Walter Micallef launches M'Jien Xejn - Walter Micallef Iniedi l-Ewwel CD Album

 

One World Beat Global Music Festival


 
 

Kunċerti ta' Walter Micallef u l-Ħbieb

8, 9, 10, 11 ta' Lulju, 2004 fid-9.00pm - Il-Kavallier ta' San Ġakbu

English Version

 
 

 
 
 
 

Ara l-kummenti ta' Steve Borg u Adrian Grima

 
 

Il-kantawtur Walter Micallef se jagħti sensiela ta’ erba’ kunċerti ma’ ħames mużiċisti magħrufin fit-Teatru tal-Kavallier ta’ San Ġakbu bejn nhar il-Ħamis, 8 u l-Ħadd, 11 ta’ Lulju. Il-kunċerti kollha jibdew fid-9.00pm. Micallef se jippreżenta għadd ta’ kanzunetti ġodda flimkien ma’ wħud li dehru fl-ewwel album tiegħu, M’Jien Xejn li ħareġ fl-2003.

 

Din hija l-ewwel darba li Walter Micallef se jagħmel sensiela ta’ kunċerti li fihom il-kanzunetti tiegħu se jiġu interpretati minn grupp ta’ mużiċisti. Dawn huma Renzo Spiteri (perkussjoni), Pawlu Camilleri l-Bibi (armonika), Jes Psaila (kitarra), Eric Wadge (baxx), u Albert Garzia (argunett).

 

L-isem ta’ dawn il-kunċerti huwa meħud mill-kanzunetta L-Aħħar Sekondi li fiha Micallef jirrakkonta b’mod qawwi u suġġestiv tmiem il-ħajja ta’ tajra li tintlaqat minn tir ta’ senter waqt li jkun qiegħed jisbaħ. Walter Micallef u l-Ħbieb se jdoqqu wkoll kanzunetti bħal “Qiegħ il-Flixkun,” “Ġebla Niexfa,” “Il-Party,” “Il-Kejl,” “Nemmen,” “Sieħbi fil-Cupboard tal-Kċina,” “Ma Temminnix” u “Dik il-Povra Kreatura.”

 

Walter Micallef huwa kantawtur sinċier li kapaċi jirrakkonta l-esperjenzi, kultant ibsin u intimi, u jissublimahom, mingħajr ma jibbanalizzahom; jirnexxilu jesprimi l-ħsus u l-ħsibijiet ta’ nies ta’ etajiet u esperjenzi differenti. Imma l-kwalità li tagħmlu kantawtur ewlieni u pjuttost rari f’pajjiżna mhix is-sinċerità imma l-ħila li jinqeda bil-kelma biex jirrakkonta l-ħajja mill-ġdid. Micallef kapaċi jfisser l-affarijiet b’mod li jibdew jeżistu “skond il-piż veru tagħhom”. Bħall-poeti, il-kantawturi huma artisti tal-kliem, tas-silenzji bejn il-kliem, tal-possibbiltajiet lilhinn; u Walter jirnexxilu jgħid dak li aħna nħossu u li ma jirnexxilniex nartikulaw bil-mod sabiħ tiegħu.

 

Il-protagonisti ta’ L-Aħħar Sekondi

 

Mill-bidu tas-snin sebgħin sa llum, Walter Micallef kiteb aktar minn tmenin kanzunetta oriġinali bil-Malti u rebaħ kemm-il darba l-festival L-Għanja tal-Poplu. Daqq fuq ZDF u Bayerische Fernsehen, żewġ stazzjonijiet tat-televiżjoni Ġermaniża. Aktar kmieni din is-sena, Walter Micallef, akkumpanjat minn Renzo Spiteri, Pawlu Camilleri l-Bibi, Jes Psaila, Oliver Degabriele, u Albert Garzia tella’ kunċert bħala parti mit-tieni edizzjoni tal-One World Beat Global Music Festival.

 

Jes Psaila huwa l-kitarrista tal-grupp Syrup. Jieħu sehem ukoll f’għadd kbir ta’ produzzjonijiet li fihom idoqq u jikkomponi. F’Novembru ta’ l-2003 daqq fl-Italja fil-produzzjoni teatrali, Caravaggio di Merisi: chiaroscuro.

 

Il-perkussjonista Renzo Spiteri studja l-mużika fl-Università ta’ Malta u f’Milan. Tella’ produzzjonijiet bħall-kunċerti ta’ Ritmi u This Is My Language u daqq, fost l-oħrajn, fil-Malta Jazz Festival u fil-kunċerti ta’ Ritmi. Fl-2004 stidnuh biex idoqq f’Budapest, Liverpool, Lisbona, Ateni u Dublin. Fl-2002 waqqaf il-grupp The Katambù Sound Factory.

 

Pawlu Camilleri l-Bibi jdoqq il-pjanu u l-armonika. Trabba fl-inħawi tad-Due Balli, fil-Belt Valletta, iben il-magħruf pjanista tal-jazz, Frankie Camilleri l-Bibi. Daqq kemm-il darba fil-festival L-Għanja tal-Poplu. Bħalissa qed iħejji album bil-Malti b’tema bibblika.

