Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici has launched the 12th consecutive edition of Għanafest during San Girgor festivities happening in iż-Żejtun. Festivals Malta, which falls within the Ministry for Justice Culture and Local Government, is once again investing in San Girgor Festivities, a traditional event which highlights Għana.
“Għanafest is a celebration of local and Mediterranean heritage and this Festival is a prime platform for Maltese folk musicians and singers to expose their talents to wider audiences,” stated Minister Bonnici during the launch. “It is through such initiatives that we can further promote local talent, whilst ensuring that the culture and artistic sector is accessible to all by including activities which can be truly appreciated by our young ones as well,” he continued. “ Our goal is to keep on strengthening this sector, which plays an intrinsic part in our local product as a society and this is possible thanks to such initiatives of this calibre.”
“Festivals Malta is committed to support and encourage the revival of traditional local music by fostering an environment that harnesses a creative and artistic dialogue between the past, present, and future of this art form,” said Festivals Mata Director, Annabelle Stivala. She also explained that the investment in Għanafest is not Festivals Malta’s only contribution; another project that Festivals Malta started two years ago is a collaboration with emerging local talent – Skald. Moreover, Għanafest also embraces foreign folk artists, the likes of Sherazade an Algerian singer and The Travellers a local band who celebrate the Maltese Language.
This year Għanafest welcomes Tiziana Calleja who has recently been appointed Artistic Director. She brings with her a new vision linking old, new and contemporary elements to this unique festival.
“My vision for this year is to contribute to the revival of Maltese heritage by blending it with current cultural trends,” explained Tiziana Calleja. This year’s festival, held at Argotti Gardens, will be exploring new ways to promote the rich Maltese cultural heritage. Further to the traditional segments of għana, this year, the main stage will host Skald, Mistura and The Travelers. For the main stage Għanafest have also invited Sherazade et Lavion Rose – a French folk group who are being brought to Malta in collaboration with the French Embassy.
Another interesting part of this year’s Għanafest will be, without a doubt, the gastronomy. This year, Festivals Malta has roped in the Mediterranean Culinary Academy, who will be holding interactive live cooking sessions, where the chefs will be demonstrating how to cook and present indigenous Maltese Fish.
Additionally, Traditional Maltese ‘Aljotta’ prepared by the fishermen’s wives will be served to the public to taste. Traditional children’s games will provide children with an alternative play area, exposing Għanafest’s younger audience to a different kind of playtime that kids today are not accustomed to but may be closer to home for their parents and their grandparents. Għanafest will also feature storytelling in the original dialect in the literary corner, which will also include a live ‘radju dramm’ that will surely take visitors a trip down memory lane.
As in previous editions, Għanafest will also host typical Maltese artisans who will not only be demonstrating their products but will also provide the opportunity for visitors to learn the craft first hand.
The 12th edition of Għanafest will be held on the 21st and 22nd of June, at Argotti Gardens in Floriana.