MJAW was conceived in a farmhouse at the Limits of Imgarr, Malta, in 2017. MJAW refers at once to an individual, a duo, and a band, each of which will show up according to circumstance. MJAW, essentially, is a seeking and a finding of an inner freedom, expressed in songs written, for the most part, in the Maltese language and idiom. MJAW promotes nothing, but it does seek to provide an opportunity for the audience to disidentify from everyday concerns and find the joy of self-knowledge.
The musicians involved in MJAW are Anton Scicluna, Mark Vella, Mjaw and Ricky Cutajar. Inspiring and motivating, there is Raminta Rimidite, working in the background.
Brodu started in a picnic in 2010/2011 when Zizza asked Fre to form a band to record stuff by Darren “Pupazz” Gatt and Mark Abela. Zizza and Fre needed a very able and soulful guitarist and asked Drinu, who Zizza knew from the “Bossa Nova Flying Cats”. Sam, the ivory tinkler, who played with the likes of “Mac Rebennack” and “The Deputies”, joined soon after. Their first drummer was Roberto Angelone, and after Roberto left, Zizza went on drums, and Evan Vassallo from “Duħħan” and “Kontroll” came in as a guitarist and band manager. With Evan as band manager the band went into bankrupcy and was sued by the Malta Arts Fund. The band needed desperately a very good manager, marketing strategist and drummer to stay alive, and Chris “Ratman” Mallia was hired and saved the band and led the band to record three albums and a couple of singles, leading the band to Global success and regular MTV screenings of their music videos.
Matthew James & Micimago
Matthew James Borg is a singer-songwriter who became notable during the first two decades of the 21st century as front-man for the band Red Electrick. During most of the same period he also played keyboard with The Rifffs during their live gigs. In 2014, Matthew joined Peter Borg (guitarist for Red Electrick and owner of Railway Studios) as visual director at the said studios, directing music videos and writing songs for many of Malta’s artists, most of which successfully making it to the local radio charts.In 2018 he ventured out as a solo act releasing his debut single Memories on 22 March 2018 as Matthew James
The Micimago sound has developed into something of good character. His sound is easily distinguished in any songs in whichever genre he decides to work in. This sound was cemented into the Maltese music scene by reaching the no. 1 spot on several radio charts with several singles.
Brimba composes of Kyle Drakard on electric guitar, Dean Montanaro on bass, and Pete Galea on drums. They are the musical equivalent of a spider on a unicycle playing Twister – their words. A super exciting contemporary trio blending a bit of jazz with aggressive odd-time riffs and fluid rhythmic interplay – all housed under some pretty cool and captivating vocal lines.
Mel Xkejfa is a singer/songwriter, who, formerly half of the successful Maltese band Chasing Pandora, has now embarked on a solo career. Mel moved to Gozo from Canada at the age of 7, and always knew that music would be her way of life. However, she found the lack of musical opportunities in Gozo frustrating and put her desire to become a lead singer in a band on the back seat whilst she studied for University.
Beesqueeze is a Maltese indie dance high-power garage pop/rock duo. The band consists of Kriz Zahra (guitar, bass, synth and vox) & Chris Mallia (drums, vox, guitar and fx) two individuals full of energy. Emerging from their tiny home studio, the band experimented with a variety of electronic sounds, beats and rhythms, whilst maintaining a warm rawness to their sound. Beesqueeze describe their music as ‘Alterdelic’ (alternative / psychedelic) dance rock, and rightly so, as their sound is a pumpy and vibrant combination of alternative rock mixed with psychedelic pop influenced by acts such as The Strokes, MGMT, Tame Impala, Gorillaz and The Pixies. Their first EP ‘Crowd Control’ was released in 2017 and showed the band’s take on finding a crispy new sound. In 2020 the band signed an international distribution deal with Echoism Records and released 3 singles throughout the same year, ‘Say You Do’, ‘Lost at Sea’ and ‘It Won’t Matter’
Gabriella is a local pop singer and musician. She embarked on her musical journey at the age of five when she started learning the violin.
