Archive for the ‘Entertainment in Malta’ Category

I love you Malta – grazzi, says Laura

August 3, 2012


Italian star who has sold over 45million albums across the world performs some of her greatest hits at a sparkling concert in Ta’ Qali where she got a warm welcome

Italian singer Laura Pausini returned to the Maltese islands to give yet another show-stopping performance on Wednesday night.

Numerous fans packed the open-air grounds at the MFCC, in Ta’ Qali, to welcome back the artist who had given a successful concert here in 2009.

The singer performed some of her most popular hits such as La solitudine and Strani amori and numbers from her latest album, Inedito.

Video projections and costume changes complemented the performances.

The artiste showed her warmer side as she interacted with the audience continuously during the one-and-a-half-hour show. She also dabbled in Maltese, telling the crowd “inħobbokom” (I love you) on a number of occasions and “grazzi ħafna” (thanks a lot), among other phrases.

“It was a fantastic show,” said one fan, “despite some minor hitches”. The concert began about half an hour late because of some lighting problems. “This left the stage somehow dark,” according to the concert-goer.

Ever since winning the 1993 edition of the Sanremo festival with La Solitudine, Pausini has sold over 45 million albums throughout the world, winning three Latin Grammy Awards.

She is not only loved in Italy but also Spain, France, The Netherlands and as far away as South America.

Her latest world tour, titled Inedito like her latest release, is directed by Marco Balich, creator of the Winter Olympics’ ceremonies in Turin in 2006 and the inauguration of the Juventus stadium last summer.

The set was designed by Mark Fisher, who has worked with Pink Floyd and U2.

Night at the popera

July 9, 2012


Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja returned to his Floriana stage on Saturday night for a concert before thousands of people on the Granaries.
The annual concert by the internationally-renowned tenor is held every summer, bringing together pop and opera. The formula is a crowd-pleaser year in, year out.
This year’s line-up included the Neapolitan singer-songwriter Gigi D’Alessio and Irish heart-throb and former Boyzone lead singer Ronan Keating. Both performed duets with Mr Calleja. The 200-strong HSBC children’s choir also took part.
Among the best received numbers were Hallelujah, sung jointly by Calleja, Keating and the choir – which got an encore – as well as Because You’re Mine, You Raise Me Up and Brindisi.
Keating’s single When You Say Nothing at All, which was featured in the film Notting Hill and peaked at number one in several countries, got a huge cheer from the audience.
The choir was particularly applauded for its beautiful rendering of the Anvil Chorus, which kicked off the second part of the concert.
Several of the musical arrangements were made by Kevin and Paul Abela
Mr Calleja was also joined on stage by soprano Gillian Zammit and Amber, fresh from the Eurovision Song Contest where she was part of Kurt Calleja’s team.
The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra was directed by the internationally acclaimed conductor Steven Mercurio, who has collaborated with Mr Calleja on his new album, a tribute to opera star Mario Lanza.
The concert included a moving tribute to Lucio Dalla, who was in Malta last year shortly before he passed away suddenly.
The concert was organised by NnG Promotions and supported by HSBC, Vodafone and Allied Newspapers.

75 Attractions in One Night

October 2, 2011


The usually quiet evening streets of Valletta were turned into a vibrant festival of the arts, history and culture on Saturday, as Notte Bianca went through its sixth edition.

The capital’s streets and buildings were illuminated especially for the occasion, with 75 attractions and places of interest to choose from and about 500 people taking part.

Theatre lovers got a sneak peak into Renzo Piano’s as yet unfinished roofless theatre and were able to watch performances in the opera house ruins.

On the musical front, the sounds of rock, blues, indie, jazz and traditional music coming from several squares and gardens mingled with marching bands and orchestras.

A number of museums were also open to the public free of charge.

At the Lascaris War Rooms, which are currently undergoing renovation, the Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna tour guides joked about how they rarely saw Maltese people down in the underground chambers during the rest of the year but were overwhelmed by the number of locals on the night. Numerous bars and restaurants took advantage of the hungry crowds and stayed open beyond their normal hours.

While the organisers had appealed to visitors to enter Valletta through different routes other than Republic Street due to the ongoing construction works, it seems that not everyone followed their advice, with large crowds attempting to make their way through the narrowed passage that used to lead to the capital from City Gate.

The bottleneck proved too much for some, with one elderly woman seen whacking her way through the crowd with her walking stick.

Meanwhile, an Arriva spokesman said the company ferried more than 30,000 passengers on its special services between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. during Saturday’s event.

While there were large crowds, Arriva and Transport Malta had staff on hand to direct those wanting to take the bus to the relevant stops and mobile ticket sellers to help make boarding quicker.

Special routes labelled A to K were put on for the evening to make sure all passengers could make the journey home.

Young Maltese fans in tune with James Blunt -Article from Times of Malta.

April 13, 2011

British singer James Blunt lived up to his reputation as a heart-throb and had teenyboppers and women shouting out his name, cheering him on as he belted out his chart-topping hits.

