For its 20th edition, Għanafest 2018 was launched as part of the St.Gregory festivities in Żejtun. Għanafest is a festival that compiles local and foreign traditional music and singing with the aim of promoting local artists. The festival will be held in the recently renovated Argotti Botanical Gardens, hence keeping the festival’s original location. This year’s edition of Għanafest will be held on the 22nd and 23rd of June from 7pm onwards. On both nights, the programme includes a variety of għana and Maltese folk music. Like previous editions, the festival will be a fun environment for the whole family, as it includes local produce and artisan markets.

Artistic Director of the festival, Renzo Spiteri said: “I am very pleased to see that Għanafest is returning to Floriana’s Argotti Gardens. This festival has garnered its deserved attention not only because of its particular content, but also because of the wonderful atmosphere created within these beautiful gardens, Għanafest continues with its commitment to promote Maltese folk, singing to wider audiences while presenting an interesting mix of local singer/songwriters and folk artists from other countries”.

On the first night, the festival will feature vocalist Cheryl Balzan and guitarist and song writer Christian Tanti who will be performing new music from their upcoming album. Later on in the evening, an Irish Band will be performing, Kellys Heroes, whose repertoire includes Celtic tunes and songs, ballads, contemporary music as well as the band’s original material featuring an irish frame drum – bodhran.

The second night of the festival, as mentioned by the Director of Festivals Malta, Annabelle Stivala, will be featuring the Maltese quintet which combines Maltese literature and culture with their unique musical style. Afterwards, Seiva will be performing, a Portuguese folk trio featuring authentic rural music with an urban twist on Portuguese bagpipes and adufe (square drum), percussions, Braguesa, Cavaquinho and tambourine.

Like last year’s edition, the festival will be extending its activities to three different localities:

·        Qrendi will host Festa Agrarja and will showcase għana and folk music on the 27th June.

·        Buskett will host the festival as part of the Imnarja celebrations in the evening of the 28th and morning of the 29th June.

·        Birżebbuġa will host għana in the evening on the 29th of June.

Tickets for Għanafest 2018 on the 22nd and 23rd of June can be bought at the door for €5 per evening or there are also the block tickets for €8

 “Our islands are enriched with an abundant culture and heritage and Għanafest is a celebration of our musical folklore as a Mediterranean country. This year, Għanafest will be celebrated in a number of localities to promote an accessible and inclusive culture for all. Such festivals are constantly attracting new audiences and help increase appreciation towards Maltese musical and cultural traditions”.  – Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government – Hon. Owen Bonnici.

 “This year will see the launch of a three-year project with the music group SKALD, which will seek to present an innovative take on traditional Maltese folk music (għana). Poetry and music will be interlinked to create something new while still staying true to traditional roots. The project will essentially embrace the traditional with the contemporary. Festivals Malta will be investing in this project, aiming to nurture tradition, support emerging talent while making this tradition attractive to our younger audiences.” – Annabelle Stivala – Director Festivals Malta