 

Albert Garzia huwa wieħed mid-daqqaqa ewlenin ta’ l-argunett f’Malta. Daqq dan l-istrument fi produzzjonijiet folkloristiċi f’Malta u f’għadd ta’ pajjiżi Ewropej. Bħalissa qed jistudja fl-Università ta’ Malta biex jikseb Diploma fil-Mużika Sagra u B.A. Hons. fil-kompożizzjoni mużikali.

 

Għal ħafna snin Eric Wadge studja l-mużika u l-vjolin taħt il-gwida ta’ nannuh John Micallef, u mbagħad, ta’ tmintax-il sena, beda jdoqq il-baxx, fost l-oħrajn ma’ gruppi bħal Bigfoot, Quicksand and Luage. Fi Frar ta’ l-2003, daqq fi Piazza Del Popolo f’Ruma fil-festival Cresce l’Europa.

 

Walter Micallef u l-Ħbieb u l-Kunċerti

 

Il-produzzjoni ta’ L-Aħħar Sekondi tinsab f’idejn tim ta’ nies immexxi minn Steve Borg u li jinkludi lil Adrian Mamo, Lorraine Dowling u Adrian Grima. Dawn il-kunċerti qed jittellgħu bil-kollaborazzjoni ta’ De Robertis Roof Top Restaurant tal-lukanda Castille, Maltacom, Olimpus Music, Morales Fashions, u Tip Top Sports.

 

Il-biljetti jiswew Lm4 u jistgħu jinkisbu mill-Kavallier ta’ San Ġakbu (miftuħ kuljum bejn l-10.00 am u t-8.30 pm, tel. 21223200) jew mingħand steveborg@global.net.mt (tel.  7963 6543).

 

Dawk kollha li jixtiequ aktar tagħrif dwar Walter Micallef u l-Ħbieb jistgħu jiktbu lil steveborg@global.net.mt jew iċemplu fuq 7963 6543. Hemm ukoll informazzjoni interessanti dwar Walter Micallef u l-album M’Jien Xejn fuq il-website ta’ Inizjamed, http://inizjamed.cjb.net.

 

Adrian Grima

Is-27 ta’ Ġunju, 2004

 
 

L-Aħħar Sekondi 

 

Qajjimni filgħodu l-kaċċatur,

Ħasadni bit-tiri, taffieli l-kulur.

Stħajjiltni t-tajra, nissielet mar-riħ,

Nitħabat man-nifs u mbeżża’ bl-uġigħ.

 

Tisbita waqqfitni, sibt ruħi ma’ l-art,

Griżmejja wisq xotti u nterter bil-bard,

Inħossu jċarċar minn bejn il-penniet,

U feġġ l-ewwel raġġ minn tax-xemx fuq l-għoljiet,

U s-skiet…

 

© Kliem u Mużika: Walter Micallef


 
 

Kisra Naturali

 

Dawn huma għanjiet li jirrakkontaw stejjer ta’ kuljum: stejjer dwar id-dubji ġustifikati u l-fidi għamja fl-imħabba; dwar ideali li m’hemmx min iwettaqhom; dwar id-dgħjufija li hemm f’persuna maħkuma mid-droga li tfakkarna fid-dgħjufija li hemm f’dawk kollha li lesti jirrikonoxxu l-fraġilità tagħhom; dwar tajra li tħoss id-demm iċarċar minn bejn il-penniet waqt li jfiġġ l-ewwel raġġ tax-xemx fuq l-għoljiet.

 

Dawn huma stejjer ta’ kuljum irrakkontati b’ħila mhux tas-soltu, u għaldaqstant huma stejjer speċjali. Għax bħalma ċ-ċajta tirnexxi skond kemm taf tirrakkontaha, hekk ukoll l-istejjer tal-kantawturi jirnexxu skond kemm jirrakkontawhom b’mod sabiħ. Minkejja li f’“L-Aħħar Sekondi” tisma’ t-traġedja (komuni u donnha inutli) ta’ tajra li trid tgħix bi kwietha imma s-senter ma jħallihiex, fl-aħħar aktarx tħossok li terġa’ trid tisma’ l-kanzunetta, li trid iġġarrab kollox mill-ġdid.

 

Manlio Sgalambro jsostni li donnu fil-kliem tal-kanzunetti nġabret il-poeżija kollha possibbli ta’ żmienna. Dawn l-għanjiet li se tisimgħu hawnhekk huma poeżiji tassew, għax jirrifjutaw it-triq komuni u inutli tal-frażijiet prefabbrikati, tad-dmugħ faċli li jġelben qisu l-għaraq f’nofs Awwissu Malti. Huma għanjiet li fihom kull kelma u kull ħoss għandu l-importanza tiegħu, u għalhekk it-Teatru tal-Kavallier ta’ San Ġakbu huwa ideali, għax bħall-kanzunetti nfushom kapaċi joħloq “intimità” kreattiva bejn l-interpreti u l-udjenza u jirrispetta kull ħoss li jgħaddi bejniethom.

 

Fil-mument li ssir pubblika l-għanja ma tibqax ta’ min ikun ħoloqha imma ta’ kulmin jismagħha. U l-intimità maħluqa hija riżultat, fost l-oħrajn, ta’ dan l-iskambju, għax meta titlaq minn taħt idejn min joħloqha, l-għanja tinħoloq mill-ġdid. U tibqa’ tinħoloq kull darba li tinstema’, li tinqara, kull darba li tisma’ tir ifaqqa’ fil-viċin u tħoss lil dik il-povra kreatura, li min jaf mnejn kienet ġejja, titħabat man-nifs u titwerwer bl-uġigħ ... Dan huwa possibbli għax huma xogħlijiet illi kieku Eco jsejħilhom “miftuħin,” għanjiet li mhumiex magħluqin fil-clichés ta’ ħafna mill-materjal kummerċjali li nisimgħu.

