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The Place

Fort St. Elmo


7pm - 1am

Island Roots – 7pm
Mana Tapu – 8:15pm
The Rifffs – 9:30pm
The Selecter – 10:45pm
Bass Culture – 00:15am

Ska and Reggae both originated in Jamaica, with the former preceding the latter by a decade. The 1968 single, “Do the Reggay” by Jamaican musical group Toots and the Maytals was the first popular song to use the word “reggae,” giving rise to a style of music which today has a global audience. This year, for Notte Bianca we have a healthy dose of both genres with famed band The Selecter headlining the stage.

And while we’re on the subject of peace and love, tonight’s venue, St. Elmo, is very appropriate because it has seen its fair share wars over the centuries. It remains best known for its role in the Great Siege of Malta of 1565.

The Selecter need little introduction for ska enthusiasts. The 2 Tone ska revival band from Coventry, England, formed in mid-1979. They took their name from the Jamaican word for DJ, “selecter”. The band were one of the most successful ska bands of the 2 Tone era, with the voice of lead singer, Pauline Black, considered to be “the best voice that ever graced a 2-Tone release”.  The Selecter had several top forty singles in the British charts, and especially with their 1979 hit single, ‘On My Radio’.

Island Roots are a fresh local band with a singer hailing from the UK and having  been immersed in the British Ska scene for a number of years so expect a traditional sound bringing an energetic Ska vibe with a hint of reggae and Rocksteady with a Jazz twist. Influenced by bands such as Toots and the Maytals, The Skatalites and the legendary Prince Buster, Island Roots deliver an authentic uplifting performance.

Manatapu is a eclectic Maltese band that have been together since 2010. It is impossible not to be affected by their live sound, which has roots in reggae and ska, but also harbours influences as diverse as funk, blues, punk, and even some latino vibes. Collectively the band is quite polyglottal and this is reflected in their lyrics which they sing in Maltese, English, Spanish and French. This year they gave us the irresistible hit, ‘Mur Imma Mur’.

The Rifffs are an eight-piece Maltese ska band that exploded into the local music scene in 198o’s with their debut single ‘Dance Music for the 80s Depression’. That song was played by the world famous DJ John Peel and also charted in the British Alternative charts. Once you hear that song you can never forget it and in fact it is considered a timeless classic. It is a good introduction to their music which is always compelling and enjoyable.

Bass Culture, who started in October 2013, say they’re in it for the good vibes, the powerful bass vibrations, the smiles, the energy of the people, the sweet Reggae rhythms, the dance, and the positive message. And who are we to complain? Their events feature the mighty Island Rockers Sound System – Malta’s first and only Reggae oriented, custom, home-built, sound system, built and run by Mark Agius.

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About Notte Bianca

Notte Bianca is Malta’s biggest annual arts and culture festival. For one special night every October, Notte Bianca lights up the Valletta cityscape with a spectacular celebration that is open to the public free of charge.

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