• Scenic artist Carmel Said has had a remarkable career. From art studies in Malta he went on to obtain further art degrees in London where he worked his way up to become one of the finest scenic artists, producing incredible sets that are beautiful works of painting and sculpture for the biggest names in the industry. From Paris to New York, if you spot a beautiful shop window, say at Louis Vuitton or Dior, it is likely to have been produced by Scenic Sets, his busy London workshop which he founded as work increased in the 1980s and now employs family and other professionals to produce remarkable window displays, backdrops and props for films and adverts, for the most recognizable international brands.

  • Renzo Spiteri is a multi-percussionist, composer and improviser, a multimedia artist, a field recordist, sound designer, and arts collaborator. In essence he is a sound artist who seems to have no restrictions, such is his versatility and the extent of his experimentation. Literally every and any particular sound can be turned into music in his hands. His practice has taken him all over the world collaborating with persons working in all the arts, from the visual to the performative to the written word. He has set up arts organisations, he has directed music festivals, and has been invited to take up prestigious roles such as musician in residence at the Sonic Arts Research Centre. He has also been appointed National Ambassador to the European Union’s “Year for Intercultural Dialogue”. He has performed in major international festivals and venues, is a recording artist and has written music for film, dance companies, museums and art exhibitions.

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  • Dr Joan Abela is synonymous with archives. She is a well published historian who achieved distinction throughout her academic journey and now in turn fires up her students with enthusiasm for the past. She has wowed us with her many discoveries, her incredible, infectious passion for the past but most of all her almost militant attitude to combat neglect and defend archives and their collections with extraordinary zeal. Her conviction about preserving at all costs, in the face of a laissez-faire attitude when it comes to paper heritage, has grown and grown. Several have joined her crusade and she now counts on a team of volunteers and professionals who follow a common ideal that she has set. For her commitment to saving archives and preserving collections she has been honoured by the State and her name has become a household name thanks to her constantly finding ways to keep paper heritage in the news.

  • Nico Conti is a ceramic artist who is working clay in exciting, radical new ways. From his undergraduate days at MCAST in Malta to finishing top of his class at the Royal College of Art in 2019, he has continually excelled. In the short space of a few years he has won numerous prestigious awards and scholarships. He is represented by major galleries and has already exhibited in craft fairs where his work was singled out for praise. His name is now synonymous with 3d printing, but his work is rooted in tradition and Malta’s historical legacy, producing incredibly beautiful porcelain vessels that have this timeless, calm quality to them and an elegance that is classical.

  • Daniel Cilia is one of Malta’s foremost photographers. His artistry is much admired, going to great lengths not only to record what might soon disappear, but making seemingly impossible photographs that continuously elicit awe and wonder from his ever growing fan base. He is a Gozitan with a deep love for his birth island. Through his photography, and, it must be said, incessant curiosity he has made several discoveries and proposed theories about cultural conundrums. He has also increasingly turned his rightful indignation at the destruction of old buildings into activism, using his great skills in photography and digital art to show up the apologists and would-be destroyers. He has received numerous awards for his photography work both locally and abroad and has exhibited widely. He is also a book designer sometimes combining both his photography and his design skills in the production of a book. He has photographed for and designed a remarkable 136 books, with more in the works!

  • Rug and interiors designer Suzanne Sharp has had a very colourful career! Together with her husband, Christopher, she has risen to become one of the leading exponents in rug design internationally. Her roots are Maltese, and indeed the first shop that set the couple on their incredibly successful design path, was a shop they opened in Sliema. Since then they have never looked back, establishing the Rug Company and growing their business in several areas. From retailing traditional oriental rugs, they made the leap into designing artistic high-end carpets, as well as commissioning big name international artists and designers and expanding into tapestry design and more. Suzanne Sharp has in recent years turned increasingly to interior design, furniture and wallpaper design. She has also returned to her roots, turning a historic building into a unique hotel that is slated to open in 2023 in Attard, Malta.

  • Timmy Gambin is a maritime archaeologist and an associate professor at the Department of Classics and Archaeology at the University of Malta. His interest is specifically in wrecks that lie deep below Maltese waters - whether they are ancient or date to World War II you can be sure he has either discovered them or knows all there is to know about them. He has directed several underwater surveys not only in Maltese waters but also in Spain, Italy, Croatia and other parts of the Mediterranean but his passion remains the World War II period and he has indulged it by discovering and exploring wrecks of submarines, ships and aircraft from this time period. But perhaps his most exciting project to date is the ongoing excavation of the Phoenician shipwreck off Xlendi, Gozo which is currently considered the oldest shipwreck in the Central Mediterranean and for which, together with his team, he has pioneered new methodologies for excavating a wreck at a depth of over 100 meters, which is likely a world record.

