Mike Spiteri

Mike Spiteri wins 2011 Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza in Malta

Mike Spiteri ©  userserve-ak-last.fm

Mike Spiteri represented Malta at the 1995 Eurovision Song Contest with Keep Me In My Mind.  The song finished in 10th position.  Now Mike has won the 2011 Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza in Malta with the song, B'Rieda Ta' L-Azzar (Faith Of Steel).

1995

Basic information
Date: 
13 May 1995
Contest type: 
Grand Final
Venue: 
Point Theatre, Dublin, Ireland
Broadcaster: 
RTE
Presenter(s): 
Mary Kennedy
About the contest: 

Charged with hosting the contest for a third consecutive year, RTE returned to the Point Theatre on the banks of the River Liffy. They clearly didn’t spend much of the budget on lighting, the set was one of the darkest ever not seen in a contest. Not only had no broadcaster had to organise the contest three years in a row before, no venue had staged the contest for two consecutive years either.

Cynics suggested that Ireland’s entry, Dreamin' by Eddie Friel, was chosen because it wouldn’t have a chance of winning. While Ireland didn’t make it four in a row, there was a very clear link between Irish music and the winning Norwegian song. The group, Secret Garden, had been brought together by Nocturne’s composer, Rolf Lövland. Among the group was Fionnuala Sherry, an Irish lady who had been a member of the RTE Concert Orchestra the year before. Nocturne was an unmistakably Irish song. It was one of the most controversial winners in the history of the contest. Some argued it wasn’t a song at all. There are two lines at the beginning of the song and two lines at the end, with a total of 25 words. The rest of the three minutes is instrumental.

A wide range of music was represented; opera, jazz, commercial pop, ballads, folk and, for the first time, rap.

Riverdance, the interval act from the 1994 contest, had been expanded into a full length show and was sweeping the world. Because of this, there was much interest in what RTE would serve up while the scores were being counted. What was produced was something completely different from Riverdance. A monastic chant called Lumen provided good entertainment and stood up in its own right.

Unusually, there were no performers among the acts who had been in the contest before. The nearest to that was Norway’s Secret Garden.  Rolf Lövland had written the 1985 winning song. La Det Swinge. Alexandros Panayi and Darja Svajger would reappear in future contests.

The scoring system remained as the very familiar 1-8, 10, 12 point system. A rule change meant that no songs would be automatically relegated from the 1996 contest, signalling only a temporary end to this form of deciding who would be in and out of the next contest.

About the songs: 
JustynaJustyna Poland - Justyna - Sama (Polish)

Music/Lyrics: Wojciech Waglewski, Mateusz Pospieszaalski/Wojciech Waglewski

Conductor: Noel Kelehan

Poland came close to winning on its debut the previous year with an epic ballad. This time, Justyna’s song is more in the style of a Polish folk/gypsy song. Her choreography consisted almost exclusively of lots of hand waving.

 Eddie FrielEddie Friel Ireland - Eddie Friel - Dreamin' (English)

Music/Lyrics: Richard Abbott, Barry Woods/Richard Abbott, Barry Woods

Conductor: Noel Kelehan

Under normal circumstances, this uninspiring folk ballad would not have been considered as a possible winner. However, on the back of three wins in a row for Ireland, no-one would have bet against it! Sighs of relief all round then when it became clear it was not going to be four in a row.

 Stone and StoneStone and Stone Germany - Stone and Stone - Verliebt In Dich (German)

Music/Lyrics: Cheyenne Stone/Cheyenne Stone

Conductor: Hermann Weindorf

Pretentions of greatness were misplaced as Cheyenne and her husband presented their slightly funk influenced song in a way that suggested they thought it was going to finish higher than was ever likely.

 Davor PopovicDavor Popovic Bosnia - Davor Popovic - Dvadeset I Prvi Vijek (Bosnian)

Music/Lyrics: Zlatan Fazlic, Sinan Alimanovic/Zlatan Fazlic

Conductor: Sinan Alimanovic

There was a lot of international sympathy for Bosnia at the time which possibly translated into votes for some of the new country’s other entries. However, this is a rather non-descript song which passes by unnoticed. It was never likely to feature highly on the scoreboard. Davor hardly opened his eyes the whole time he was singing performance.