She attended vocal coaching from the age of twelve and following her father’s footsteps, she got a particular interest in bands. Spectrum was her first band where she gained confidence in various styles of music, ranging from Jazz to Rock.
Throughout her artistic career, she embarked onto any opportunity that was presented to her especially those related to music and dance. Some of these included singing at the Delicata Wine Festival, Marsovin Wine Festival, UEFA Euro Qualifiers, Strummin’, RockAstra, and also main roles in the musicals ‘Grease’ and ‘Cats’.
Currently, she is the front woman of Novel who as a cover band has managed to create quite a following in Malta.
She has recently released her debut EP ‘Disclosed’. Her plans for the future are to work on more original material.
Bark Bark Disco
Singer /songwriter Nick Morales has been a part of the Maltese local scene for many years playing in many bands, as well as a session for artists. Mostly known for his bands nosnow/noalps, Dripht, Bila, and 400ppm. Nick has toured all over Europe and recently toured America with the band BILA, he also won local awards and played in all top local festivals.
The Hinge Project is the third album by guitarist Jes Psaila. The seven original compositions are made up of old ideas and others tunes specifically composed for this album. The arrangements are the collective effort of the quartet which is made up of Mark Attard (kb), Luke Briffa (dr) and Andre’ Micallef (bs), each member contributing to the band’s particular sound. The style is instrumental fusion, the music is melodic, often mellow, and embraces jazz and rock influences. Having played a few venues and events the band recorded the material at Temple Studios last year and is planning its release later this year.
The love of blues, pop rock, classic rock, and power ballads, are what drives him today as an established singer-songwriter, blues & rock guitarist. After the success of his first, “Close to Home”, he went on to release his second single, “Got It All Wrong”, which sported 15,000+ views upon the first month of release, receiving huge amounts of radio and TV coverage, which led him to be invited to some prestigious events in Malta alongside some amazing artists in the local music scene. Kersten Graham has just released his new single KAOS – check it out now.
Matthew has recently moved back to Malta and had only managed a hand full of gigs before Covid took over the world but is definitely looking forward to playing live music again when the chance presents itself. You can find all his music, videos and info at walrusandthecarpenter.net .
” A convicted and edgy take on the darker side of alternative folk music ”
Ash Bell – Starboard Cannons
After spending two decades producing in Los Angeles with countless radio hits and music compositions featured on Blood Diamond, Little Miss Sunshine, Sex & The City, Charmed, Scrubs, and more, Mawk Phoenix was ready to transform his art as well as himself. His album ‘This Is The Sound‘ (Very Music) marks Phoenix’s solo debut as a singer-songwriter. “I realized that as a producer I was ready for evolution,” says Phoenix. He stepped away from mainstream success of producing chart-topping artists to consider his hopes and dreams. “I became inspired to define my authentic voice and sound. That time resulted in articulating my own story of growth and self-transformation”
A musician and instrument maker from Limoges, France, working and living in France and the UK. Strongly influenced by traditional music from any country, and his song writing tells a story without words.
He builds and reimagines instruments, taking inspiration from the cigar
box guitars played by bluesmen, whose lack of financial freedom and materials did not stop them from making music.
His debut solo album recorded in Birmingham, UK, with Nicholas Clarke and Paul Wetton (previouslyt bassist for Robert Plant), is currently at the mastering stage.
Singer/songwriter, Jolene Samhan is bringing a fresh taste of music to the world. Born and raised in Nadur with Brazilian, Palestinian and a German-Polish background, she does not only look the part but she is definitely ambitious to produce a unique sound as she enters the music industry bound to be one of Malta’s strongest and loudest voices.
Her first taste of producing music was through ‘Place’ in collaboration with Micimago and Shaun Axiaq where she sang and wrote the lyrics for the track. This led them to win the Lovin Music Award for Best Dance Track 2019 while also being nominated for Best Song of the year. Eventually, she released her solo debut single ‘February 1st’ in 2021.
