Malta: In-Land Transcript




Joe: Fatt, its called a fatt. Fatt means it actually happened.


George: Lí minoria, Lí minoria.... this is the ghana tal fatt.


Frank: I mean the guess is, the educated guess of course is that the very early song of the maltese was of course about hardship all the time from time immemorial the prayers of the people to the gods that they knew then Ashtar, Neptune and the rest.Itís all in there thatís where the roots are but then of course with civilisations you will have influences from time to time mixed together very subtly over thousands of years. Where is the root?


J: To start with when they are singing it is so hard because its poetry.


G: Donít forget that our language is over one thousand years old and although we might lack some particular word or words, this is made up (for) by the wide variety of its semantics. Ghana means the words the music and the performance.




Cikku: They pass you in the streets you know, they play guitars and singing, at night. Sometimes came the police run after us.Because for police it was something wrong I donít know why, they were against it the ghana you know, not the police only the churches too.


George: It was defined as the lower classes exotic or improper behaviour.It was associated with debauchery.


Eddie: So there was a great division, very class social division.And therefor the ghana and the Ďprejjemí (singers) were totally cut off as part of the maltese heritage.



Ghana Now


Frank: Why ghana now?


Joe: Even today in malta there are still alot of people that wonít accept it.


F: Itís a part of our identity.


George: You would find ghana singing twice or three times a week in the various wine shops....


J: But itís a shame really, because every countries got itís own original music.


G: In summer we include ghana in what we call the Ďfesta maltijaí.


Eddie: Now ghana is very accepted as part of our heritage, we are all proud of it.


J: ...Really illiterate people....


G: The educated classes still do view many of the singers as illiterate, stupid people.


J: Country people mostly.


G: A scavenger from Valetta, a bar owner, an importer of cement, a good number of dockyard workers, restuarant owners, pensioners.


Spirtu Pront


Frank: Ghana spiritu pront.


F: And thatís the most common and regular ghana today.


Cikku: The guitar starts first not the singers start first, the guitar starts first, after, the singers.


F: You always have more than one person. Theyíll agree on a subject.


Bamboccu: We use the proper maltese words.


G: And the metaphoric, satirical, ironical implications of the language


B: In spirtu pront your mind has to work, you know, all the time, every minute every second. Because everything in that moment, in that moment, invented in the moment. Rhyming and answering. Thatís afighting when weíre singing. Weíll be four of us. Iím against you, heís against her, cross like that.


E: Mostly itís never about something friendly.


B: .....And always opposition, 99 percent.


C: People, not give answers, not good singer he he he...


B: If I say itís a bottle, you say no, itís a glass


G: So you see itís a literal duel.


C: No, not like a fight no.


E: Most of the times itís on a friendly basis. thereís no real fighting


B: We call it bota and risposta


Victor: To most of us itís like a sports, you know.


Cikkuís son: It is like sports.


V: Recreation, yes exactly. You go there to relax, to sing and ......


C: Maybe come for a drink not for ghana ha ha ha.....




Frank: There were the originals, original folk singing which is not very common or popular I might add, nowadays. For insatnce one of them is what they call the líghana bormliz Ė ta bormla.


Joe: That really sounds like Arabic. Really, really sounds.....to start with they start singing on the D7 not on a G.


George: When I asked them to have the bormliza at our festival, they just laughed atme.


J: This is a very old style. It went out of fashion years and years ago...


G: ....laughed at me, literally the whole room........


J: I donít mind, I donít mind listening to it, but if you listen to it youíll have to listen to the voice, thatís all....


G: Well normally since he sings the bormliza, he normally sings nowhere.


J: You canít understand it and theyíre not rhyming, you know itís not rhymed.


G: The Maltese prefer improvisation, spirtu pront.Singers are so egoistic they just ignore this type of singing.


J: At the moment there isnít any voices capable enough to sing on this.


G: Today they say, well you were right...


The Future


Il Pupa: Fatt majore, majore, majore...


George: An old time...


Bamboccu: There are kids...


Charlie: There is one kid, heís only young, heís a kid....but heís good.


B: I donít think thisd ghana will ever die, I think it will never die.


C: Heís only young we must encourage him. Because we need youngsters like him.


G: Arenít ghannejja (singers) normally old people? A young guitarist, a young singer, a female guitarist.......Old time.


Frank: Nobody, especially the singers themeselves they donít think the ghana is being lost or....you know, itís time is over....