  • Matty Cremona is an accomplished cook and food history writer. She has written four books and numerous articles about the history of food and the context of dining in Malta. Her knowledge of Malta’s food history, honed through years of research both in the archives and in her kitchen, has revealed new information and translated these old writings into modern-day doable recipes. The interest in food, what it means and how we prepared and ate it in the past, is universal. But Matty Cremona takes this interest to a new dimension. Her excitement at her subject enthuses all who listen to her. For those of us lucky enough to have actually tasted the food she prepares based on recipes she has discovered in the archives, the experience is exceptional. For those who cannot partake of her dishes, Matty’s books gently guide us on forays into the past while advising us how to recreate these recipes with ingredients easily at hand.

  • Anna Borg Cardona is a musician and music researcher whose eyes fire up with incredible excitement whenever she talks about the discoveries she keeps making in our many rich historic archives here in Malta. Through the decades she has discovered musicians and musical instrument makers from the past, she has uncovered and played long forgotten sheet music, and pieced together much of Malta’s rich ethnographic music history. She has lectured extensively at the University and delivered many public presentations, she has formed a musical ensemble to promote Malta’s musical heritage both locally and in performances overseas, and has published books on Maltese music history that have become landmark studies in the discipline. She has also curated exhibitions on musical instruments the most recent being the major Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti exhibition ‘Music in Malta: From Prehistory to Vinyl’ held in 2019 as well as publishing myriad articles, papers and studies that continue to build on our previously sketchy knowledge of the musical legacy of Malta.

    An excerpt from the following track can be heard in the podcast:

    ‘Ghana Melody’ played by the Ġukulari Ensemble, 2005 from the CD – Doqqli Daqqa! Traditional Music of the Maltese Islands. Copyright: Anna Borg Cardona

  • Prof. Joe Friggieri is a philosopher, a playwright, a theatre director, a poet and an author, not to mention a person who has been an influencer in the arts in Malta from decades before an influencer became ‘a thing’. He has packed all of this into a very industrious lifetime that commenced its academic trajectory with Ph.D.s from both Milan and Oxford, followed by a professorship at the University of Malta. On a parallel with his academic career, he has written and directed numerous plays, has penned several poems and short stories in Maltese, which have been translated into foreign languages, and have won a plethora of literary awards. He has presented and produced many radio and tv programmes with his characteristic lucid and accessible style bringing learned discussions ranging from history to language to philosophy to a wide audience in a most engaging way. For his many contributions to art and culture in Malta he has been honoured by the Maltese state and has been entrusted with a number of key positions related to culture due to his deep commitment to the arts.

  • Wayne Marshall is a conductor, pianist and organist of great international repute. He has performed widely in all of the principal concert halls and opera houses around the world, both as conductor and pianist, and sometimes simultaneously ! He is celebrated for his interpretation of Gershwin and Bernstein and other 20th century composers however his repertoire is actually far greater than that. His achievements have earned him numerous plaudits and earlier this year he was honoured with an OBE (that is an Officer of the British Empire) in Her Majesty The Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.

    Excerpts from the following music that you will hear throughout the podcast were played and recorded by Wayne Marshall:

    An Improvisation on The Lonely Goatherd

    Toccata Latino Improvisee

    Prelude in A Minor BWV 543 by J S Bach

  • In this podcast episode, we meet a knight! Frà John Edward Critien is a professed member of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and the only Maltese to have ever been elevated to the highest ranks of this International Order. For several years he lived in the Order’s Headquarters at the historic Palazzo Malta in Rome where he was Conservator of the Magistral Palace Library and Archives and Curator of the art collections of the Order. In 2000 he moved to Malta to take up residence at Fort Saint Angelo, where, to this day, he is the only Knight Resident occupying and caring for this incredible site, laden with history, overlooking the Grand Harbour of Malta. He has been received into various orders of chivalry and honoured with the award of several prestigious decorations from various States. He wears all this very lightly, and his warmth and charm, his welcoming nature and a charitable disposition shine through in this conversation.

  • Giovanni Bonello has distinguished himself in both culture and the law. In culture he has left an indelible mark in researching, discovering and publishing his countless finds. He has provided new angles on the history of art in Malta as well as writing about myriad aspects of Maltese history. He has also written about the law, both critiques of contemporary judgements as well as delving into aspects of legal and constitutional history. As a human rights lawyer in the 80s he was at the forefront of change, at difficult times where it took pluck to stand up and speak truth to power. He later took up a position as Judge at the European Court of Human Rights where his judgements, and particularly his separate opinions, were not just competent but groundbreaking. In sum, not only has he looked back and uncovered history, but he has also made history.

  • Kim Dalli is an actress who has worked as a journalist in real life, as well as inhabiting the role in Herman Grech’s recent play ‘They Blew Her Up’. Her love for writing has also been directed towards script-writing and in this podcast she tells us about a very special project she is currently working on that casts her in the multi-faced role of researcher, script-writer and actor.

