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dc.identifier.citationBorg, K. (2017). On friendship and mourning the death of a friend : reading Brodu’s debut album. Antae Journal, 4(2-3), 180-191.en_GB
dc.description.abstract“Kbar wisq” (“Too great”). That is how I described the Maltese band Brodu (literally, “broth”, but also connoting something like “mediocre” or even “disastrous”) after an intimate gig in a Valletta theatre in 2015. I know that superlatives are more often than not misguided, but there is something I see and hear in Brodu that moves me to write something meaningful about their music, and I have been meaning to do this for a long time. On their Facebook page, Brodu describes their genre as ‘Folk, Rock, Stoner, Blues, Doom… or… “Broth Rock”’, and this is not an incorrect characterisation of what Brodu sounds like at all. The band launched its debut album, Ħabullabullojb (an untranslatable and undecipherable term made up of seemingly jumbled letters), on the 14th of November, 2014. That was the first time I had ever seen Brodu live. Before then, I knew virtually nothing about them even though they had debuted in 2012, and I had heard nothing of their material except for ‘Iċ-Ċimiterju’ (‘The Cemetery’), a single they had released two weeks prior to the album launch. ‘Iċ-Ċimiterju’, briefly, is a softly-sung acoustic song, where a fragile, melancholic persona sings about the hardship that life is, its ups and downs, its confusing paths and, ultimately, its abrupt ending. The song alludes to a nearby cemetery, a place which obviously evokes imagery of finitude and mortality in which the narrator relishes at night-time, accompanied by the breeze, cypress trees, and the glare of the moon. All this is recounted as he sits next to a friend who, with two guitars, two cups of tea and a cigarette, sings with him this sorrowful duet. An evocative song about losing a significant other, I thought at first, and left it at that. A couple of days before the launch, however, I discovered through friends that the song and the album material contained autobiographical material, and that it referred to a friend of the singer who had overdosed on heroin and died. Knowing this sad fact changed the way I approached the launch and the band. I went to the album launch, listened to the music, and once the final note was played, I downed my drink and returned home. It was one of the concerts I enjoyed the most; this essay is written in the hope of demonstrating why. There are various lines of interpretation that can be followed when writing about a piece of art. I could approach Brodu’s album from different perspectives and with different aims. This is not just (or at all) a review of the album. I am not singing the band’s praises or discussing their sound. I wish to think with Brodu about a topic which is at the heart of their debut album: the topic of mourning the death of a friend. This essay will show how friendship is portrayed and understood in Ħabullabullojb, namely through the narrator’s recollections and conversations with his dead friend. In so doing, I will consider further the themes of mourning and grief, and what implications these experiences have on one’s identity. Inspired by the way in which friendship is conceived in their work, I will read Brodu alongside philosophical works on friendship and mourning (that is, Judith Butler and Michel Foucault primarily) to emphasise both how the experience of mourning transforms the self as well as how friendship, not unlike mourning, is not here understood as simply a private phenomenon but, rather, as something that can form the basis of a renewed experience of sociality and community.en_GB
dc.publisherUniversity of Malta. Department of Englishen_GB
dc.subjectBands (Music) -- Maltaen_GB
dc.subjectThemes, motivesen_GB
dc.titleOn friendship and mourning the death of a friend : reading Brodu’s debut albumen_GB
dc.rights.holderThe copyright of this work belongs to the author(s)/publisher. The rights of this work are as defined by the appropriate Copyright Legislation or as modified by any successive legislation. Users may access this work and can make use of the information contained in accordance with the Copyright Legislation provided that the author must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the prior permission of the copyright holder.en_GB
dc.publication.titleAntae Journalen_GB
dc.contributor.creatorBorg, Kurt-
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - FacEduES

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