Music in Malta has always been very big. Although nowadays we have numerous bands to boast about and be proud of, we cannot forget the true pioneers who paved the way and carved their names in Maltese musical history.
Here’s a list of Maltese bands you really need to start listening to (again) ASAP.
1. The Tramps
Everybody loves or knows at least one of this great band’s songs. The Tramps were a Gozitan pop group mostly known for their iconic classic Xemx…You know, that song that’s played in every Maltese wedding. The Tramps were mostly popular during the 70s and 80s and consisted of Joe Cassar, Dominic Grech, Spiro Sillato and Carmel Portelli.
The Tramps toured Canada and Australia during the height of their career and were the most popular band to come out of Gozo. To this day, their song Inti Djamant is considered an unofficial Gozitan anthem.
The sublimely happy sound of The Tramps has a certain Maltese vibe to it which induces tears in almost every Maltese middle-aged person’s eyes.
2. New Cuorey
New Cuorey was a charming band consisting of Sammy Bartolo, Joe Grech, Charles “City” Gatt and Joe Bartolo. They are mostly known for their hit songs Id-Dgħajsa tal-Latini, The Girl I Had, L-Aħħar Bidwi F’Wied il-Għasel and Bħal Daż-Zmien Konna Flimkien.
The band toured the UK and played in many leading clubs and proved to be popular both in Malta and overseas. They also performed in Toronto, where they released some of their classic hits.
Life was an interesting local band with a lovely fresh sound and beautiful vocals. The band members were Joe Cilia, Tony Camilleri, Carmel Camilleri, Horace Caruana and Saviour Cardona.
The band might easily remind you of The Kinks or The Animals with a hint of Cream. They are mostly known for hits like Imħabba Tagħna, Ftakar Żmien L-Imgħoddi and Qawsalla.
Life made regular appearances at local dance halls but they sadly parted ways in 1999.
4. The Followers
Virtually no information whatsoever can be found online about this awesome kitsch/rock band, and only a couple of songs can be found on YouTube, which is a real pity.
Few recordings exist, but it’s still worth it to buy their music if you ever come across it in old record stores
5. Malta Bums
The Malta Bums was a band made up of the well known (and very young) Freddie Portelli, Tony “Bayzo” Camilleri, Tony Bartolo and Tony Muscat. The band had a very particular and harmonious sound and its members are still well-known to this day.
This band toured Germany and took it by storm — performing live on both German television and radio. The Malta Bums had exploded in terms of local and international fame and they even toured Canada and the United States.
This band reached its popularity with their hit “Aħseb fit-Tifel”. The classic was practically the island’s jam for about a year or so back in the 70s.
The harmonious voices and the stringy pitch of the music make this song an instant sing-a-long song. The catchy lyrics and tune will make you scream your lungs out with this song just like your parents most probably did back in the 70s.
7. The Black Train
The Black Train are reminiscent of a long-gone era when Elvis and Bobby Darin were the bee’s knees. Freddie Portelli truly is an amazing singer, and after leaving The Malta Bums he formed The Black Train with Joe Vella and Freddie Calleja.
The Black Train was considered one of the post popular bands on the island and was voted Best Local Band for as long as it remained active.