GĦANAFEST: Mediterranean sea – space for encounter
Today most urban centres look alike, everyone is wearing the same fashion and supermarkets stock ingredients from all continents. How do we deal with cultural identity in the age of globalisation? What makes us ‘Maltese’? ... Which are the authentic features? Luckily this is not such a dilemma for us because Malta benefits from a rich cultural backdrop. Malta is an island so anything we today recognise as being local actually came from somewhere else. This is an interesting phenomenon because Maltese culture is alike a mosaic composed of many different influences. A cultural attribute is introduced in the course of history, develops locally and eventually settles to become part of our heritage. The Maltese language is a good example of this process. So just as we’ve inherited a Semitic language, Neolithic temples and Baroque architecture, we also have għana (Maltese folksong) and traditional instruments.
The backbone of Għanafest is a showcase of Maltese folksong in all its different styles featuring around 50 għanneja (folk singers) and 20 guitarists. Besides Maltese folk music, the festival presents a programme of local musicians and ensembles. This category includes the Nisġa Project with an up-beat programme of World Music; Hamam led by Andrew Alamango with musicians from Malta, Italy and Turkey; Banda San Nikola of Siġġiewi with a selection of festive music which constitutes an important part of Malta’s music heritage. Three extraordinary international bands from Morocco, Greece and Madrid have been invited to participate in this year’s edition of Għanafest: Violinist Jamal Ouassini from Tangier (Morocco) is an international exponent of Arab-Andalusian music; Greekadelia duo will present an eclectic concert of folksong from the rural areas of Greece as well as live looping and electronic music arrangements; Zoobazar from Madrid, Spain is a powerful Mediterranean-fusion band with a music programme that shifts across various Mediterranean cultures, from Iberian folk to Balkan music, Turkish music, Middle Eastern traditional music, North African music, Flamenco as well as Rock, Funk and Jazz influences.
Għanafest proposes a Mediterranean sea for encounter to experience our own attributes transformed and manifested in other cultures.