 

Walter Micallef daħal fix-xena tal-kanzunetta Maltija fis-sebgħinijiet, fi żmien meta, skond Manwel Mifsud, “l-għanja Maltija reġgħet bdiet issib tematika u idjoma li jagħmluha medju ta’ espressjoni addattat għall-kotra tal-poplu Malti.” F’dan iż-żmien, fix-xogħlijiet ta’ Micallef, ta’ Mifsud innifsu, u ta’ oħrajn, “il-kelma saret il-qofol tal-kompożizzjoni u ssuġġeriet melodiji iktar Maltin sewwasew għax joħorġu mill-kisra naturali ta’ lsienna.”

 

Aktarx li l-isfida ewlenija ta’ Walter bħala kantawtur hi li jirrakkonta l-istejjer tiegħu b’tematika u idjoma dejjem ġdida, u l-isfida tagħna hi li dejjem noħolqu ambjent kulturali kritiku u dinamiku li fih l-espressjoni ġdida taħsad l-isterjotipi u tirrakkonta stejjer uniċi.

 

Adrian Grima

Ġunju 2004

 
 
 
 

L-Aħħar Sekondi ta' Diski bil-Malti?

 

Fil-bidu tas-snin Tletin Carabott u D'Amato tal-Belt bdew joħorġu d-diski bil-Malti. In-nies tgħidx kemm kienet għatxana biex tisma' s-78rpm, magħrufa aħjar bħala d-diski tal-faħam. U fil-ħwienet tat-te, fl-isqaqien u fl-imsieraħ in-nies titkellem, tisħaq u titmasħan jekk Ġużeppi Xuereb ix-Xudi kienx aħjar minn Manwel Cilia Ta' Żabbett. Oħrajn jaqblu jew ma jaqblux jekk id-diski Maltin maqtugħin f'Tuneż kinux jisbqu lil dawk ta' D'Amato maqtugħa f'Milan għand La Voce del Padrone. Hekk kif il-gazzetti Il-Ħmar u Il-Cotra jħabbru li waslu d-diski ġodda minn barra, tara sriebet tan-nies quddiem il-ħwienet tad-diski sabiex tisma' l-aħħar xogħlijiet minn quddiem il-vetrina. Mitt bniedem, mitt fehma.

 

Jaqblu jew ma jaqblux, kien hemm ħerqa għad-diski bil-Malti, tant li mill-ħamsa u ħamsin diska tal-faħam li d-ditta D'Amato ħarġu fis-snin Tletin, ħamsa u għoxrin minnhom reġgħu nħarġu bħala 45rpm fis-snin Sittin. Il-mużika popolari kienet qed titwieled. Uħud mid-diski kienu qed jieħdu x-xejra tal-festivals tal-kanzunetta Taljani, oħrajn tal-beat groups Ingliżi. U l-klassifika ta' L-Aqwa Għoxrin f'Malta, miġbura minn Mario Laus, dejjem turina mal-ħames diski bil-Malti lejn il-quċċata.

 

Illum inbidel kollox. Spiċċajna b'sitwazzjoni ambigwa fejn lanqas fil-Malta Music Awards ma hemm ġieħ x'jingħata lill-aqwa album Malti, għaliex l-għadd li qed joħorġu jingħaddu fuq is-swaba’ ta’ id. Ta' min hija l-ħtija ta' din il-qagħda mwiegħra? Ta' l-istazzjonijiet tar-radju, li ħafna minnhom jiċħdu li jdoqqu diski bil-Malti? Tas-sidien tal-ħwienet tax-xorb, li ma jridux mużika bil-Malti għaliex it-turisti ma jitkellmux ilsienna? Jew forsi tal-kantanti nfushom li jippreferu li jkantaw bl-Ingliż jew bit-Taljan fil-lukandi u r-ristoranti? Hi x’inhi t-tweġiba, li tisma’ kunċert kollu bil-Malti qisu bħal fula f’qargħa, f’dan il-pajjiż ta’ erba’ mitt elf, medhi aktar bil-Eurovision qisu l-ħajja jew il-mewt ta’ kollox.

 

Ruma taqbad u n-nies tidħaq. Huwa aktar faċli li l-grupp Etnika - li jien waqqaft ma’ ħaddieħor fis-sena 2000, u li mar idoqq fil-Montreaux Jazz Festival, wieħed mill-aqwa fid-dinja – jinstema’ fl-Isvizzera, u fi Franza milli fuq għadd ta' stazzjonijiet tar-radju Maltin. L-istess tiġrib jgħaddi minnu Walter Micallef, li dan l-aħħar deher fuq iż-ZDF u l-Bayerische Farnsehen fil-Ġermanja, u t-TRT, it-televizjoni nazzjonali Torka, fejn riduh ikanta bil-Malti. Illum wasalna f'salib it-toroq u rridu nagħżlu. Jekk se noqogħdu b'idejna fuq żaqqna, se nitilfu l-qaleb u l-ġbejna u kollox itir mar-riħ. Hawn jixraq li tidħol il-mistoqsija li rridu nwieġbu. “L-Aħħar Sekondi” ta' xiex? Tal-kanzunetta bil-Malti jew tar-rieda ħażina ta’ min qed ixekkilna?

