Updated | Valletta becomes Capital of Culture to crashing percussion

Parliamentary Secretary Jose Herrera officially announced Valletta as European Capital for Culture this morning.

teodor_reljic
Teodor Reljic
18 May 2013, 12:00am
Parliamentary Secretary for Culture Jose Herrera officially designates Valletta as European Capital of Culture 2018 at the Chamber of Commerce, Valletta this morning. Photo: Omar Camilleri/DOI.
Parliamentary Secretary for Culture Jose Herrera officially designates Valletta as European Capital of Culture 2018 at the Chamber of Commerce, Valletta this morning. Photo: Omar Camilleri/DOI.


Against the background of loud percussion and jamming - courtesy of tribal fusion band Tribali, promoting their participation at this year's edition of the Earth Garden festival - Valletta officially became European Capital for Culture in 2018 this morning.

In a press event held at the Chamber of Commerce in Valletta preceded by an improvisational percussion session by Tribali, Parliamentary Secretary for Culture and Local Councils Jose Herrera, together with V18 Chairman Jason Micallef, formally announced Valletta as European Capital for Culture in 2018.

Addressing the press, Herrera said: "First of all, I'd like to make one thing clear - the political influence on the arts needs to be kept at arm's length. The artistic programme directors have been reassured that we will not interfere with their work in the slightest."

Herrera recounted a conversation he had with Capital of Culture representatives abroad, emphasising that certain standards will have to be met, an assessed from time to time, in order for Valletta to retain the title. Herrera also said that Valletta 2018 will be bolstered by several notable, upcoming anniversaries related to V18.

"So it would be a good idea, I think, to 'hurry along' and take advantage of these events too. This only helps to strengthen the 'branding' of Valletta.

"We need to continue perpetuating this momentum. Because it helps us from the point of view of tourism and the economy. But not only - culture is also about ensuring and enhancing quality of life.

"So it looks as though Malta will have a lively near future ahead of it, and I'm proud and confident that w e will make this work."

Herrera then proceeded to sign the document that secured Malta's status as European Capital for Culture in 2018.

Praising Tribali's earlier performance in which all instrumnets were created from recycled materials, Herrera said: "What you're doing is very commendable, and it's great that you're involving the community. Tribali are always excellent anyway!"

On his part, V18 chairman Jason Micallef said: "Today we all have a smile on our faces - Valletta is no longer a candidate city as Capital for Culture."

Micallef credited the team behind V18 for making this possible, while also emphasising that the community needs to be involved in the process.

"Creativity is important. But so is 'simplicity'. We're going to listen to all the citizens of Valletta - even those from vulnerable, or less priviledged backgrounds."

Herrera and Micallef were in Brussels earlier this week to formalise Valletta's acquisition of the coveted title, which it won back in October 2012.
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Teodor Reljic is MaltaToday's culture editor and film critic. He joined t...