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Reaching for the stars..........Rock/Metal Eurovision winners, hopefuls, and the Maltese connection!

I start this off with a confession. I am not a Eurovision buff, so any mistakes are due to my gross ignorance on the subject and are regretted.


For most people I know, rock/metal and the Eurovision are in a love/hate relationship, while others state that they do not follow the event, yet somehow end up commenting on it. Like every issue where Malta is concerned, the majority treat it as a crusade and get very hot under the collar when the voting ends............neighbours, bloody neighbours.


The European Aspect..................


One of the first bands to fit in the rock/metal equation that participated in the festival was the Norwegian glam metal band Wig Wam, way back in 2005. The Nordic countries seem to have an affinity with exporting their bands to the Eurovision and in 2008 it was Finland’s time with Terasbetoni.


In 2006, Finnish metal band Lordi, drew first blood and won the Eurovision with their song ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’. This caused quite a stir but was very well received. Lordi performed this song as part of their set at their concert at Aria Complex on 31st March 2023. This was their first time performing in Malta.


In 2009, Alexander Ryback, who represented Norway, won that year’s edition with a metal sounding song entitled ‘Fairytale’. He made a comeback in 2011 fronting the band Keep of Kalessin.


In 2018, metal / post-hardcore band, AWS represented Hungary. Unfortunately, Ors Siklosi, their front man, passed away in February 2021 at 29 years of age. A year later, in 2019, Iceland were represented by techno-punks Hatari. In 2021 Finland were represented by nu-metalers Blind Channel but the year will remain synonymous with the Italian rock band Maneskin, who triumphed with their song ‘Zitti e Buoni’. Attempts to tarnish Maneskin’s reputation with allegations that they were sniffing cocaine in the green room failed miserably. Like their front man, Damiano David, rightly exclaimed: “Rock ‘N Roll never dies!”


The local aspect.................


Malta has never won the Eurovision Song Contest............ or as some say, we were cheated out of winning the contest.......... Also, our country was never represented by a metal band per se, the closest association being pop-rock and soft-rock. Digging deep enough one can find that some of the singers that represented Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest have a background in the local rock and metal scene. Let’s start chronologically.


In 1991, Paul Giordimaina and Georgina won the Malta Song for Europe, and the right to represent Malta, with their song ‘Could It Be’. Georgina Abela (nee’ Sammut), way back in 1984, fronted hard-rock band Overdose, replacing their singer, Miriam Spiteri.


In 1993 it was William Mangion’s time to triumph with his song ‘This Time.’ Mangion started his career in the 1970’s fronting bands such as Slug and Split. In the 1980’s he joined Exit and after Getting Closer, who he left in 1992 to pursue a carrier as a solo artist.


In 1994 it was the turn of Moira Stafrace and Christopher Scicluna to win with their song ‘More Than Love.’Personally, I consider this as one of my all time favourite entries. This rock ‘n roll couple formed their duo in the 90’s, working under the name of Chris & Moira. Sadly, Chris passed away in February 2022. Moira keeps the flame alight with her participation in selected events.


Mike Spiteri triumphed in 1995 with the song ‘Keep me in Mind.’ Spiteri has fronted rock groups since the 1970’s and made his presence noticed during the 1980’s with bands such as Stratkast and Mirage, prior to following a career as a solo artist.


One of Malta’s most beloved singers (with a connection to the metal scene) to represent Malta in the Eurovision is Ira Losco. She participated twice, namely in 2002 with ‘7th Wonder’, placing 2nd (Malta’s best ever result, together with Chiara’s 2005 entry ‘Angel’), and in 2016 with ‘Walk on Water.’ Ira Losco fronted local rock band Tiara before launching her solo career. Another connection, may seem a bit far-fetched, but notwithstanding exists. Ira Losco features as guest artist on, (local black metal band) Martyrium’s 2002 album, entitled Withering In Voluptuous Embrace. Precisely on track 7 – ‘Promises.’


The same track features also an appearance by Marvic Lewis, known also as Indigo, of Indigo-Darkpsych fame. Though never winning the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, Marvic has participated several times, both as a solo artist and in duet with her sister Olivia Lewis, who triumphed in 2007 with the song ‘Vertigo.’


What’s next............


Metal hopefuls, in 2023’s edition, will be rooting for German industrial metal band Lord of the Lost, with their song ‘Blood & Glitter.’ They too have a connection to Malta as they participated in 2019’s edition of the Dark Malta Festival.


This year the Maltese shall be rooting for The Busker, who won the Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2023, with their song ‘Dance (Our Own Party)’.


Best of luck from melodija.eu team.


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1 Comment


Cedric Debono
Cedric Debono
May 12, 2023

As far as I'm concerned, I'll be more than pleased if Lord of the Lost take the win. They're a great band with a commanding stage presence and a well-written song with a relatable message.


That said, given my musical preferences, I'll be rooting for Voyager first :-)


I think one day we will get to a point where Malta will be willing to take a chance on a less mainstream genre for the Eurovision. The fact is that Eurovision is a show for the masses, so the entry needs to have elements of mass appeal. If the artist is able to strike the right balance between contributing their unique style and pleasing the masses, kudos to them.

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