Music with wit
The folkloric tunes of ghana music – the unique music form of Malta, not to be confused with the African country of the same name – is as Maltese as traditions come. It’s a blend of Arabic lilts and plucky notes from Sicily, backed up by Maltese ingenuity.
Singing has long been a cheerful pastime for the Maltese, who engage in it daily as they go about their rural lives.
Visitors to Malta often remark on how well the people seem to naturally weave songs, stories and rhymes together, and what has evolved over time is almost like the folk tunes version of the modern rap battle.
You’ll see it when visiting in the form of two musicians on guitars, mouth organs or accordions throwing lyrics at one another, from light-hearted jibes to quick-witted rhymes, and then challenge the other musician to match it.
Street sellers have also taken the tradition to heart, so don’t be surprised if two vendors competing to sell you some trinkets do so by singing cheerfully about what a wally the other guy is.
In fact, that duality is a distinctive part of the Maltese people. Friendly rivalries are a notable part of the culture here, be they serious political debates or friendly football teams clashing opinions over the latest game.
The Maltese are known for picking a side and sticking to their argument strongly, but you needn’t worry if there’s one thing the people here can agree on, it’s that holidaymakers are always welcome.