The 2019 edition of the Malta International Arts Festival kicks off on Friday 28 June. Under the stewardship of artistic director Ruben Zahra, this year’s edition will see a number of innovations being introduced. The wide-ranging programme of Maltese and international performances will take place in various locations around the island to make the festival accessible to a wider audience.

The MIAF is offering its audiences a unique experience by presenting performing arts within Malta’s exclusive heritage sites. The Ħaġar Qim temple complex in Qrendi will become the backdrop and stage for two productions within the festival: ‘Temple Percussion’, featuring acclaimed Chinese percussionist Beibei Wang; and ‘Guthan Aosda – Ancient Voices’ – a music and dance performance.

In Temple Percussion Wang will deliver a virtuoso recital of contemporary works. The programme includes music by Psathas, Tan Dun, Xenakis, Séjourné and more. This event is being co-organised with the China Cultural Centre in Malta.

Credit: Hugh Beauchamp

Guthan Aosda – Ancient Voices, meanwhile, is a music-dance performance featuring Scottish musicians John Kenny and Pete Vilk, and Maltese dancer Diane Portelli. Kenny will play on a wide range of exotic ritual instruments, starting with the primordial sea shell and cow horns, across Celtic lore with the famous ‘Carnyx’ war horn bearing the totem head of a wild boar. The audience is in for a unique music journey throbbing to the pulse of ritual against Malta’s spectacular Neolithic backdrop.

This choice of venue is in-line with Mr Zahra’s vision for the MIAF to offer something that will distinguish it from other festivals in Europe and around the world; and the idea of staging performances at Ħaġar Qim is very much a part of that vision.

“You can experience great performances in a black box environment at any international festival,” says Mr Zahra. “But only in Malta can the audience experience artistic excellence in a Neolithic temple.”

Temple Percussion will take place on Wednesday 3rd July at 9.00 pm; while Guthan Aosda- Ancient Voices is being performed on Thursday 11th July at 9.00 pm. Both performances are supported by Heritage Malta.

For more information about these and other performances within the Malta International Arts Festival visit the MIAF website.