A pan-continental folk song festival | Ghanafest 2012

Between June 8-10, the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts will present a concert series of Mediterranean folk roots at 19:00 at the Argotti Gardens, Floriana.

This year's edition of Ghanafest will feature a plethora of musicians from the Mediterranean region.
This year's edition of Ghanafest will feature a plethora of musicians from the Mediterranean region.

Maltese għana (Maltese folksong), as well as music from Morocco, Greece and Spain come together for Għanafest 2012.

The festival will also host a series of workshops on traditional instruments and a special programme for children. The event, which is ideal for the whole family, will be complemented by traditional Maltese food and the marvellous surroundings of the Argotti Botanical Gardens in Floriana.

Għanafest offers a unique opportunity to experience the different styles of għana. 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, Middle Eastern influences, Flamenco, Jazz and local traditional instruments. Another ethnic combo is Hamam, led by Andrew Alamango featuring musicians from Malta, Italy and Turkey. This year's programme will also present a selection of Marċi tal-Festa which constitute 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.

He is also the director of the 'Orchestra Arab-Andalusa' of Tangier which has been invited to perform in major festivals around the world. Greekadelia duo presents an eclectic concert of folksong from the rural areas of Greece to live looping and electronic music arrangements. The programme includes Greek laouto performance, ethnic chants, Thracian and Macedonian upbeat dances, archaic love songs from Asia Minor and harsh tunes of the mountainous areas of Epirus, Roumeli and Peloponnesus.

Zoobazar from Madrid, Spain is a powerful Mediterranean-fusion band. They are known for their strong live concerts that involve the audience with a vibrant performance. Their programme does not focus on one music tradition but 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.

The cultural unit within the Ministry for Gozo is collaborating with the Council for Culture and the Arts to host a programme in Gozo. This is an opportunity to extend Għanafest and create a new platform for the festival - which concludes today at Victoria, Gozo.

The Malta Council for Culture and the Arts is also collaborating with MCAST to endorse a public art-piece in relationship to Għanafest. As part of a study unit related to site-specific public art, MCAST Institute of Art & Design fine arts students are working on an assignment entitled 'Għeruq' (Roots), and inspired by the various elements embodying this year's festival - colours and forms, culinary traditions, folklore and music. The students started this 16-week task by researching the various cultures represented in this year's festival.

They then proceeded with creating original public art which will be exhibited in St Anne Square (corner between Tower Road and the Strand) in Sliema in the coming days. This collaboration is also supported by the Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs.

Tickets for the festival are at €3 (one day) and €7 (block ticket) and can be purchased at the door. Parking available at the Floriana Boy Scouts headquarters, right next to the venue. For more information log on to: www.maltafolkmusicfestival.org, www.maltaculture.com.