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Stars by the water

A star-studded line-up interpret the Maltese rock classic Down by the Water by The Characters in its Maltese version under the title Fejn il-Baħar

As the pizzicato gains momentum, in comes the double bass, backed by other string, woodwind and percussion instruments, serving as an apt prelude for the chorus of 17 passionate voices. This was last year’s moving arrangement of the Maltese classic Kemm Hu Sabiħ, performed alongside the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO).

Prompted by its success – the mesmerising video surpassed 15,000 views – the Malta International Arts Festival has again teamed up with the MPO, this time to present another music video of the classic Down by the Water by The Characters in its Maltese version under the title Fejn il-Baħar. The music arrangement as well as Maltese lyrics are by Kris Spiteri, featuring 10 local singers, MPO musicians, and session musicians.

It was Spiteri who came up with the idea of Down by the Water, but Ruben Zahra, MIAF Artistic Director and one of the brains behind the video concept initially had his doubts: “I was thinking of going for an older classic,” he confides. But no sooner had he heard the song that he was positively persuaded. Nothing done well comes without hard work and Ruben reveals how Spiteri “must have sketched around six different versions” for musical ideas. “But,” he notes, “it was worth the effort because his final arrangement is truly beautifully crafted.”

As the second music video for MIAF, Zahra reveals this is potentially the start of a new trend, where he wishes to propose a new arrangement for each edition of the festival. “This project ticks many different boxes: it’s a stand-alone artistic project, but it’s also a great way of engaging new audiences and promoting the visibility of the festival.”

Zahra is highly secretive of what this year’s video will look like. “No hints!” he quips mischievously, yet concedes he is “very happy with the result” and that he simply wants viewers “to experience the video without any spoilers”.

Audiences can watch the video on the 28th of June at 8.30PM on the MIAF website. For more information about MIAF 2021, click HERE.

All photo by Ruben Zahra


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