This book examines the diverse facets of popular music in Malta, paying special attention to għana (Malta’s folk song), the wind band tradition, and modern popular music. Ciantar provides intriguing discussions and examples of how popular music on this small Mediterranean island country interacts with other aspects of the island’s life and culture such as language, religion, history, customs, and politics. Through a series of ethnographic vignettes, the book explores the music as it takes place in bars, at festivals, and during village celebrations, and considers how it is talked about in the local press, at group gatherings, and on social media. The ethnography adopted here is that of a native musician and ethnomusicologist and therefore marries the author’s memories with ongoing observations and their evaluation.
Table of Contents
1 Studies and Snippets in Maltese Popular Music
2 Għana: Legacy, Meanings, and New Directions
3 Għana and its Parallels in the Mediterranean: Music, Expression, and Performance
4 Saints, Wind Bands, and Meanings
5 The Process of Musical Translation: Composing a Maltese Festa Band March from Libyan Ma’lūf Music
6 The Singer as Individual: Pop Singers, Music, and Political Propaganda in Contemporary Maltese Electoral Campaigns
Audio and Visual Musical Examples
Philip Ciantar is a senior lecturer in music at the School of Performing Arts, University of Malta. His research interests include Maltese popular music, world music analysis, and North African music. He is the author of The Ma'lūf in Contemporary Libya: An Arab Andalusian Musical Tradition (Ashgate 2012; Routledge 2016) and various articles in ethnomusicology.