Maltese band *etnika are the true pioneers of local roots music with a multifaceted project nearly 20 years in the making. Several reincarnations later, the band managed to reinvent themselves and their sound that embodies “a sense of being Maltese that pushes the boundaries of identity” – Alex V.G. (Times of Malta).

*etnika followed a trail of fascinating archival and field research, unearthing and rescuing long forgotten instruments, exotic melodies and genres from the verge of extinction and gave them a place within the contemporary context. Infusing a new life into these dusty treasures provided a sense of relevancy and pride for the local roots music creating “a fascinating mix of the traditional with the contemporary that feels timeless" – Alex V.G. (Times of Malta).

Experimenting with the lyrics from the 1930s recordings, traditional għana songs, folk rhymes and popular tunes, the band use some of the remaining local instruments and techniques creating “some of the most interesting and challenging music you are likely to hear” – Jim Foley ( Tambur, żummara, bijambo, żafżafa and flejguta, as well as the effected guitars, retro-futuristic synths, unconventional percussion and footwork, deep, groovy bass, raspy sax and haunting whispery vocals.

*etnika's unlikely mix of artists and instruments that create a unique ‘tripfolk’ sound, featuring striking arrangements of melancholic island melodies and high energy dance, took them touring internationally from the Sydney Opera House, to Washington DC via Montreux Jazz Festival and numerous high profile performances in London, Rome, Berlin, Athens and 15 other countries. Etnika are officially launching the Music in Malta – From Prehistory to Vinyl project with a specifically curated performance at Teatru Manoel.​

Etnika performed on Friday 30th November 2018 at Teatru Manoel.​

This performance is supported by Valletta 2018 European Capital of Culture.​​
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Photos: Lisa Attard
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