 

Steve Borg

Ġunju 2004

 
 
 
 

Walter Micallef and Friends at St. James Cavalier

 

Walter Micallef and Friends will give a series of concerts at the St. James Cavalier Theatre between Thursday 8 and Sunday 11 July, starting at 9.00pm. Walter Micallef will be performing a new repertoire of songs in Maltese together with some well-known numbers that appeared in his debut album M’Jien Xejn published in 2003.

 

Walter Micallef will be accompanied by Renzo Spiteri (percussion), Pawlu Camilleri l-Bibi (harmonica), Jes Psaila (acoustic guitar), Eric Wadge (base), and Albert Garzia (accordion). Many of these musicians played with him earlier this year when he gave a concert in Malta as part of the One World Beat Global Music Festival held in over 40 countries.

 

The title of this series of concerts, L-Aħħar Sekondi, is taken from one of Walter Micallef’s most powerful songs about a bird shot down by a hunter as dawn is breaking. Some of the other songs in the concert line-up are “Qiegħ il-Flixkun,” “Ġebla Niexfa,” “Il-Party,” “Il-Kejl,” “Nemmen,” “Sieħbi fil-Cupboard tal-Kċina,” “Ma Temminnix,” and “Dik il-Povra Kreatura.”

 

“In a style that is both fresh and varied,” writes Steve Borg, “Walter Micallef deals with social issues and personal experience. He deals with love and suffering, with environmental degradation and the subtle manipulation of youth. He consciously takes up issues that many have ignored, like child abuse and machismo. He is a singer songwriter who meets the linguistic and thematic challenges of his art head on.”

 

The Performers

 

Walter Micallef is one of Malta’s leading singer songwriters. He has written over eighty original songs in Maltese. In 2003 he released his first album called M’Jien Xejn for which he was nominated as Best Male Artist at the 2004 Malta Music Awards. He has won the Għanja tal-Poplu on several occasions. In 2004 he appeared on the German television stations ZDF and Bayerische Fernsehen.

 

Singer songwriters like Walter Micallef, writes literary critic Adrian Grima, “are musicians of words; they manage to fascinate and communicate at the same time because in every word they see artistic potential and the ability to go beyond.” Walter Micallef’s every word, to borrow a phrase from Sepúlveda, “carries its own true weight;” every word has a role to play, irrespective of whoever uses it or what they may say about it. “What we’re left with as involved listeners,” writes Dr. Grima “is the uncomfortable, heavy silence that follows the words.”

 

Jes Psaila is the guitarist of the Voices choir and the group Syrup. In November 2003 he performed in Italy in the theatrical production Caravaggio di Merisi: Chiaroscuro. He is involved in various projects ranging from studio recordings to live performances, including jazz and fusion ensembles, and has composed original music for a number of theatre productions.

 

Renzo Spiteri, one of Malta’s leading percussionists, studied music in Malta and in Milan. In 1997, he graduated with a B.A.(Hons.) in Music and Theatre Studies. He also studied percussion at the Milan Jazz School and the CEP Institute of Music. In 2002 he founded the 7-piece percussion ensemble, The Katambu Sound Factory. This year he has performed in Budapest, Liverpool, Lisbon, Athens and Dublin.

 

Pawlu Camilleri l-Bibi plays the piano and harmonica. He comes from a renowned musical family in the Due Balli area in Valletta. His father was the well-known pianist Frankie Camilleri l-Bibi. He has written the lyrics for several musicals and religious operas. At present he is working on an album in Maltese with a biblical theme.

 

Accordion player Albert Garzia started studying music, focusing on the accordion and the piano, at the age of 7. At present he is reading for a Diploma in Sacred Music and a B.A. (Hons.) degree in music composition at the University of Malta. Garzia has also played folk music in Malta and in other European countries.

 

Eric Wadge studied the violin and music theory with his grandfather John Micallef and at the School of Music in Valletta. At eighteen he switched to the double bass. He has played with local bands Bigfoot, Quicksand and Luage. In February 2003, Wadge, who plays the Da Capo bass, performed in the Cresce l’Europa festival held in Piazza del Popolo in Rome.

 

The Concerts by Walter Micallef and Friends

 

The production team of L-Aħħar Sekondi is led by Steve Borg and includes Adrian Mamo, Lorraine Dowling u Adrian Grima. These concerts are being held with the support of Datastream, Castille Hotel, Tip Top Sports, Olimpus Music and Morales Fashions.

 

Tickets, at Lm4.00, can be booked by calling the St. James Cavalier booking office on 2122 3200 or by writing to boxoffice@sjcav.org. For more information write to steveborg@global.net.mt or phone 7963 6543. Walter Micallef is featured on the Inizjamed website at http://inizjamed.cjb.net.

