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MUZIKA MUZIKA: what a success!

Owen Bonnici – (Minister for the National Heritage, the Arts, and the Local Government.)

The third edition of Mużika Mużika has come to a close, with SABIĦA, performed by Gianluca Bezzina, composed by Philip Vella, and written by Joe Julian Farrugia, being declared as the winning song.

Over the course of three spectacular nights of Maltese music, the festival drew in around 6,500 attendees and an impressive total of 300,000 viewers across the three shows. The final night, on Saturday 25 March, was an electrifying showcase of local talent, with SABIĦA ultimately taking home the top prize.

In addition to SABIĦA, there were other standout performances throughout the festival, including JEKK MHUX INT performed by Drakard and Lisa Gauci, written by Emil Calleja Bayliss and composed by Cyprian Cassar, which ranked second, and M’HAWNX BĦALEK, performed by Jasmine Abela, written by Philip Vella, and composed by Glen Vella, which ranked third. Congratulations to all the winners and participants! Your hard work and talent have brought pride to our country.

The festival also recognized Maestro Ryan Paul Abela for Best Musical Arrangement and Jasmin Abela for Best Interpretation.

The festival is a celebration of the beauty of the Maltese language, a unique and poetic language steeped in history and culture. The Maltese language provides a distinct and powerful tool for musical expression and cultural preservation. Through this festival, Festivals Malta is providing opportunities for local artists and composers to showcase their talent and contribute to the cultural landscape of Malta and Gozo.

I express my gratitude to everyone involved in making this event an unforgettable experience, especially Aaron Zahra, Annabelle Stivala, Ray Bugeja and Mro Paul Abela and all the hardworking team at Festivals Malta. The success of this edition of Mużika Mużika sets a high standard for future festivals, and we are determined to continue building on these achievements to provide extraordinary experiences for Maltese and Gozitan families, while also providing opportunities for our artists and composers. The future looks bright for the music and culture of Malta, and the Mużika Mużika festival plays a vital role in this exciting journey.


"The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see." - Winston Churchill and we shall never forget Freedom day.

Freedom Day is an important day in Malta's history, marking the end of over 150 years of British colonial rule on the island. The Maltese people had been demanding independence from the British since the 1930s, and this movement only grew stronger after World War II. In 1964, Malta was granted independence, but the British retained control of the island's defence and foreign affairs.

However, the Maltese people did not give up their fight for true independence and self-determination. It was in 1979 when the last British military forces left the island, marking the true end of colonial rule. The Maltese people played a crucial role in achieving this goal through their persistent activism and political engagement.

One key figure in Malta's struggle for independence was Prime Minister Dom Mintoff. Mr Mintoff played a significant role in the negotiations that led to Malta's independence, and he was instrumental in securing the departure of the British military. His bravery and determination in fighting for Malta's independence and standing up to the British authorities cannot be forgotten.

Mr Mintoff believed in the power of government to create a more equitable society and was deeply committed to the idea of social justice. He saw this as the key to achieving a fairer and more prosperous Malta. Mintoff was also defender of civil liberties and freedom of speech, critical of colonialism and imperialism, and believed that Malta should be free to chart its own course without interference from external powers.


An agreement has been signed between PBS Ltd and GO plc, ensuring that every Maltese and Gozitan citizen has basic access to local free to air television without payment. This agreement is aimed at supporting and extending transmission services through aerial, providing an inclusive and coherent plan for families and individuals to continue to enjoy their right to access to free to air television.

As part of the agreement, GO plc will provide technical infrastructure for this service for the next 10 years, with an investment of 1.5 million euros. This agreement comes after a recent qualitative research exercise aimed at establishing the current use of the traditional "aerial" service by various families and individuals. The long-term plan for the coming years is being realized through this agreement.

Over 4,000 families stated during the research exercise that they make use of the aerial service to watch free-to-air channels. More than half of these families reported that they make use of the aerial service together with other services. The "free-to-air" service is essential as it continues to provide access to news, information, programs, and entertainment from local free-to-air channels to individuals who, for various reasons, do not have access to other services.

As a Government we recognize the importance of supporting this public service, which guarantees universal access for everyone without exclusion and with a diversity of local station programming. PBS Ltd will remain the operator for this "free-to-air" service on UHF Channel 43, which requires local station "multiplex" service to enjoy the status of a general interest objective (GIO). There are a total of eight local stations.

Recent changes have been made in the existing network to ensure the sustainability of the service in the coming years without interruption. The Maltese Government remains committed to ensuring that every citizen has access to this essential service, promoting equality and inclusivity for all.

We remain dedicated to working hard for all the Maltese and Gozitan people, ensuring that we are always of service to them. Our commitment to providing access to essential services and promoting equality and inclusivity for all remains steadfast. We will continue to listen to the needs of our citizens, adapting and evolving to ensure that we are meeting their needs in the most effective and efficient way possible. As a government, our top priority is always the well-being of our people, and we will work tirelessly to ensure that every citizen has access to the services they need to thrive.


We also announced a €6 million investment in the acquisition of band club properties which are under threat of eviction due to rent laws in towns and villages across Malta and Gozo. This initiative is aimed at protecting the long-standing cultural significance of band club traditions, which are an important part of our country's heritage.

As part of this initiative, the Government has reached an acquisition agreement with six club premises owners, including the Stella Maris Band Club in Sliema, the Anici Banda & Social Club in Ħal Qormi, the Socjeta Fil. GM Fra Antoine De Paule Banda Kristu Re in Paola, Circolo San Giuseppe Sagra Familja in Kalkara, La Stella Levantina in Ħ'Attard, and the Marija Regina Band Club in Marsa. The acquisition process for the Stella Maris Band Club has already been concluded, while regarding the others, the promise of sale has either been signed or is in the process of being signed.

We are committed to protect band clubs, recognizing their social and cultural importance in our communities. This commitment has been demonstrated through various means, including financial support through particular schemes and the acquisition of club premises to ensure long-term tenancy.

While we are determined to assist band clubs, it is also very important to protect its own interests and obtain a fair return on its investment. We will continue working to promote a social element within band clubs, strengthening community-led initiatives aimed at inclusion, learning, and preserving traditional skills related to village feasts.

To ensure consistency and immediate attention to this initiative, the Band Club Management Board, led by James Pearsall, has been established within Arts Council Malta to manage the affairs related to those acquired premises. We will continue negotiating with other band clubs that are similarly facing the threat of eviction.

Overall, this investment in band club properties reflects the Government's commitment to preserving Malta and Gozo's cultural heritage and supporting community-led initiatives for the long term.

The Maltese festa is a celebration steeped in tradition and cultural significance, and it is heartening to see so many individuals committed to preserving and promoting our traditions. Maltese people have remained resolute in their dedication to upholding their cultural heritage. As we look towards the future, we must continue to work hard to ensure that these invaluable traditions are passed down to future generations, so that they too may experience the joy and wonder of the Maltese festa.


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