It had been a while since Etnika's last release - about eight years or so, in fact - but, further to a string of local and foreign gigs in the past couple of years that helped kickstart a new chapter in the band's journey, the Maltese world music act is finally back with a new single. Maddalena is a song about unrequited love, written by Carlo Satariano in 1931 as part of the first series of Maltese HMV gramophone discs recorded in Milan and published by Anthony D'Amato.
The original recording was also featured in Filfla Records' Malta's Lost Voices project, a labour of love that breather new life, and interest in the music released in Malta back in the day. The original music, composed by Vincenzo Ciappara, accompanies a humorous story which became so popular that it was eventually reissued on 45rpm vinyl in the 1960s, and aired regularly on the national radio, consolidating Maddalena in the memory of the people.
Etnika's interpretation of the song takes a more subdued and melodic approach to the original. Dispensing with its narrative interludes and creatively re-imagining its musical component, this version is a more defined composition, embellished with a brooding rhythmic arrangement and practically transforms it into a new song altogether that certainly references the 'tripfolk' tag which the upcoming album's title carries. Marvellous indeed!