The concert, organised by NNG Promotions, was opened by Malta’s own award-winning band Airport Impressions at 8 p.m. on Thursday, with James Blunt coming on stage an hour later to squeals of delight.

Some 6,000 fans packed the Valletta Waterfront on Thursday to watch the popular singer-songwriter play his moody ballads and songs from his latest album Some Kind Of Trouble.

Opening the show with So Far Gone, James Blunt was clearly enjoying the mood, the setting of the stage overlooking the picturesque Grand Harbour and the balmy weather and he transmitted this to the crowd.

In an interview to The Sunday Times before his concert he spoke of how he knows Valletta well and has clear memories of plunging into the sea off some cliffs in Gozo.

He said he loved the island so much he very nearly took up permanent residence in Malta in 2008, when he was looking to set up home outside the UK. In the end, he opted for Ibiza because it was closer to England and easier for his friends to visit.

“I visited Malta before and it’s beautiful, but more so with the setting from the stage and your smiling faces,” he enthused during one of his interactions with the adoring crowd.

He also attempted to say a few words in Maltese, such as kif inthom (how are you) and grazzi ħafna (thank you so much) but warned the crowd “it’s going to be limited”.

At one point he tells the crowd: “This is a miserable song, which I am known for best. I was going to tell you to sit down and listen to two hours of miserable music but many seem to have forgotten their chairs”.

Asking fans standing at the back how they were, he jokingly urged them to “take off their clothes” if they could hear him. In turn, some women urged him to take off his T-shirt.

He surprised fans by attempting to go crowd surfing during one of his livelier hits but he did not get far.

After fans sang the chorus to his Goodbye My Lover, he heaped the crowd with praise saying: “Of all the crowds, in all the world you are the most in tune” and joked he would take them travelling on tour with him.

He gave a perfect rendition of his most successful single You’re Beautiful and closed the concert with three songs that he played during the encore – Into The Dark, Stay The Night and 1973.

James Blunt left Malta for Zurich yesterday where he continues his tour.

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Elton John live in concert – Article in The Malta Independent, 27th September 2010

September 28, 2010

Elton John delighted the sizeable crowd that gathered at the Granaries in Floriana, Malta  on Sunday 26th September, with a memorable concert, his second on the islands in 10 years. Sir Elton sang several of the songs that made him famous all over the world and helped him sell over 250 million records.

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Rod Stewart entertains on the Granaries, Floriana, Malta – Article in The Times of Malta, 04 August 2010

August 4, 2010


Rod Stewart had the crowd swinging at the fourth large concert to be held on the granaries in Floriana this summer, following the Isle of MTV, the Joseph Calleja Concert and the show by Winter Moods.

 The veteran Briton gave an energetic performance that belied his age as he belted out songs which have made him famous throughout the world.

 Organiser Roy Steer said it was a sell-out show.

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‘Bigger’ Calleja concert next year – Article, The Times of Malta, 31st July 2010

August 2, 2010

 Riding on the success of Joseph Calleja’s concert on Thursday, the organisers are promising an even bigger and better one next year to keep the concept fresh.

 This is the second year in which the world famous tenor has performed alongside local and international artists and it looks set to become a staple event on the summer cultural calendar.

 Anton Attard from NNG Promotions said that some 9,000 people packed the Granaries in Floriana, 2,000 more than last year, and the children’s choir had practically doubled to 500.

 “Next year we would like to come up with something better. We keep building on previous years to keep the concert exciting,” he said.

 The concert – similar to the Pavarotti and Friends concerts, which were organised by the late tenor Luciano Pavarotti who teamed up with famous singers to perform alongside him – this year brought to Malta American legend Dionne Warwick and popular Italian singer Riccardo Cocciante.

 But Joseph Calleja is also keen on exposing emerging local talent, so each year singers get to share the stage with Malta’s finest music export.

 The concert, which had been postponed by five days because of the forecast gale force winds, was staged on a perfect night under the stars and a radiant moon with the backdrop of the Floriana parish church lit for the occasion.

 Joseph Calleja’s first number was Andrea Bocelli’s classic Canto Della Terra and he later teamed up with Raquela Dalli Gonzi for another Bocelli favourite Vivo Per Lei. He then performed a duet with the President’s daughter, Maria Abela, to interpret La Traviata.

 He again mesmerised the audience with his perfect rendition of Puccini’s Nessun Dorma, after receiving a standing ovation at the Luxol Grounds last year. Other solo highlights included Il Gladiatore.

 The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra’s musicians, mostly under the baton of multi-faceted musician Paul Bateman, struck the right notes.

 Riccardo Cocciante wooed the audience with his poetic songs and the passion he injected into each interpretation. The song that got the biggest applause was his San Remo winner Se Stiamo Insieme, especially when the Maltese tenor joined him onstage for the refrains.

