The second edition of the Malta World Music Festival returns this weekend at Fort St Elmo in Valletta. Over the two nights, six international acts from all over the globe will be showcasing the diversity, breadth and vivacity of modern world music. From contemporary interpretations of archaic musical forms to purer expressions of folk traditions, the line-up has something to offer music enthusiasts of all kinds.
Among this year’s highlights are Grammy-nominated collective Afro Celt Sound System who will be headlining tonight’s concert. Formed by Simon Emmerson in 1996, the European and African-based collective has topped one-and-a-half million albums and has two Grammy nominations to date.
Cushion, who will be flying the flag for Malta, will kick off the festival tonight. This local Indian fusion outfit draws heavily from the Indian tradition, with dominant sitar licks and eastern vocalisations, all backed with keyboard ambience and pulsating bass and drum patterns. Their live performances often include professional dance choreography, fire juggling and buugeng acts.
Tonight’s line-up is completed by Refugees for Refugees, a band of 10 musicians, under the leadership of Belgian oud player Tristan Driessens, who are actual refugees originating from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tibet. The band’s sound builds bridges between the musical heritage of their respective homelands.
Chart-topping Spanish artist Ana Alcaide will open tomorrow night’s festivities. Alcaide has played a pioneering role in the introduction and popularisation of the nyckelharpa in Spain. Rooted in ancient traditions yet resolutely modern, her compositions deftly blend musical styles from different cultures.
Alcaide will be followed by Trad.Attack!, a trio of musicians who play their own interpretation of Estonian folk, which fuses rock, folk and bagpipe music. Trad.Attack draws inspiration from archive recordings of the great Estonian folk singers and instrumentalists who created and performed music for work, leisure and festivities in olden times.
The festival will draw to a close with a set from Electrik Gem! guitarist Grégory Dargent and his motley band of instrumentalists – which includes oud, gadulka and tarhu players – merging sounds from the Balkans, the Middle East and the Orient as an attempt to musically transcribe the modern multifaceted Mediterranean metropolis.
For more information and tickets, visit www.maltaworldmusicfestival.org.