Maltese Australian singer-songwriter Joseph Portelli’s, contemporary pop style music, harks back to the 1970s. Though music comes as naturally to Joseph as eating and sleeping, the rawness in his voice and truth in his words comes from a place of emotional turmoil and life experiences, whereby Joseph channels honesty and experience into his songs.
Skald are Bertu Aquilina, Gabriel Gauci, Simon Bezzina, Jesmar Bezzina and Aaron Debattista – a quintet formed recently to breathe life into Maltese literature and culture with their own blend of original music. The name ‘Skald’ derives from the literal Maltese word “splinter”. However, it also translates to the ancient Scandinavian word for a composer who recites poems and hymns honouring heroes and their accomplishments. All five started their musical journeys at relatively young ages – some during their teenage years whilst others even earlier. Hailing from different backgrounds, they aim to amalgamate their varied skill sets into new exciting artistic expression.
Sam Christie is a Maltese musician who started out playing in many different bands such as Phobics and Ceera before deciding to go solo.
His main infulences include Nick Drake, Elliot Smith, Bob Dylan and Bon Iver, writing 60’s style Folk with a modern twist. He released his first album ‘Meet Me At Spoons’ in 2018 after recording with Chris Vella
who also produced his album and other EP’s before that.
He has collaberated with many different artists in different scenes such as Milo Bank$, JC.B and Chris Vella.
Born in Wakefield England. Growing up Dean was surrounded by music. He’s the front man with band Spirit of Smokie who have toured Europe and Russia extensively over the past 10 years. Supporting artists such as Chris Rea, Status Quo and Chris Norman etc He’s released his solo album “Gravity” and more recently the album “changes” written and recording with his band “Barton”. Dean also plays locally here on Gozo with his band “Lost on the Rock” with Gozo’s own Eugene Bajjada and James Davies. He continues his musical journey and is currently writing new material.
PlaKard is a contemporary progressive jazz band formed as ‘The PlaKard Project’ in Malta in August 2016 by bassist Matthew John Scicluna and drummer Kyle Drakard. The band launched their debut gig featuring Warren Galea as guitarist in January 2017. A few days later, Matthew Camilleri joined the band as a guitarist and in April 2018 the band released their debut album ‘Jump The Fence’.
There was a massive influence of 60’s sounds and modern day classics filling my young ears, my dad learned all the classic songs in a very Folky kind of way on his old Nylon string Guitar, I guess that’s what drew me to a more natural acoustic sound and an interest in Folk Music”
As an adult this has opened my Mind to world music in a very big way as I now have no certain genre that I belong to, I am just a songwriter with an appreciation of all music from all cultures”
First appearing in the UK charts in 2000 fronting recording projects with Oxygen, Andrea Britton’s career as both a recording artist and performer continued with international hits with Sunfreaks, DT8 Project, 4 Strings, Rui da Silva and Soulshaker to name but a few. She fronts Lord Large (Acid Jazz), Lustral (Virgin) and Slovo (Brixtown) and has toured extensively alongside key album and single releases. She has supported Kylie Minogue, Kelly Rowland, Moloko, Damien Rice, Roisin Murphy, Dirty Vegas, Ce Ce Rogers, Shapeshifters, Faithless and more on worldwide tours.
Formed by Charles J. Attard and Frank Buhagiar, Gozo based rock band Divine Sinners have been playing locally live for the past ten years. They have recorded five albums of original songs and their music videos can be found on YouTube. Following various member changes, the band now consists of Charles J. Attard on vocals/guitar, Paul Saviour Spiteri on drums and new member Fernando Cortes on bass guitar.
RubberBand, are an original offering to the alternative scene, a mixed bag of characters and musical influences including folk, pop, funk, jazz and blues which are incorporated into their sound. Old friends meeting by chance to a live jam proved quickly to be a hit with their eclectic renditions of an endless variety of cover songs.
