returns with this new song called Forever. I’m not sure what to make of the video but it’s certainly better than no video. I’m also particularly impressed by the studio presentation for Black Light Studios, run by band member Conrad Dimech, which is also where the upcoming debut release by Criminal Kiss was recorded. More about this in an upcoming edition of the MMI podcast.

Winter Moods feat. Joseph CallejaMiss You
It was only a matter of time before Malta’s most popular rock band teamed up with Malta’s high-profile opera export. It’s a good collaboration which will undoubtedly do wonders for Winter Mood’s popularity and gives new audiences a opportunity to listen to the mighty voice of the Maltese tenor. It’s a fitting way to end the first 299 podcast in the MMI series, wouldn’t you agree?

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 enjoy listening to the podcast on the player right below this text.


Moonshine


Show notes for the 298th Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast featuring music by performers from or in Malta:

Monobrow Musical ProduceWilliam
One of the most outstanding duos to ever come out of Gozo is all set for the release of their debut album. It will be released with a gig at the Aurora Theatre on the 2nd of June at 8pm. The album is called Carpet Clown and features a number of remarkable songs. The one with which I’ve selected to open this week’s podcast is simply my choice on first listen and they may very well be selecting a different song with which to launch the album to the general public in the coming days. Hopefully this time they’ll receive some much deserved radio (and possibly TV) airplay beyond quasi-underground shows such as my colleague Michael Bugeja’s Rockna. They most certainly deserve it.

Duo Blank feat. Ira LoscoHuman Train
The new album by Maltese electronica veterans Edwin Balzan and Frank Cachia was released this evening at Prestige in Paceville, during a live gig featuring Ira Losco, Errol Sammut, the Ophidian Twin and Karen Cachia, who are some of their vocal collaborators on Propulsion. The album follows on from last years successful single Stars on Mars along with the promotional video for it featuring the lovely burlesque performer Undine LaVerve.

SkarletMy Song
I’m not sure how this band managed to get away from being featured on a previous edition of my podcast. Violinist Simon Vella or percussionist Renzo Spiteri should have been more than enough to attract my attention to Skarlet. The rest of the band blends together quite beautifully as you can see from this live acoustic recording made for television last year.

Renzo SpiteriRitual Dance
Speaking of Renzo Spiteri, here he is in a live solo rendition on Schlagwerk log drum and water drum from his soon-to-come-to-the-UK tour to promote his late 2011 CD album Silence Sounds and Spaces. He will be playing at various venues in the UK from late May into early June, most notably at the Bath Fringe Festival on the 3rd of June.

Equipoise – Charambala
Daniel Grech released a new track today under his nom d’arte Equipoise. I had planned to play this one instead for the past couple of weeks but never really had the time to include it. I thought it would contrast nicely with the acoustic sounds of the previous track on today’s podcast, so here it is.

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 enjoy listening to the podcast on the player right below this text.


Ch-Check It Out


Show notes for the 297th Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast featuring music by performers from or in Malta:

The ShhAll Things With Love
Beangrowers Alison Galea and Ian Schranz have teamed up again to perform together as the Shh. They appeared at their debut live gig at V-Gen yesterday, along with Joe Gideon & The Shark. They have an EP too and it’s called The Burning Love and an “unofficial fan video” featuring clips from the surf movie Big Wednesday (1978), directed by John Milius, with Jan-Michael Vincent, William Katt and Gary Buse, for this debut release.

BustamentoMañana
Nicky Bomba’s latest project is called Bustamento and involves various Australian musicians he has collaborated with over the past 15 years. This is retro-feel-good music, as you can see from the video for this debut release. This son is a jitterbuggin’, upbeat ska-infused expedition that ticks all the right tropical boxes. Originally recorded by Peggy Lee in the 1950’s, Bomba and the boys have turned this classic into a mento/calypso/ska/reggae hybrid that delivers a ticket to dance. Their forthcoming album is entitled Intrepid Adventures to the Lost Riddim Islands, and features both classic and rare tunes including a whole swag of new songs written by Nicky himself.

Frans il-ĦamalluMorning Frans
Nadur’s beloved hip hop star Frans Bugeja Buttigieg returns with this witty ditty that clearly cements him as the most endearing Maltese cartoon character to rival Xummiemu, who apparently is about to make a comeback. This one is produced by Mr Herbal with a great video from Stoner Danny. I can’t wait for the next one. I’m sure it will be just as brilliant!

Akalé WubéMata
The Paris-based jazz quintet returns with their second CD album following their 2010 self-titled debut. They merit attention on my playlist through bassist Oliver Degabriele, who is incidentally Alison Galea’s life partner aside from it all. I like their mellow jazz inflections and the album is very pleasant to listen to, possibly even to ears unaccustomed to progressive sounds. I’m sure they sound just as good whenever they play live.

Freddie PortelliJum il-Ħaddiem
Today is Freddie Portelli’s 68th birthday – he was born on the 5th of May 1944. He sent me this recording along with a note saying that this is a song close to his heart because worker’s day is so close to his own date of birth. Ironically, I think his birthday has become rather bittersweet in recent years, as his departed lifelong friend Joe James Farrugia, who frequently performed as his opening act throughout the 1990s and even later, before passing away, was also born on this day.

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 enjoy listening to the podcast on the player right below this text.