 

 

Adrian Grima

30 June, 2004

 
 

Read also: Steve Borg interviewed by maltastar.com

Articles on Malta Media and Maltastar

 
 
 

 

One World Beat Global Music Festival

Walter Micallef

 

Thursday, 18 March, 2004, 9.30pm

The Blue Room, Bugibba - Entrance Free

Featuring Renzo Spiteri - Pawlu Camilleri l-Bibi

Jesmond Psaila- Oliver Degabriele - Albert Garzia


See also

Malta feels the beat, by Steve Borg (The Times, 13.3.04)

One World Beat Global Music Festival (The Malta Independent, 11.3.04)

Beating up the World, by Steve Borg

Singer songwriter Walter Micallef will be performing live at the The Blue Room in Bugibba, close to the Empire Cinema Complex, on Thursday, 18 March, 2004, at 9.30pm, as part of the One World Beat Global Music Festival. This live 3-day global music festival, with over 140 events in 40 countries, will provide a platform for musicians of all genres to unite and convey a message of hope through their music and to raise much-needed funds for global AIDS relief organizations.

 

Entrance to the concert is free but those in Malta who would like to support this global initiative can deposit their donation to the Keep A Child Alive fund in one of the following bank accounts: BOV Account No 40013255336 - HSBC Account No 042-061390-050.

 

Walter Micallef shall be performing a new repertoire of engaging songs in Maltese with percussionist Renzo Spiteri, harmonica player Pawlu Camilleri l-Bibi, acoustic guitarist Jesmond Psaila, Albert Garzia on accordion, and double bassist Oliver DeGabriele. The event coordinator in Malta is Steve Borg, who headed the production team behind Walter Micallef’s first cd album, M’Jien Xejn, launched in February 2003 at the University of Malta.

 

“In a style that is both fresh and varied,” writes Steve Borg about M’Jien Xejn, “Walter Micallef deals with social issues and personal experience. He deals with love and suffering, with environmental degradation and the subtle manipulation of youth. He consciously takes up issues that many have ignored, like child abuse and machismo. He is a singer songwriter who meets the linguistic and thematic challenges of his art head on.”

 

Singer songwriters are musicians of words; they manage to fascinate and communicate at the same time because in every word they see artistic potential and the ability to go beyond. Walter Micallef’s every word, to borrow a phrase from Sepúlveda, “carries its own true weight;” every word has a role to play, irrespective of whoever uses it or what they may say about it. “What we’re left with as involved listeners,” writes Adrian Grima, “is the uncomfortable, heavy silence that follows the words.”

 

The One World Beat Global Music Festival is not only a collaboration of musicians united in a global effort, it also serves as a platform for the thousands of local and international non-profit organizations currently working for a better social environment to communicate their message to a world-wide audience.

 

 

Supported by the United Nations Education Consortium Organization (UNESCO), and artists such as Phil Collins, the first 2003 One World Beat Festival held in 2003 led to a global volunteer effort. As a result, the events helped raise money for a number of charities around the world like United Planet (USA), Children for Change (Canada), Source of Hope Foundation (Lithuania), Here for Life Suicide Prevention (Australia), Victims of Violence (Alaska, USA), Stir Network (Nigeria), Kids Helping Kids (USA).

 

The band that will be accompanying Walter Micallef includes multi-percussionist Renzo Spiteri, Etnika bassist Oliver DeGabriele (left), well-known harmonica player Pawlu Camilleri l-Bibi, accordion player Albert Garzia, and guitarist Jesmond Psaila.

 

Renzo SpiteriRenzo Spiteri (right) studied music in Malta and Milan and has performed in concerts in the UK, Portugal, Greece, Holland, Belgium, Italy and Austria. In Malta he has composed music and performed in productions such as 2000 Rhythms (1999), The Ritmi Concert (with Moussé Ndiaye, 2002), and the critically acclaimed solo performance This is My Language (2003). Renzo Spiteri has been active as first percussion player with The National Orchestra of Malta since 1986. He is the founder and director of The Katambù Sound Factory.

 

Jesmond PsailaJesmond Psaila (left) is the guitarist in the band backing up the Voices Choir. He plays both jazz and fusion and has composed music for experimental theatre productions. He is also the guitarist of the pop-rock band Syrup that is planning to release a CD of its original music later this year.

 

The concert in Malta is being supported by the cultural organization Inizjamed and by A3FM. For more details about Walter Micallef and One World Beat visit http://inizjamed.cjb.net and http://www.oneworldbeat.org.

 

For donations to the Keep A Child Alive fund use the following accounts:

 

 BOV Account No 40013255336

 HSBC Account No 042-061390-050

 

3 March, 2004


Beating up the World

Steve Borg

 

Thursday coming, Malta shall be participating in a global musical event being held over a four-day stretch. We shall be represented through Walter Micallef u l-Ħbieb. The noted singer songwriter explains. “We are extremely proud of our participation in One World Beat in the Keep A Child Alive Campaign. We are also pleased to be performing at The Blues Room in Buġibba. It is the right place to generate a warm feeling of well-being,” Micallef continues.

 

Commenting from Switzerland, Andy Treichler, One World Beat director believes that “the idea of giving musicians the possibility to be part of a humanitarian project in a direct way was a natural one to me.”  One World Beat was therefore born, under the honourable patronage of the Swiss branch of UNESCO.  “As of 2004 the world has lived with a general knowledge of HIV and AIDS for over twenty years. What do we know? What actions are being taken? What does the future hold? We ask ourselves: Why should we care? What can we do to help? Is the situation hopeless? What role can the arts play in addressing these diseases?”