 Secret GardenSecret Garden Norway - Secret Garden - Nocturne (Norwegian)

Music/Lyrics: Rolf Lövland/Petter Skavlan

Conductor: Geir Langslet

Ireland may not have won the contest, but there was more than a hint of Irish about the song that did claim the prize. The group even borrowed a former member of the RTE concert orchestra to perform the main part of the song, the violin solo.

 Philipp KirkorovPhilipp Kirkorov Russia - Philipp Kirkorov - Kolybelnaya Dlya Vulkana (Russian)

Music/Lyrics: Ilya Reznyk/Igor Bershadsky

Conductor: Michael Finberg

The big man with the big voice and a sense of melodrama was the perfect performer for a song like this. There is no understatement here!

 Bó HalldórssonBó Halldórsson Iceland - Bó Halldórsson - Núna (Icelandic)

Music/Lyrics: Bó Halldórsson, Ed Welch/Jon Örn Marinosson

Conductor: Frank McNamara

There is a feeling that Bo’s beautiful ballad never quite takes off to achieve its full potential. Even so, it is still a very worthy entry and there is more than enough in the song to enjoy.

 Stella JonesStella Jones Austria - Stella Jones - Die Welt Dreht Sich Verkehrt (German)

Music/Lyrics: Michael W Krausz/ Michael Krausz

Conductor: Michael Keinzl

The Austrian entry is a jazz/funk number which is slightly messy, but welcome in a contest containing a lot of ballads. Perhaps expecting not to be involved at the end of the show, Stella appeared to be wearing pyjamas.

 Anabel CondeAnabel Conde Spain - Anabel Conde - Vuelve Conmigo (Spanish)

Music/Lyrics: Jose Maria Puron/Jose Maria Puron

Conductor: Eduardo Leyva

Spain should send a song like this every year! Anabel may have been small in stature, but her voice filled the auditorium. Her song is a smouldering fire of emotion. The Spanish delegation were delighted with the result and celebrated wildly afterwards.  

 Arzu EceArzu Ece Turkey - Arzu Ece - Sev (Turkish)

Music/Lyrics: Melih Kibar/Zeynep Talu Kursuncu

Conductor: Melih Kibar

The 1995 contest was bursting with ballads. Even the usually cheery Turks slowed down the tempo. The beginning of the song is better than bearable, but by the end, it sounds a bit laboured. 

 Magazin and LidijaMagazin and Lidija Croatia - Magazin and Lidija - Nostalgija (Croatian)

Music/Lyrics: Tonci Huljic/Vjekoslava Huljic

Conductor: Stipica Kalogjera

Soprano Lidija lent an operatic feel to Croatia’s entry, which also had a classical edge. It was classy, but possibly a bit too high brow to have a wide enough appeal.

 Nathalie SantamariaNathalie Santamaria

France - Nathalie Santamaria - Il Me Donne Rendez-vous (French)

Music/Lyrics: Francois Bernheim/Didier Barbelivien

Conductor: Michel Bernholc

Unusually, the French song is easily the most commercial of the contest. The employment of a very pretty singer certainly wasn’t going to hinder the chances of success, it very nearly worked.

 

 Czaba SzigetiCzaba Szigeti Hungary - Czaba Szigeti - Ùj Nèv Egy Règi Hàz Fàlan (Hungarian)

Music/Lyrics: Ferenc Balazs/Attila Horváth

Conductor: Miklós Malek

Hungarian isn’t the most attractive of languages, especially when sung in a croaky voice. This combination makes the song easy to underrate. Czaba’s tender, piano based ballad would have benefited from the free language rule that exists today.   

