If the response to our original article extolling the virtues of Maltese-language singers, bands and singer-songwriters was anything to go by, pride for our local talent remains strong among our readers, especially when it’s songs in our mother tongue that are being celebrated.
And so you won’t feel like your enthusiasm and complaints have been little more than a cry in the (Gnien Tal-Mosta) wilderness, here’s a generous selection of some more Maltese-language musical classics.
1. Malta Tieghi by KulTural
And speaking of patriotism, skewed or otherwise, this Ghanja Tal-Poplu-boosted slice of funky satire hits a bull’s eye on one key aspect of Maltese culture: we’ll talk shit about Malta till kingdom come, but God forbid a foreigner does the same…
2. Il-Festa by Mary Rose Mallia
Scaling back on the satire and irony for just a little bit, here’s something to rose-tinted and nostalgic you’ll actually travel back in time to when the village festa was actually a place of innocent joy… even then, we’re not even sure that time every existed, which is all the more reason why Mallia’s saccharine fantasy is so eminently re-visitable.
3. Fejn Thobb Il-Qalb by Mike Spiteri
This ‘slow dancing’ classic confirms its evergreen status thanks to Spiteri’s duet with Gianluca Bezzina.
4. Xemx u Xita by The Travellers
How could we forget the plucky new kids on the block? Well, we did. And we’re terribly sorry.
5. Nixtieq by Brikkuni
Everybody wants to live in a better world. Nobody wants to put in the necessary effort. Depressing truths, expressed in pin-prick poignancy by Brikkuni.
6. Glorja Tonna by Xtruppaw
Of course, Xtruppaw held pride of place in our showcase of rude Maltese songs, but we underestimated just how beloved they are. So here’s their most popular song to date.
All together, now: Patata mal-bar!!!
7. Taxi Mary by Fredu Abela and George Azzopardi
A classic example of the botta u risposta sub-genre of ghana, Taxi Mary tells of a trek across the islands, with ample opportunity for jabs at each town and its characteristics.But the simple structure makes it a flexible treat for musicians, and it’s been covered by everyone from Joe Demicoli to the Kelma Kelma folks, with the lyrics changing accordingly.
8. Lukanda Kalifornia by Triccas
And while we’re on the subject of taxi-based ditties… here’s a Maltasajf classic.
9. Viva Malta by Malta Bums
It’s a real shame that the words ‘Viva Malta’ are now more closely associated with the lunatic right-wing fringe than they are with this sweet song from 1968, featuring none other than Freddie Portelli himself on vocals.
10. Sa L-Ahhar by Fabrizio Faniello
You wanted it, you got it. Of course, Fabrizio Faniello will be forever associated with that summer night, but there’s a lot of love for this, erm… love song too.
11. Hobbu d-Doggy by George Azzopardi
We challenge you not to raise a smile as you put on Azzopardi’s second classic on this list. Both because it’s such an infectiously sweet song… and because the possibilities for double entendre make it hilarious.
12. Fittex Aqbaduli by John Laus
But if you really want double entendre…
BONUS: Pajjiz tal-Miki Maws by John Bundy
Now that he’s been given the role of PBS CEO, it’s only right that John Bundy’s original claim to fame is dusted off for some appreciation.