 

A substantial one. Supported by Phil Collins and Mark King of Level 42, well over one hundred and forty events in forty-one countries are teaming up between 18 and 21 March with one aim – to raise funds for philanthropic organisations worldwide. All kinds of genres are featured, from pop and hip-hop to jazz, soul and world. The line up includes the Ghanaian band Osibisa. Haven’t we all jived, twisted and swivelled to their Sunshine Day and Dance the Body Music? Kahil El’ Zabar et al are performing at the Congress Hall in Warsaw on the 19th, the last date on a six-city tour of Poland. Turiya is performing in San Diego and concerts are on line in London, Sydney, Los Angeles, Paris, Tenerife, and New York.

 

Speaking from Nassau in the Bahamas, Andrew Jones, famous for his hit single Can’t Hurry Love, sends his greetings “to the good people of Malta. On Saturday the 20th of March at 2-6 pm Bahamian time, on par with Eastern US Standard time, we will be live webcasting our Bahamas concerts for Positive Living from Nassau harbour, with Bahamian musicians playing against the backdrop of our beautiful Bahamian waters that are connected to your own across the Atlantic Ocean.  It is the ocean that separates us and unites us,” Jones exclaims.

 

Acoustic guitarist Jes Psaila explains his participation. 'Having been involved in a number of bands and projects, the most memorable ones were those for the love of music and a good cause.' Psaila has been playing guitar in the local scene over the past twenty years. He started by playing in rock bank named Avatar performing original music. Incidentally Avatar was the supporting act for Osibisa when they played in Malta at the MCC over twenty years ago. The Rabat-born musician has played and composed music for theatre productions and has taken part in many projects in the jazz and fusion music scene. The guitarist with Voices, he is currently with Syrup - a new rock band on the local scene playing their own songs with a single to be released shortly.


Jes looks forward to this project with Walter Micallef and friends as performing original music has always been close to heart. Walter's music and the band's acoustic set-up promises this will be a very enjoyable performance.

 
Percussionist Renzo Spiteri, solo artist, band leader of various music set-ups and artistic director of the original, all percussion ensemble ‘The Katambù Sound Factory, considers himself lucky to work and dedicate his time and energy to such a beautiful thing  - music. “It is powerful, it is universal and in this particular case and campaign, it unites countries from different parts of the world to reach out and assist in the help of the needy,” he stresses. Most of the songs being performed on Thursday have a social theme. The original music starts off from his guitar work and the band put in the right ingredients to embellish the music. “As the percussionist of the band, I find that the space that I am given to work in, is extremely important. In the process of rehearsals, creativity is essential and I go about experimenting on a wide range of instruments - congas, djembe, drum kit, udu, tarabukka, and various shakers and effects, until I decide what is most fitting,” Spiteri adds.

 

Micallef is after all a singer songwriter, and a connoisseur at that. Short-listed as Best Male Artist in Malta in the recent Malta Music Awards, Micallef shall play a number of tracks from his widely acclaimed album M’Jien Xejn (I am Nobody), and others such as Il-Kejl, soon to be performed on overseas television. All his works are original and in Maltese.

 

Pawlu Camilleri Il-Bibi is on harmonica, Albert Garzia on accordion and Oliver DeGabriele, of Etnika fame, on the double bass shall make up the sextet. “The Maltese people are by tradition very conscientious and we appeal to the general public to answer positively to our efforts. We have been gearing up for this concert since Christmas, and we are all out to have a good time for a good cause with our receptive followers,” Micallef sums it up.  Organized by the cultural organisation Inizjamed, and also promoted by A3FM, the 18th March concert commences at 9.30pm. There is no entrance fee but donations are strongly recommended. Donations can be forwarded to BOV account 40013255336 or HSBC account 042-061390-050.

 

13 March, 2004

CD Album

M’Jien Xejn – Walter Micallef
Bil-Malti

 

Lyrics and Music by Walter Micallef

Songs in Maltese with all lyrics in the CD booklet

Designed by Adrian Mamo

Produced by Steve Borg, supported by Adrian Mamo and Adrian Grima

Also Featuring guitarists Noel Galea Bason, Eugenio Schembri, Philip Vella, René Mamo; percussionist Renzo Spiteri; Sue Bottone, Charlotte Grech, Louiselle Vassallo, Miriam Christine Borg (backing vocals); Pawlu Camilleri l-Bibi (harmonica); and others.

Publication Date: 27 February, 2003

Price: Lm5.50

 

Official Launch: 27 February, 2003 – 8.00pm – Erin Serracino Inglott Hall, University of Malta – Featuring Walter Micallef, Renzo Spiteri, Jesmond Psaila, Pawlu Camilleri l-Bibi

 


Uncomfortable Silence

 

Nei testi di canzone sembra si sia concentrata tutta la poesia possibile nel nostro tempo, come se essa vi esalasse l’ultimo o il penultimo respiro. D’altra parte il testo di canzone è un corpo sonoro, inscindibile dalla musica che gli è toccata in sorte.” Manlio Sgalambro (Teoria della Canzone, Bompiani, 1997)

 

After more than thirty years of writing songs for the festival “L-Għanja tal-Poplu” and for a rather select audience, Walter Micallef, one of Malta’s leading singer songwriters writing in Maltese, has finally taken the plunge.

