05 October 2005

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Business Today

Ruben Zahra’s folk revival at National Orchestra Goes Pop

Folk revivalist Ruben Zahra will be taking on the National Orchestra in its pop spectacular which will be held this Saturday the 8 October at the Mediterranean Conference Centre.

Zahra, whose accomplishments include the pioneering of the Etnika project, will for the first time introduce a Maltese folkloristic element in the National Orchestra’s repertoire.

“It will be the firs time that the Maltese ethnic music profile will be meetings the classical genre,” Zahra says. “Other countries have been doing this and exploring this musical territory for years and I always wished to do the same.”

With a formation in both classical music and folk music, Zahra was enthusiastic at musical director Sigmund Mifsud’s offer to include him in the line-up for the National Orchestra Goes Pop, which will also feature Ira Losco and Gianni Zammit.

Zahra’s input will include the use of the zaqq, the zavzava and the flejguta along with the accompaniment of the classical orchestra.

“When Sigmund approached me with this idea I was very excited at the opportunity, and I wrote two arrangements for the orchestra.”

The two arrangements will be touching upon three genres, comprising of Maltese folk, the classical orchestration and also hard rock. “In fact our two pieces are amongst the heaviest pieces in terms of rock, despite having along with us the classical orchestration and the ethnic element.”

Zahra said his meetings with the orchestra have been positive throughout rehearsals and is all set to go. “Our pieces are certainly the most demanding in terms of counter-rhythms but at times it’s better to give musicians a challenging piece of music rather than a banal arrangement.”

Held at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta, the auditorium can host up to 1,400. For the second consecutive year, the National Orchestra will be organising a pop concert, teaming up with a set of saxophones, bass, lead guitar, keyboard and percussion for the occasion – instruments that one wouldn't usually associate with our National Orchestra, making up a 50-piece orchestra creating a magical atmosphere. The orchestra, lead by Marcelline Agius, will be playing a combination of Instrumental and vocal popular numbers: ranging from swing to soul, popular cover versions, sound tracks, music by Queen, as well as having a Maltese touch of original ethnic and rock compositions.

The night will also have a little bit of Gozo in it, with guests including Pamela from last year’s Song for Europe contest, who will be performing Play On composed by Paul Giordimaina and Fleur Balzan, as well as up and coming singer Margaret Camilleri.

Booking details are available for the ‘National Orchestra Goes Pop' Concert at the Republic Hall, Mediterranean Conference Centre, or call 25595750-1.

For more information visit www.mcc.com.mt, or e-mail bookings@mcc.com.mt. Tickets are on sale from all Orienta outlets in Malta and Gozo and from the Sliema Band Club.

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