Dionne Warwick added soul and jazz to the proceedings; her performance was rather low key until she teamed up with her son David Elliott to sing the chart-topping That’s What Friends Are For.

 Some fans had been expecting more duets with Joseph Calleja but Mr Attard said these had to be planned within reason. It would have been pointless teaming Joseph Calleja with Dionne Warwick if their musical styles did not match.

 People in one section of the standing side complained that the sound was poor and failed to do justice to the performers, especially when it came to the 500-strong children’s choir. When asked about this Mr Attard said that according to their experts the sound had been just fine.

 The concert closed off at 11.45 p.m., with successive encores and the audience shouting out for more after Calleja sang the Neapolitan classic O Sole Mio.

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Jazz festival in groove for fans and musicians – Article by David Schembri, The Times of Malta, 20th July 2010

July 20, 2010

Richard Bona Photo: Gege Gatt

One trick in music is that if you hit a wrong note while playing, repeat it, and then it’s jazz.

If that were indeed the case, there must be something right with that “wrong note”, as the 20th edition of the three-day Malta Jazz Festival struck a chord with the music fans who turned up night after night to listen to the world-class line-up.

The festival kicked off with a bang on Thursday with Francesca Galea accompanied by Leonardo Montana, followed by nu-jazz trio The Bad Plus, after which fusion legend Mike Stern and his band hit the stage.

Also going off with a bang were the fireworks from the Kalkara feast, which had been postponed due to the World Cup. It was only after the fireworks’ display that young songbird Esperanza Spalding could do her set after Joshua Redman and his double trio, on Friday.

Ms Spalding had shown a particular appreciation for Malta and its history saying: “It’s beautiful. I understand why people wanna fight for this place; it’s gorgeous.”

The last night was opened by jazz veteran Charles “City” Gatt and his quartet, who injected a strong Maltese flavour with a jazzed-up traditional tune by the late Charles Camilleri.

Drummer Ari Hoenig of the Ari Hoenig Punk Bop Trio, renowned for playing melodies by altering the pressure on the drum, kept adding to the local flavour by playing Maltese folk tune Lanċa Ġejja w Oħra Sejra on his kit, then going on to fuse it with a jazz standard.

“I learnt it today,” Mr Hoenig told The Times, adding that as musicians they were used to “quoting” other songs while improvising.

Speaking on his technique of altering the pitch of the drums using his elbows, Mr Hoenig said he practised it “like any violin or cello player would, by learning at what positions different notes are”.

Quotations were also present in Richard Bona’s closing set, where at some point Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water was heard.

Mr Bona proved to be a true showman, interacting with the people who gathered on the bastions overlooking Ta’ Liesse to follow the show. He ended his set with people dancing in front of the stage and singing along – apart from when he asked the women over 40 in the audience to sing along with him and there was no response leading him to jokingly ask whether women of this age group had all been executed in Malta.

Speaking to this newspaper afterwards, the bassist, weary from signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans, said he would be back any day.

His approach to music, as technical as it might be to play, is simple. “Music should be fun,” he says.

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Isle of MTV concert draws the crowds – Article, The Times of Malta, 01st July, 2010

July 1, 2010


A huge crowd on Wednesday evening filled up the Granaries in Floriana for the fourth Isle of MTV concert.

An enthusiastic crowd shouted and danced to the tunes presented by top performers Kelis, Scissor Sisters, Kid Rock and David Guetta in a mega show that is estimated to have been attended by some 50,000 people.

The people started filling up the Granaries hours before the concert started in a bid to secure a good position at the front.

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Tom Jones in Malta – Article in The Times of Malta, 17th November 2009

November 17, 2009

Tom Jones played to three enthusiastic generations on Sunday night during a concert at the Malta Fairs and Convention Centre, Ta’ Qali.

Youths sang along with septuagenarians during the Welsh legend’s two-hour set in support of his critically acclaimed album 24 Hours. Some 6,000 people were at the concert, organised by NnG Promotions.

Tom Jones dipped into several of his all-time classics, from What’s New Pussycat, which kept the elder members of the audience happy, to his cover version of Prince’s Kiss, which elicited a huge response from the youngsters. Yet it was his 1968 hit Delilah which earned the biggest roar of the evening.

Tom Jones lived up to his nickname The Voice, never faltering, defying his five decades in the business, though not as fit as he was in his heyday.

Wearing a blue suit and sporting white hair and a goatee beard (finally dispensing of dyed hair), Tom Jones is now clearly acting his 69 years. At one point he pondered on why U2’s Bono and The Edge had written a song for him called Sugar Daddy.

The renowned tradition of knicker-throwing at Tom Jones’s concerts seems to be dying down, though the odd piece of underwear was seen on the ground after the event.

However, at one point, one elderly woman was seen approaching the stage, hobbling past security and depositing an item of underwear neatly on stage.

Though he finished off the concert with the relatively unknown Take Me Back to the Party, the crowd cheered and danced – by then many had forgotten the traffic chaos which took over Ta’ Qali before the gig.

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