The Malta Independent 18 June 2019, Tuesday

Celebrating support through music

Tuesday, 2 October 2018, 10:48 Last update: about 10 months ago

As popular Maltese tenor Cliff Zammit Stevens prepares for his 10th anniversary concert, we speak with his special guest IRA LOSCO to find how she feels to be celebrating with Cliff and helping him support The Marcy Foundation.

If the nation were asked to choose two of Malta's musicians to share a stage, it's likely that many would combine the talents of international tenor Cliff Zammit Stevens and Malta's very own superstar, Ira Losco.

Fortunately, one such concert is soon to take place. Cliff will be performing his legendary annual concert outdoors at St George's Square in Valletta on 3 October and, since this year the concert will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of his career and the launch of The Marcy Foundation, he will be joined by Ira herself.


Collaborating with Cliff was an easy decision for Ira. "I am very happy to be involved. I find Cliff to be a very determined artist who knows how he wants to portray himself. There are various routes an artist can take in one's career and some decisions leave them with less money in their pockets but more passion in their soul. His personality truly comes through as an artist too."

Earlier this year, Cliff founded The Marcy Foundation in honour of his late mother Marcelline. It aims to provide comprehensive support and guidance to victims of domestic violence, drug abuse, mental health, HIV and child abuse, a cause that is also close to Losco's heart.

"To have a Foundation that lends support to so many people, who might be going through so much, is great. There is still so much more that we can do to raise awareness and fight the stigma that surrounds certain issues. The Marcy Foundation wants to do that. It's also personal for Cliff and that takes courage. It's inspirational, it's real and using music as a vehicle is a great platform for communicating the message."

The issues tackled by The Marcy Foundation were also the inspiration for the duo's collaboration on a new single, an updated arrangement of the Maltese classic song, Xemx, released last month with an accompanying music video.

"Cliff and I worked with Howard Keith Debono and Bettina Cassar from Jagged House Studios, thinking outside the box with an unusual production approach. We are normally accustomed to hearing a happy version of Xemx and it has been played many times, so it could have easily been overkill if we were to do it as it is normally done. There was a thought process behind this. The first half of the song depicts a rather atmospheric musical palette, until the song grows to reach a climax towards the end. I thought that worked brilliantly with the narrative and message the Marcy Foundation wanted to bring forward which becomes very clear in the music video." 

The new version of Xemx will be included in the anniversary concert's varied programme, which also features singles by Losco and makes the most of Zammit Stevens' extensive repertoire, all supported by the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by Mro Philip Walsh.

As Cliff and Ira worked on their collaboration for the concert and for Xemx, Ira found that combining their musical styles was easy. "We listened to each other and we were aware of course that we came from different music worlds, however the message we wanted to transmit was the same. We spoke the same language and ironically our voices in the recording studio matched.

"The concert is mostly Cliff's hard work, however, and it's his anniversary concert after all. But I'm so grateful to work with such a lovely person and for him inviting me as his special guest of honour. To be offered the chance to perform with Cliff and with the orchestra, for a great cause and in the beautiful setting of Valletta - how could I refuse?"

The Cliff Zammit Stevens 10th anniversary concert will take place 3 October in St George's Square, Valletta. It is supported by Valletta2018 and sponsored by Intercontinental Malta and BOV.

Tickets are now available at www. More information regarding The Marcy Foundation may be found by visiting or by searching for The Marcy Foundation on Facebook.


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