Just a few weeks before the start of the IV International Forum and ethno-art and music festival “Without Borders“, MIKA has the pleasure to meet up with Walter Vella, one of the very talented musicians in TRANIA (Malta). Trania is the result of an artistic collaboration between musicians Walter Vella (saxes and flutes), Joseph Camilleri (percussion), Mark Attard (keyboards) and Nadine Axisa (vocals). With their vast musical experience and exposure, ranging from Rock to Reggae to World Music and Jazz, the TRANIA musicians believe that contemporary Maltese ethnic/folk music should not be confined within the island’s borders for its inspiration. North African, Middle Eastern and Sicilian sounds have a heavy presence in their music, and the combination of these gives Trania a very distinct musical identity.
With no doubt TRANIA will be one of the most interesting artists that are joining the music festival “Without Borders” that will take place this year between 13 and 15 September in the resort “Albena“, Bulgaria
MIKA talks with TRANIA’s saxes and flutes artist Walter Vella.
Hi there! Tell us a little more about you and how you got involved with music in the very beginning. What fascinated you about music?
I have been involved with music since my teens, which seems quite a while ago now. My first performance band was a soul band and we played for the British services mainly. I joined several rock/funk bands after that and a successful folk group touring mainland Europe. I played professionally in Scandinavia for a while until I came back to Malta and got involved in jazz and then ethnic music, playing with several top performers in both genres. At that time I performed regularly abroad in Europe, U.S. and Asia. I recorded several albums with other performers and produced another two albums myself. It was only natural that I form my own band with my ideas and Trania was born in 2009. We produced an album in 2012. Trania is a sort of Ethnic fusion band mixing old traditional instruments and new ones. The identity of the band changes all the time and now we have a vocalist which changes the tonal fabric of the band.
Who would you point as a key influence to you?
My turning point came when I heard John Coltrane and his contemporaries. Also I was entranced by Weather Report‘s and Chick Corea’s music in the early 80’s. Brazilian music also fascinates me. From Jobim to Hermato Pascual.
Which is your own favorite song?
I don’t think I have a favorite song or artist. Yesterday’s favorite is not today’s.
How was the composing process going when you are working in the studio?
I usually have a melodic line in my head or a rhythmic line and go from there. I might write it down and show it to my keyboard player. We then start setting it down harmonically.
When you start working on a new song, how do you know that the song is going good?
It start sounding good once you work on it. Sometimes it proves a bit tricky to make it work, but you have to keep on it. Sometimes you shelve it for a while and leave it till it is time to bring it out again.
What makes, in your opinion, the difference between an average and a great song? According to you how does a good song sound?
Usually the difference is in its execution. Who is playing and interpreting the tune. It’s usless having a brilliant song and not the right musicians playing it. It’s all about the feel!!
What is happening with the songs that didn’t make it to the audience? Do they get a second chance?
Not usually. Sometimes you rework it and something good comes of it. Other ideas are in the works and its no use trying to force out something which is not there.
How would you define your style in three words?
Dynamic, creative, soulful
For information check on TRANIA’s official Facebook page.