 

On Thursday, 27 February, 2003, at the Erin Serracino Inglott Hall at the University, Walter Micallef launches his first CD album, called M’Jien Xejn (“I am Nothing”). He will be accompanied on the night by percussionist Renzo Spiteri, guitarist Jesmond Psaila (in picture) and Pawlu Camilleri known as Il-Bibi on harmonica. The event starts at 8.00pm. Everyone is welcome to attend the launch; entrance is free. M'Jjien Xejn will be on sale on the night and from leading music stores.

 

Like every true singer songwriter (what in Maltese we call “kantawtur”) Walter Micallef chooses his words and his silence with skill and with care. The choice of title of this first cd album must be an important statement in itself: it is also the title of one of the 14 songs in this collection in which Micallef writes about the love for his country as if he were talking to his lover. It is a song, and an album, that shows that for him, the personal and the collective are intimately intertwined, that they are the two sides of the same coin.

 

The CD comes complete with the lyrics of all 14 songs and short comments by Adrian Grima (in Maltese) and producer Steve Borg (in English). “In a style that is both fresh and varied,” writes Steve Borg, “Walter Micallef deals with social issues and personal experience, about love and suffering, about environmental degradation and the subtle manipulation of youth. He consciously takes up issues that many have ignored, like child abuse, machismo. He is a singer songwriter who meets the linguistic and thematic challenges of his art head on.”

 

Steve Borg’s comment on M’Jien Xejn, which is meant to introduce the Micallef to a non-Maltese audience, includes an overview of the themes dealt with in this album. In songs like Ħrafa u Ereżija (A Tale and a Heresy) and the autobiographical Tihom Widen (Listen to Them), the personal and the collective come together in a very natural way. In 2020 and In-Nofsinhar (The South), Walter Micallef protests against the environmental degradation that Malta has been submitted to, while in Awwissu (August), his most popular track, he yearns to be on an idyllic beach, away from it all. San Blas Waqt il-Programm is about a friend during rehab, while Kif Deherli Jien (My Way) is a song about the singer songwriter coming to terms with himself and championing those whose altruism make them suffer. Le! (No!) deals with the drug problem and the manipulation of youth, and the powerful Sieħbi fil-Cupboard tal-Kċina is a sad story of child abuse. On a rather lighter note, Blues and Gianni poke fun at the machism that is still alive and well Maltese society. Dan l-Aħħar (Lately) speaks of infidelity; L-FM (F.M.) tells the story of a secretive relationship, and Iż-Żmien (Time) is about a mature love relationship.

 

Perhaps only a handful of Maltese “kantawturi” are able to play with the Maltese language in the way that Micallef does. Last year (23.3.2001), he was interviewed by Malta Today’s Miriam Dunn. “Listening to the intelligent usage he makes of the Maltese language in his work,” she wrote, “it is difficult to imagine that some years back, Walter made a conscious decision to switch his songwriting from the English language.” When he started out at about 17, it was “natural”, says Walter, to write in English. “I was really just putting words to music to amuse myself, especially when my main influences were people like Bob Dylan and Cat Stevens," he explains. "But I believe one of my other major influences - my grandfather, who sang ‘għana’ – became more important later when I made the language switch."


According to Dunn, “Walter began writing in Maltese after a priest, who heard him sing, encouraged him to participate in the song festival, L-Għanja tal Poplu.” He eventually won this contest on a number of occasions with some memorable songs, some of which are included in M’Jien Xejn. “He readily admits that now, he cannot imagine writing in English.” (Picture by Pippa Zammit Cutajar)

 

Singer songwriters are musicians of words; they manage to fascinate and communicate at the same time because in every word they see artistic potential and the ability to go beyond. In the world of artists (and artistes) like Walter Micallef “every word”, to borrow a phrase from Sepúlveda, “carries its own true weight”; every word has a role to play, irrespective of whoever uses it or what they may say about it. What we’re left with as involved listeners are the uncomfortable silence and the heavy silence that follow the words.

 


 

See also:

 

Steve Borg interviewed by maltastar.com about the L-Ahhar Sekondi concerts (June 2004)

 

Rosanne Zammit's article, "Songwriter takes leap into recording CD", in The Times, 5 April, 2003 http://lifestyle.timesofmalta.com/article.php?id=1050

 

Miriam Dunn’s article, “Words with Meaning”, in the Malta Today of Sunday, 23 March, 2001  http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/2001/0323/people.html

 

Ramona Depares' article, "The third degree with Walter Micallef", in the Malta Today of Sunday, 16 February, 2003

http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/2003/02/16/tw/index.html

 

Stanley Borg’s article, “The Chords of Justice”, at The Times 18 January, 2003, at http://lifestyle.timesofmalta.com/article.php?id=782

 

Adrian Grima’s article in Maltese, “Skiet Skomdu” at http://www.geocities.com/inizjamed/walter_micallef_cd.htm

 

Steve Borg’s article in Maltese, “Walter Micallef - L-Ikona tal-Ħajja”, (1 March, 2002) at

http://www.my-malta.com//interesting/WalterMicallef.html

 

Adrian Grima

17 April, 2003

  Walter Micallef Iniedi l-Ewwel CD Album
 

Nhar il-Ħamis, 27 ta' Frar, fit-8.00 ta' filgħaxija f’Sala Erin Serracino Inglott, l-Universita ta' Malta, Walter Micallef se jniedi s-cd album tiegħu M’Jien Xejn. Kulħadd huwa mistieden.

