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To learn more about the initiatives in the Arts visit the Arts Council Malta website


Għana is traditional Maltese folk singing. This type of singing has a number of different variations. e.g. ‘Għana tal-Fatt', where the singer recounts a story in verses that relate to a tragic past event. Another genre is ‘Għana spirtu pront': two singers hit out at each other with sharp and witty retorts as one sings out and the other responds with spontaneously thought out lyrics; and 'Għana fl-Għoli' wherein the stanzas are sung in an extremely high note/pitch remotely similar to a flamenco folk song - this singing is also known as ala Bormliża.

To read more about Maltese Folk Music and instruments visit Vasallo's website 

Every Summer in Malta there is a two-day a Għanafest organized by Arts Council Malta

Maltese Għana Music Instruments
Literature | Proverbs | Poems

The oldest known literary text in the Maltese language is Pietru Caxaro's poem, Il-Kantilena (c. 1470 to 1485) (also known as Xidew il-Qada), followed by Gian Francesco Bonamico's sonnet of praise to Grand Master Nicolas Cotoner, Mejju gie' bl'Uard, u Zahar (The month of May has arrived, with roses and orange blossoms), c. 1672. The earliest known Maltese dictionary was written by Francois de Vion Thezan Court (c. 1640). In 1700, an anonymous Gozitan poet wrote Jaħasra Mingħajr Ħtija (Unfortunately Innocent). A Maltese translation of the Lord's Prayer appeared in Johannes Heinrich Maius's work Specimen Lingua Punicæ in hodierna Melitensium superstitis (1718), demonstrating the formerly wide-held belief that the language had a Punic heritage. A collection of religious sermons by a certain Dun Ignazio Saverio Mifsud, published between 1739 and 1746, is regarded as the earliest known example of Maltese prose.

Pietru Caxaro Poem


Witness my predicament, my friends (neighbours), as I shall relate it to you:
never has there been, neither in the past, nor in your lifetime,
A [similar] heart, ungoverned, without lord or king (sultan),
That threw me down a well, with broken stairs
Where, yearning to drown, I descend the steps of my downfall,
Climb back up, only to go down again in this sea of woe.
It(she) fell, my edifice, [that] which I had been building for so long,
It was not the builders’ fault, but (of) the soft clay (that lay beneath);
Where I had hoped to find rock, I found loose clay
It(she) fell, my building!

It(she) fell, my building, its foundations collapsed;
It was not the builders’ fault, but the rock gave way,
Where I had hoped to find rock, I found loose clay
It (she) fell, my edifice, (that) which I had been building for so long,
And so, my edifice subsided, and I shall have to build it up again,
change the site that caused its downfall
Who changes his place, changes his “vintura”!
for each (piece of land) has its own shape (features);
there is white land and there is black land, and red
But above all, you must stay clear of it.

To My Maltese Brothers

On the day of the giving of the constitution

Awake from the lethargy which made dead your heart,
People of talent, of sensibility, of kindness;
Maltese people, the sun rose, called to you;
Be on your way to the beautiful horizon.

Don't you feel the wave in your chest
Of new blood whose strength purifies you?
Don't you feel it playing in your face, the flow
Of the freedom that another life gives you?

This is the day and this is the hour;
Crafting of unity, the pact made;
If you don't catch it in its escape,
This time will never last.

Break the tools of  violent jealousy,
Open your heart to the word of peace;
Spiritedly, there is no malice from desire,
But divided, it gets lost in words.

You have a mirror in hearts of lions
Who fought with the hated enemy;
They were few, and the enemy was merciless,
But they won with unity of hearts.

This is the day and this is the hour...

(Don) Carmelo Psaila, better known as Dun Karm (Żebbuġ, 18 October 1871 – 13 October 1961) was a Maltese priest, writer and poet, sometimes called 'the bard of Malta'. He is widely recognised as the Maltese national poet. He has gained this title for having written prolifically in Maltese, and producing works that are serenely conscious of what can be called a "Maltese identity".Dun Karm poetically explored the history of Malta to confirm its cultural and national identity. The poem To My Maltese Brother is based on the event when Malta received its first self-governing constitution from the British in 1921.This was followed by a decade of political instability, which eventually settled again after the War.After which began Malta's fight for full independence which led to Malta being declared a Republic in 1974.

Other notable Maltese poets are:

Pietru Caxaru (died 1485) - The first noted Maltese poet

Ġan Franġisk Bonamico (1639–1680)

Gioacchino Navarro (1748–1813)

Patri Fidiel, (c. 1762–1824)

Mons. Ludovik Mifsud Tommasi (1796–1879) - Canon of the Collegiate of Cospicua

Ġan Anton Vassallo (1817–1868)

Ġużè Muscat Azzopardi (1853–1927)

Manwel Dimech (1860–1921)

Dun Karm Psaila (1871–1961)

Mary Meilak (9 August 1905 – 1 January 1975)

Rużar Briffa (1906–1963)

Anton Buttigieg (1912–1983)

Kilin (1917–2008)

Marjanu Vella (1927–1988)

Pawlu Aquilina (born 1929)

Joe Friggieri (born 1946)

Oliver Friggieri (1947-2020)

Doreen Micallef (1 June 1949 - 1 December 2001) 

Ray Buttigieg (born 1955)

Immanuel Mifsud (born 1967)

Lil Ħuti Maltin

Nhar l-Għoti tal-Kostituzzjoni

Qum mill-ħedla li ’l qalbek mewtitlek,
Ġens ta’ ħila, ta’ għaqal, ta’ ġieħ;
Poplu Malti, ix-xemx telgħet, sejħitlek;
Aqbad triqtek lejn xefaq sabiħ.

Ma tħosshiex ġewwa sidrek il-mewġa
Ta’ demm ġdid li f’saħħitha ssaffik?
Ma tħosshiex tilgħab f’wiċċek il-fewġa
Tal-ħelsien li ħajja oħra tagħtik?

Dan hu l-jum u din is-siegħa;
Issir l-għaqda, isir il-patt;
’Kk ma taqbdux fil-ħarba tiegħu,
Dan iż-żmien ma jerġa’ qatt.

Kisser l-għodda ta’ l-għira ġellieda,
Iftaħ qalbek għall-kelma tas-sliem;
Għalenija, m’hemmx ifrem mir-rieda,
Iżda mqassma, tintilef fil-kliem.

Għandek mera fil-ljuni qalbiena
Illi tqabdu mal-Mislem magħdub;
Kienu ftit, u kien għadu bla ħniena,
Iżda rebħu bil-għaqda tal-qlub.

Dan hu l-jum u din is-siegħa.

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