Modernising Maltese Music – Meet The Travellers

Image: Tonio Lambardi
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” says Leonardo Da Vinci, or at least that’s what a random quote website told me upon some quick googling. Gozitan 6-piece folk band The Travellers are taking the local music scene by storm with their debut track ‘Semplicita’, whose music video on YouTube gained over 20,000 views in just one week. Johann Agius asks the bass player of the group Clayton Bonello about the rapid success of their first single, and what else they have in store for their growing following of fans.

Being a relatively new band, can you tell us who the members of the band are, and why you chose the name The Travellers?

We’re six in total, there’s Chris on vocals, Andrew on guitar, also the song writer, Clayton (myself) on bass, Michael on drums, Joseph on the trumpet and Sylvano on the saxophone. The name reflects our lifestyle really. We are all from Gozo and like most Gozitans we have to travel back and forth between the islands as we all work or study in Malta.

Your debut single ‘Semplicita’, from what I personally took from it, talks about being adventurous and appreciating life. Was this the intended message behind the song?

More or less yes. The song is about a young couple, who are trapped in their busy everyday lives as is typical in today’s society, but they then decide to leave it all behind for some peace and quiet in order to enjoy each other’s company.

The name reflects our lifestyle really. We are all from Gozo and like most Gozitans we have to travel back and forth between the islands as we all work or study in Malta

‘Semplicita’ is also accompanied by a very good music video. How was it for the band to be able to produce such a high quality video for your first ever music release?

Working with the right people and being perfectionists. We went over every detail before shooting the music video and created a shot list. Once it was finished we watched it over and over again, trying to fix ever little mistake the best way we could. It also took a lot of planning and meetings, and the effort of many helpers to whom we owe a big thank you.

We’ve rarely heard of good contemporary songs in the Maltese language like ‘Semplicita’. Do you think this is the reason why the song became popular locally so quickly? And do you plan to keep releasing music only in Maltese?

Yes I do think so, and the fact that it had a high quality music video to go with it helped too. So far we have only recorded Maltese songs, 5 in total, but we’re not limiting ourselves to just Maltese.

The song is about a young couple, who are trapped in their busy everyday lives as is typical in today’s society, but they then decide to leave it all behind for some peace and quiet in order to enjoy each other’s company

We could say that the band itself and your debut single came out of nowhere and became quite viral. Was releasing a debut so effectively all part of the plan, or were you not really expecting such a positive reaction?

We put a lot of thought and planning into it, especially through social media and particularly Facebook. Everything had to happen at a certain time and date. However, we were still not expecting such a positive reaction, and we were overwhelmed to say the last. It has definitely given us a boost to release more material very soon.

Finally, what can we expect from The Travellers in the near future? Perhaps an EP or another single release in the pipelines?

We are planning to release an EP containing 5 tracks later on this year, which will all be in Maltese, and we are planning to release some of the songs on the EP as upcoming singles.

The Travellers will also be special guests on Insite’s weekly radio show Kwadranglu on Campus FM 103.7, on Wednesday 10th February at 8pm. Check out their latest music video here!

Written by

Johann Agius

Johann Agius

Johann Agius is a fourth year law student who is currently the CEO of Insite after fulfilling the roles of Public Relations Officer and External Relations Officer in previous years. He joined Insite as a writer and photographer in 2013 and was elected in the executive for the first time a year later.

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