Festival Kanzunetta Maltija managed to provide unique opportunities to Maltese singers, authors and composers to showcase their Maltese compositions in prestigious international competitions. Unfortunately, this festival was discontinued in 2002, with a brief return in 2013 and 2016.
Despite these short-lived returns, the festival never managed to establish itself as a main event within the Maltese cultural calendar. Now, with the initiative of the Prime Minister and the Ministry for National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government, Festivals Malta will be officially launching the return of this prestigious festival, newly titled ‘Mużika Mużika – Festival Kanzunetta Maltija’.
Minister for National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government José Herrera said that this festival is intended to further encourage Maltese talent and the Maltese song. He stated that while we have a high level of local musical talent, there is still a need to strengthen the opportunities we offer Maltese composers, authors and singers. “This festival will surely attract the best talent in our country, where through this initiative we will continue providing more opportunities to both established and emerging artists within the local music scene”, concluded Minister Herrera.
‘Mużika Mużika – Festival Kanzunetta Maltija’ Chairman, Mr Raymond Bugeja, stated that this festival will serve as a platform for local artists. “It has now been several years since we have been, regretfully, feeling the lack of a proper showcase for songs written and performed in our native language. It is indeed unfortunate that the local music scene has been gradually deprived of Maltese-language songs.”
Mr Bugeja continued, “it is therefore with great pride, for us as a team, to announce that the Ministry for National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government has entrusted us to re-launch a festival intended solely for songs written in the Maltese language. This will ensure that the Maltese song is reinstated to its rightful place, with all the credit and dignity it is due. ‘Mużika Mużika – Festival Kanzunetta Maltija’ will also serve as a platform for our composers and authors to promote their talents – talents which truly flourish on our beloved island.”
When asked to comment on the return of the festival, Festivals Malta Chairman, Mr Norman Hamilton stated, “when I was entrusted with the role of Chairman of the Festivals Malta Agency Board, over a year ago, one of my first thoughts was how to revive the defunct ‘Festival tal- Kanzunetta Maltija’. It was a pleasure to have Minister José Herrera also share my enthusiasm and to encourage this initiative. He immediately created two sub-committees to proceed with this project, a consultative and an advisory one. Chairing these two boards is Mr Ray Bugeja with Mr Albert Marshall and myself as vice chairman. These two boards have been working very hard at the ongoing rate of two weekly meetings for the past three months in order to make this happen.”
“This festival, a showcase and a unique platform for Maltese and Gozitan composers, authors, singers, groups and musicians, will, as from now on be known as ‘Mużika Mużika – Festival Kanzunetta Maltija’. I am immensely proud that the minister’s and my dream will finally become a reality. This extremely popular festival of the Maltese song will now be returning as part of Festivals Malta’s annual cultural calendar, and this time it will be here to stay”, concluded Mr Hamilton.
Festivals Malta Director, Ms Annabelle Stivala, also commented on the importance of this festival, particularly when it comes to local artists. Ms Stivala said that, “this festival not only serves as a platform for Maltese singers, composers and authors, but it will also provide a celebration of Maltese music, a show that will unite the Maltese people and honour our native language. Festivals Malta is proud to have been entrusted with this important project, through which we will be reviving this prestigious festival”.
This festival will officially take place in March 2021, featuring a competition with various songs written in the Maltese language, with lyrics and compositions from local artists. The regulations, as well as other guidelines regarding the procedures of this festival can also be found on the website www.muzikamuzika.org. Applications can be submitted by hand or online at Festivals Malta’s offices in Floriana or on www.muzikamuzika.org respectively between the 28th and the 30th of October 2020.