Malta’s only all-male choir is on a journey to preserve traditional Maltese carols this Christmas by spreading the joy of their melodies both locally and abroad.
Cappella Sanctae Catharinae, led by Mro Alex Vella Gregory, celebrated their tenth anniversary this week with a tour in Rome, playing shows in three key Basilicas in Rome, including one of the Papal Basilicas, Santa Maria Maggiore.
Not only was their performance a celebration of their achievements as Malta’s only all-male choir group, but it was also a celebration of traditional Maltese carols, which have now echoed through the halls of the historic Catholic buildings.
Ninni la Tibkix Iżjed, Il-Benniena t’Emmanweli, Kant lil Betlem, Tridx Immorru and Titnieħed u Titbekka were the Maltese carols performed on the night, something which would not have been possible had it not been for the efforts of Mro Vella Gregory and his team to embark on a research project to save these traditional carols from extinction.
“We’re not just a bunch of music-lovers. We’re also deeply proud to be Maltese and to do what we can in saving the often scarce musical heritage we have,” the choir said in a Facebook post.
“Over the years we’ve brought five Maltese carols back to life, and we plan to bring back a few more over the following years. If you know of any other Maltese tunes, whether they’re Christmas carols or not, we’d really love to hear from you.”
Cappella Sanctae Catharinae also sung a variety of Christmas carols from four other countries in their respective languages, specifically from Italy, France, Germany, and England. The concerts ended with the popular Adeste Fideles sung with the audience in Latin, Maltese and Italian.
The choir’s efforts to bring Maltese carols back to life through their performances is a benevolent act that helps preserve Malta’s musical heritage despite it being somewhat scarce.