    Kim is passionate about the history of women and is channeling this interest into the discovery of war-time Malta to bring these obscure characters to life onto our screens, reclaiming the plaudits they are long due. In this episode, Kim discusses the excitement of discovery in researching family papers and archives, the craft of the actor and the highs and lows experienced on stage.

  • Alex Camilleri is a Maltese-American film director who is particularly inspired by Malta and has set his debut film, LUZZU, in Malta. And what a film ! LUZZU became the first Maltese film to show at the highly prestigious Sundance film festival earning positive reviews. The lead actor, Jesmark Scicluna, a real life fisherman with no previous training in acting, won the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award in acting at Sundance. LUZZU has gone on to be selected for the New Directors/New Films and BFI London Film Festival. It has also made the longlist nomination for the European Film Awards and will be released theatrically in major territories around the world, including U.S.A, France, and the UK over the coming months. In this conversation, Alex talks about his career in the film industry, working his way up through the ranks until he managed to make a dream come through, setting his very own feature film in Malta. He talks about writing, directing and editing LUZZU, the challenges he overcame and tells us what it takes to create such a well-received feature film.

    Music credits towards the beginning of the podcast (from the LUZZU film score):
    Original Score Written, Recorded, and Mixed by Jon Natchez
    Violin: Paul Jacob Cartwright
    Harp: Mary Lattimore
    Cello: Ro Rowan

  • Richard England is embedded in the national psyche as the Starchitect from Malta. He has won several international awards for his architectural work. He has been honoured by States, by various Universities and by all of the important international architectural associations. But beyond architecture, which is perhaps his most public face, he is a man of many parts. In this podcast we discuss not only his iconic buildings but also his poetry, art, writings and his remarkable record collection as he reflects on a career that saw him working for, and rubbing shoulders with, the greatest creative minds of the time. We delve into spirit of place and spirituality but also look back at the 60s when an incredible grouping of artists and thinkers came together in Malta to create sparks that are still felt today.

  • Marquis Nicholas de Piro is the founder of the beautiful Casa Rocca Piccola House Museum in Valletta. He has opened his home to the public to share the many decades of shrewd art collecting. He was years ahead in recognising and appreciating various decorative art forms and unfashionable pieces of art well before others jumped onto the bandwagon. He was instrumental in the revival of the art of lacemaking by creating a competition for contemporary makers while collecting the very finest pieces of Maltese lace and historic costume to survive. As a founder member of Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti he has helped curate major Patrimonju exhibitions and sourced important artefacts for these exhibitions. Several publications that he has authored have become standard texts for art historians, such as the 1st and the entirely revised and expanded 2nd edition of 'The International Dictionary of Artists who Painted Malta'. Nicholas is also somewhat of a creative, penning novels and poetry which evoke nostalgia for the Malta of yesteryear.

  • Andrew Alamango is a musician and archivist who has been the driving force behind Etnika, the band that reworked Maltese folk music and got the younger generation dancing to its beat. He also set up Malta’s Lost Voices, to make the earliest recordings of Maltese music accessible to the public, as well as creating the Magna Zmien project which digitizes old photographs, audio and audio visual material from private collections before it is all lost. He breathes new life into these old records by making them accessible to artists and an appreciative public. In this podcast we talk history, identity, għana (traditional Maltese folk singing). We delve into the richness and diversity of the multi-cultural influences that mark out Maltese music and popular culture and how this can be presented to contemporary audiences.

  • Miriam Gauci is an outstanding Maltese soprano who made it big on the international stage. From her formative years at Milan’s La Scala she never looked back, appearing time and again in leading roles in all the major opera houses worldwide. She has worked with the world’s foremost conductors such as Claudio Abbado and Riccardo Muti and directors like Franco Zeffirelli and starred alongside the likes of Plácido Domingo. In this conversation with Fran Balzan, she opens up about the highs and lows of performing opera and gives us unique insights into the driving passion that fueled her decades-long career. Miriam Gauci has been honoured by both the Maltese and Italian republic.

    Punctuating this discussion are recordings of famous arias from the album ‘Soprano Arias from Italian Operas’ performed by Miriam Gauci. Alexander Rahbari conducts the Belgian Radio & TV Philharmonic Orchestra

  • Tuning in from leafy Surrey, we meet with Dr Kathrina Farrugia-Kriel, dance historian, academic and author. From her early days twirling around the dining room chairs, Kathrina’s love for dance has grown and grown. It has driven her to pursue her studies in the U.K. and to forge an academic career that not only saw her lecturing in the area of dance studies but also culminated in several publications and her present role as Head of Research within the Faculty of Education of the Royal Academy of Dance.