Charlotte has been practicing professionally for over 15 years, exhibiting across the UK, France, Malta, the USA and India. Having been Resident Artist at Kokarkultur, Finland, Arthouse Chantelle, France and Greenmeadows, Kerela, India, she currently creates from her narrowboat on the UK Inland Waterways. She is working on several private commissions, and was last year shortlisted for the Sir John Hurt Art Prize. Her work focuses on space and environment, abstracting forms found in nature, and the spaces in between. Painting is used as a meditative method to understand our place within our environment. For more info, find her at www.charlottewallisart.co.uk
Local artist Mario Abela, uses paintings, drawings, collage, video and sound that depart from the metaphysical, anthropological theories and history. Through a juxtaposition of images and chance during execution, what starts as storytelling, becomes an exploration into fantastic worlds. This puts concepts like time, memory and chance under analysis, to establish how these determine the interpretation of the past and sometimes forecast the future.
With each artwork I produce, a part of my soul goes away with it. Sometimes liberating, other timesbittersweet. I have also learnt that, rather than resist, I ebb and flow through artistic blocks; leading me to catharsis.
I work on a multitude of concepts; from commissioned portraiture, tattoo flashes/designs to anti propaganda postersto name a few. As for media I use, it really boils down to the concept I am working on; linocut printing, collage, parchment, writing, experimental video & sound, crafting, diorama. I do
not shy away from tackling new ways of expressing myself. Currently main medium of choice I would have to say are watercolors and pens.
David Debono is a figurative artist whose inspiration comes from the simplicity of everyday life especially that of Malta. He uses mostly charcoal and oil paint and has a poetic, symbolic style. His work has been exhibited in various galleries on home soil and also in Italy and many local and foreign private collections. David will be talking about his inspiration and his work.
Rosita was born in Gozo in 1977. Her first experience with art was at the Trade School in Xaghra, Gozo, where she spent two years of basic academic practice. Shortly after, she followed art courses in the School of Art in Ghajnsielem under various well-known Gozitan artists, including Paul Stellini. Here, her passion for art was fuelled as she was exposed to the different artistic techniques. From then onwards, Rosita considered art as a personal mission and pursued to fulfill her artistic yearn through the exploitation of its wide ranging spheres.
For a couple of years she delivered classes in beauty care. Flower arrangement and palm work at the Wistin Camilleri Gozo Centre for Arts and Crafts in Ghajnsielem. During this period Rosita had the opportunity to follow courses in papier-mâché. Lately she found great satisfaction in creating 2D colourfuI compositions with a wide and rich variety of media. Rosita is a Freelance professional beautician and makeup artist.
Bad boy artist and poet Karl Consiglio
His poems range from the sensitively romantic, to the downright surreal, all the way to the simply, plain and funny.
Very prolific, always original, and on fire
Karl’s work is to be approached in the way one would a strange dog in a strange alley
Joseph Buttigieg who hails from Qala, is an arts enthusiast and cultural operator. He has worked for several years in the culture sector first with Arts Council Malta and later with the Ministry for Gozo. Joseph was passionate about music since a young age, playing piano and cello and later studying voice. Lately he has developed an affinity for poetry and literature, promoting local writers. Besides Joseph is also a councillor with the Qala Local Council and has the environment at heart.
Penny Dix is a qualified therapist, performer and author. She has helped thousands on their healing journeys, recorded top 20 hits and written poems and even a book for children. She has lived a colourful life and has been on Gozo for 16 years – no stranger to the Zeppi’s stage. Penny has chosen to read three self-penned poems for Backdoor Jam. All are biographical and based on true experiences from her life.
I have lived in Xewkija for almost seven years. Pre-Covid, our house was known for hosting live music parties. Hoping to get back there.
I’m a “off the cuff” writer. Throw a subject at me and I start hearing it in rhyme. I have been doing it since childhood. I’ve also been involved in music for years, played in a band, and can honestly say I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many top performers. Janis and Jimmy, still favorites, Woodstock 1969. My story is long and would take up too much time. I am 71, with a solid 5 piece horn line still floating around in my head, love the Blues, R&B , and am in complete awe of some of the talent down on this little island.