Maltese musicians and music heads have paid tribute to the passing of Anthony D’Amato, a revered promoter of the local scene and one of the owners of the family-run D’Amato Records – one of the world’s oldest record stores in Valletta.
Drummer of local blues band the Busker Jean-Paul Borg described D’Amato’s Records as the “go-to shop” of his teenage years.
“What a sad loss. I still remember calling every day after school whenever there was a new release to check if it arrived so I can go and buy it,” the musician recalled.
Event organiser and seasoned guitarist Wayne Camilleri echoed Borg’s comments, saying he’ll always remember D’Amato’s friendly face during his regular visits to splurge on CDs.
“A familiar face of my youth when a visit to Valletta to buy CDs was the highlight of the month. Rest in peace.”
Meanwhile, Maltese singer, musician and former X Factor Judge Ray Mercieca praised him for being “the first man who loved selling local artists with pride”.
“So sad to hear. Respect to a man who gave us the albums we learned from and always with a smile. Condolences to the family. Respect sir fly high.”
“Thanks for your help in local artists journey.”
Set up by his great grandfather Giovanni D’Amato in 1885, the iconic store on St John’s Street is hailed as one of the oldest surviving record stores in the world – standing strong despite two World Wars, the Spanish Flu pandemic and a string of recessions.
Generations upon generations of music fans in Malta would head into D’Amato’s to scour the shelves of records, CDs, sheet music and posters, even with the rise of streaming services.
“Not even three weeks have passed since you were giving us a hand in Valletta,” D’Amato’s son wrote, pledging to continue to keep the music store alive.
“You leave behind a legacy of kindness love and respect to anyone that you crossed path with. A pillar of the family business for which you dedicated over 60 years of life to.”
Anthony’s funeral will be held at the Carmelite Church in Valletta on Tuesday morning.
RIP Anthony D’Amato!