 

Ma' Walter Micallef se jdoqqu Renzo Spiteri (fir-ritratt, lemin), fuq il-perkussjoni, Pawlu Camilleri l-Bibi fuq l-armonika u Jesmond Psaila fuq il-kitarra.  Dan ix-xogħol huwa l-ewwel wiehed ta' Micallef, u jiġi wara tletin sena ta' kitba u interpretazzjoni. Il-hmistax-il silta f'M'Jien Xejn huma kollha oriġinali u bil-Malti.

 

 

Skiet Skomdu

 

Nei testi di canzone sembra si sia concentrata tutta la poesia possibile nel nostro tempo, come se essa vi esalasse l’ultimo o il penultimo respiro. D’altra parte il testo di canzone è un corpo sonoro, inscindibile dalla musica che gli è toccata in sorte.” Manlio Sgalambro (Teoria della Canzone, Bompiani, 1997)

 

F’kantawtur ta’ kwalità li jagħżel il-kliem u s-silenzju b’ħila u b’reqqa, l-isem ta’ l-ewwel ġabra ta’ kanzunetti fi tletin sena ta’ kitba aktarx huwa stqarrija importanti. “M’Jien Xejn” huwa mnebbaħ mill-isem ta’ kanzunetta ta’ mħabba lejn pajjiżu, iżda fl-istqarrija dwar ix-xejn tiegħu hemm ukoll ammissjoni matura ta’ dgħjufija fi bniedem li jirrakkonta kemm-il darba l-fallimenti tiegħu u tal-poplu Malti.

 

Walter Micallef huwa kantawtur sinċier li kapaċi jirrakkonta l-esperjenzi, kultant ibsin u intimi, u jissublimahom, mingħajr ma jibbanalizzahom; jirnexxilu jesprimi l-ħsus u l-ħsibijiet ta’ nies ta’ etajiet u esperjenzi differenti. Imma l-kwalità li tagħmlu kantawtur ewlieni u pjuttost rari f’pajjiżna mhix is-sinċerità imma l-ħila li jinqeda bil-kelma biex jirrakkonta l-ħajja mill-ġdid. Micallef kapaċi jfisser l-affarijiet b’mod li jibdew jeżistu, kif jgħid Luis Sepúlveda, “skond il-piż veru tagħhom”. Bħall-poeti, il-kantawturi huma artisti tal-kliem, tas-silenzji bejn il-kliem, tal-possibbiltajiet lilhinn; u Walter jirnexxilu jgħid dak li aħna nħossu u li ma jirnexxilniex nartikulaw bil-mod sabiħ tiegħu.

 

F’“Tihom Widen” il-kantawtur jirrifletti fuq ir-rwol tiegħu bħala narratur tiegħu nnifsu u ta’ niesu. Il-fil soċjali li jinħass fl-għanjiet tiegħu mhuwiex libsa komda jew moda imma r-riżultat tal-ħtieġa li jħoss li jitkellem dwar dak li jinkwetah. “Sieħbi fil-Cupboard tal-Kċina” u “In-Nofsinhar” huma tnejn mill-aħjar eżempji ta’ din is-sensibbiltà personali-soċjali. Bħall-awtur ideali ta’ Sepúlveda, il-kantawtur “jinsab fil-ħajja”, u jgħid dak li jgħid mhux biss għax jarah, bħala osservatur maqtugħ, imma għax iġarrbu hu u, permezz tal-ġenju ta’ l-arti, jagħtina l-opportunità li nġarrbuh miegħu.

 

Il-kantawturi huma mużiċisti tal-kliem; jirnexxilhom isaħħru u jinftiehmu fl-istess ħin għax f’kull kelma jaraw potenzjal artistiku u l-ħila li jmorru lilhinn.

 

F’idejn artisti bħal Walter Micallef, kull kelma għandha sehem x’tagħti, ġejja minn fejn ġejja, jużaha min jużaha, jgħidu x’jgħidu fuqha. U f’idejn l-udjenza hemm is-skiet skomdu u l-mistrieħ ta’ wara l-kliem.

 

© Adrian Grima

Frar 2003

 
 

Ara wkoll dawn l-artikli:

 

Steve Borg interviewed by maltastar.com about the L-Ahhar Sekondi concerts (June 2004)

 

Rosanne Zammit, "Songwriter takes leap into recording CD", The Times, 5 April, 2003 http://lifestyle.timesofmalta.com/article.php?id=1050

 

Miriam Dunn, “Words with Meaning”, Malta Today, Sunday, 23 March, 2001  http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/2001/0323/people.html

 

Ramona Depares, "The third degree with Walter Micallef", Malta Today, Sunday, 16 February, 2003

http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/2003/02/16/tw/index.html

 

Stanley Borg, “The Chords of Justice”, The Times, 18 January, 2003 http://lifestyle.timesofmalta.com/article.php?id=782

 

Adrian Grima, “Uncomfortable Silence http://www.geocities.com/inizjamed/walter_micallef_cd_eng.htm

 

Steve Borg, “Walter Micallef - L-Ikona tal-Ħajja”, (1 March, 2002)

http://www.my-malta.com//interesting/WalterMicallef.html

 

Adrian Grima

Is-17 ta' April, 2003

 
 

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