Malta's Lost Voices

A forgotten part of local history (like so many other parts), almost erased from local memory is the early recording of folk and popular music from the island nation, Malta. Initiated in early 1931, when the music establishments in the fortress-city, Valletta, were alive and well. Thriving, to say the least, at a time when music and entertainment were the order of the day. As early as February 1931, an individual referred to as Dr. Habib, sent the first group of musicians to Tunis to record the first 78rpms under French Polyphon label. What ensued was a social phenomenon, which took much of society by storm for the next two years. It was a strong political statement for the Maltese language and a tremendous boost for folk music. Musicians could even make a decent living contracted by the agents of Messrs.Carabott of Merchant’s street and Damato of St.John’s street. The…

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