The Malta Independent 23 January 2020, Thursday

Etnika To perform in Greece

Malta Independent Saturday, 14 July 2007, 00:00 Last update: about 14 years ago

Etnika will be participating in the Icarus Festival for Dialogue between Cultures being held on 22 July – a festival that takes place every summer on the Greek island of Ikaria in the North-east Aegean Sea.

This festival identifies with the myth of Icarus who dared to soar over frontiers in a flight for freedom at any price.

This festival invites artists who incorporate elements of other cultures in their music, thus extending themselves, opening up, studying and therefore loving something beyond their own selves. This musical cultural dialogue is also open to those who link the present and the past or any historical or diverse artistic expression that emerges from this same geographical place.

The organisers believe that in order to open up dialogue one has to have the ability to appreciate and know one’s own culture. The Festival usually prefers artists with original work.

In this respect, Etnika “bow” towards folk music and then go beyond it playing Malta’s ancient and disappearing melodies. They establish their relevance in a contemporary context using a creative approach and focusing on a vivid performance.

Their music is a fascinating mix of the cultures that have affected the history of Malta throughout the ages: Arabic, Italian, Sicilian, British and their own exuberant creativity.

Band leader Andrew Alamango says the music combines influences from the many civilisations that have ruled the Maltese, from the Phoenicians to the British Empire.

“We come from a culture which was hijacked and colonised by so many other cultures that people came and went and always left a piece of themselves,” says Andrew. “There was always this rural culture that existed but was never intellectual enough to develop a repertoire. So this is what Etnika is concerned with, taking that which is a recognizable tradition, and giving it a new function, or at least a new meaning, in a totally contemporary context. Otherwise, these things which we call tradition which are usually associated with things in the past, just remain in books and documents. And they just don’t make sense to who we are and what we do today.”

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