Gigs, exhibtions and festivals may be cancelled indefinitely, but that hasn’t stopped some of Malta’s most creative minds from coming together and spreading some proper good vibes in the midst of all this chaos.
It all started just a couple of days ago with Djun, one of the local alternative scene’s sweethearts.
On Easter Sunday, the band shared a video of guitarist Ryen Refalo and singers Justin Galea and Lara Micallef performing their song Ħdejk, “recorded with limited means between Xgħajra, Attard and Rome”.
“If you’ve been tagged, record and share your own version of the chorus and tag three people who you miss… or who you know can’t sing and will make a fool of themselves,” the band quipped. “Let’s spread the good vibes as if they were this damn virus.”
Sharing the chords, lyrics and original version of the song, Djun put the whole thing up on Facebook and hoped for the best. But what quickly followed was much, much better.
Within 24 hours, Maltese singers, artists and even non-musical fans of Djun quickly joined the movement, sharing their different versions of the song and tagging the friends and fellow musicians they’d been missing.
Artists who would normally never find themselves collaborating were soon tagging each other, encouraging each other to share their own versions, and celebrating everyone’s unique interpretation.
And whether that meant a full violin cover, a DJ mash-up or an acapella rendition in bed, it all quickly showed up online.
Here are just some highlights.
Lovin Malta reached out to Djun, who are still surprised at how much the trend quickly caught on.
“The feedback so far has been amazing,” Charles Cassar said. “Some of the interpretations have been incredibly creative.”
“Ħdejk is about the highs and lows of sharing life with someone, and we felt it was particularly appropriate during these times of social isolation,” Charles continued. “Paul had the idea of the chain-post, which we felt was a great way of staying connected with our audience in spite of the current limitations.”
“And a great way of staying connected with each other!” Paul Torpiano interjected, smiling. “We haven’t met as a band in ages, of course.”
“It was an opportunity for us to reduce boredom and motivate whoever might’ve been feeling a bit lonely,” Justin Galea elaborated. “There’s a lot of musicians like us who have been feeling down because they’ve had to completely stop playing.”
“Quarantine has also helped slow down the usually fast-paced life, so I think that’s why there were so many people who were suddenly willing to get out of their comfort zone and start experimenting.”
“It was also a great opportunity for Malta’s musical community to kind of ‘check in’ on each other,” Justin finished. “For example we all hadn’t seen Zizza on a guitar for a very long time.”
That’s Mark Abela, who everyone affectionately calls iz-Zizza. Having contributed a great deal to the local scene both with his band Brodu and with Djun themselves, Zizza moved abroad some months ago, leaving a big gap in many people’s ears and hearts.
“Besides, Ċimiterju [a Brodu song that Zizza mashed into his Ħdejk cover] is the best thing this country has ever produced, so the mash-up is very flattering,” Charles continued.
Earlier today, Djun took to Facebook to thank everyone for the amazing feedback… and potentially teased something new.
“When we semi-jokingly started the ‘chain post’ of Ħdejk last Sunday, we could’ve never dreamt of the incredible feedback we got,” the band said. “We’ve had everything; soloists, new groups, guitarists, violnists, bassist, iz-Zizza, someone playing the piano only using the middle finger, women, men, children, jazz, folk and whatever that was that Delli did. And more new and creative interpretations keep coming in right now!”
“What we’d wish, if you’d like, is for whoever did a version to leave a copy here,” the band added, leaving a link for a shared Google Drive.
“Yes, we will eventually share them with our autocractic overlords,” Charles told Lovin Malta.
“We might even put together dodgy deepfakes. That’s probably a joke.”