The producers of the long-running TVM series IIsienna have invited me to comment about the use of the Maltese language at the Eurovision Song Contest. I have little to add to the video clip in Maltese, which you can see here. However, I’ve chosen write a blog post about it in English for the benefit of anyone interested in this subject who may not understand Maltese.
Malta has been taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest since 1971. The first two years featured songs in Maltese, both of which placed last in their respective contest. The national language was never used again (except for a short spoken section in 2000) after 1972 and the main reason given for this by the Maltese organizers has always been that Maltese-language songs will only land Malta in last place at the contest.
Incidentally, Malta placed last in 2006 with a song in English. Malta also didn’t manage to make it to the Eurovision Song Contest final in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2015 and 2018, even though the song from Malta in all these years was sung in English.
Perhaps it’s time for Malta to send a song in Maltese to the Eurovision Song Contest…but not in 2022, of course. While the ongoing strategy (if we can call it that) with songs in English doesn’t seem to be working in terms of achieving top placements, it may indeed open up the growing contemporary Maltese-language songbook to a wider audience.
My comments about the use of the Maltese language at the Eurovision Song Contest first appeared on TVM during Ilsienna broadcast on Monday 9 May 2022.