 Frédéric EtherlinckFrédéric Etherlinck Belgium - Frédéric Etherlinck - La Voix Est Libre (French)

Music/Lyrics: Pierre Theunis/Pierre Theunis

Conductor: Alec Mansion

Boasting several verses (or several choruses, depending on your point of view), Belgium’s song builds with each one, but lands just the wrong side of the border between dull and interesting. 

 Love City GrooveLove City Groove United Kingdom - Love City Groove - Love City Groove (English)

Music/Lyrics: Stephen Rudden, Catsiana Mais/Stephen Rudden, Catsiana Mais

Conductor: Mike Dixon

A musical first for the Eurovision Song Contest, rap music. It was a brave, but always doomed to fail, attempt. Rap music has limited appeal and a lot of jurors would not have been familiar with that genre anyway. 

 Tó CruzTó Cruz Portugal - Tó Cruz - Baunilha E Chocolate (Portuguese)

Music/Lyrics: Antonio Vitorino de Almelda/Rosa Lobato de Faria

Conductor: Thilo Krassman

Portugal’s contribution is a slow paced soul number appealing for racial harmony. Tó gave it his all, but looked a bit awkward as he swayed from side to side.

 Alexandros PanayiAlexandros Panayi Cyprus - Alexandros Panayi - Sti Fotia (Greek)

Music/Lyrics: Alexandros Panayi/Alexandros Panayi

Conductor: George Theophanous

Every contest needs an over the top piece of drama, and this year, it was provided by Cyprus. That said, Alex gave one of the best performances of the night. There are brief but impactful interjections from the backing singers and lots of sudden changes in intensity. 

 Jan JohansenJan Johansen Sweden - Jan Johansen - Se På Mej (Swedish)

Music/Lyrics: Hakan Almquist, Bobby Ljunggren/Ingela ‘Pling’ Forsman

Conductor: Anders Berglund

Every Swedish song seems to be in the shadow of Abba. Se På Mej is a world away from Waterloo, it is a slow, quiet number that never threatens to boil over. 

 Aud WilkenAud Wilken Denmark - Aud Wilken - Fra Mols Til Skagen (Danish)

Music/Lyrics: Lise Cabble, Mette Mathisen/Lise Cabble

Conductor: Frede Ewert

The Banjo made a rare and welcome appearance in the contest. That is the only interesting aspect about what is otherwise quite a dull effort! It lumbers along lifelessly. 

 Darja SvajgerDarja Svajger Slovenia - Darja Svajger - Prisluhni Mi (Slovenian)

Music/Lyrics: Primoz Peterca, Saso Fajon/Primoz Peterca

Conductor: Jozé Privsek

Prisluhni Mi is a graceful ballad of the type that has often been done well in contests past. It’s a bit ballad-by-numbers, but bears up well under multiple listens. 

 LioraLiora Israel - Liora - Amen (Hebrew)

Music/Lyrics: Moshe Datz/Hamutal Ben-Zeev

Conductor: Gadi Goldman

Perhaps determined to avoid relegation, Israel sent this uplifting anthem. Like all good anthems, it builds and builds to the big finish. Liora was rightly disappointed with 8th.

 Mike SpiteriMike Spiteri Malta - Mike Spiteri - Keep Me In Mind (English)

Music/Lyrics: Alfred Sant/Ray Agius

Conductor: Ray Agius

Soul is a genre not often heard in the contest. Malta’s effort wasn’t a disaster by any stretch of the imagination, and Mike’s gravelly voice suits the song well.

 Elina ConstantopoulouElina Constantopoulou Greece - Elina Constantopoulou - Pia Prossefchi (Greek)

Music/Lyrics: Nikos Terzis/Antonis Pappas

Conductor: Haris Andreadis

Elements of classical Greek culture are all over Pia Prossefchi. As a result, it is possibly one for aficionados only, but well worth a listen. 

Malta 2010 Eurosong semi finalists revealed.

Malta flag

After 122 songs were performed to an expert jury, Malta have selected 36 semi-finalists. The songs will be performed on the weekly PBS broadcasted show 'L-Isfida' hosted by Claudia Pace (Malta 2000). 6 songs will be presented each week from 9 December 2009

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