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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Bittersweet Symphony

Il-Budaj is dead. It's a great loss for għana and the Maltese music scene. It's also an equally great loss for his family and close friends, of course.
Frans <i>'il-Budaj'</i> Baldacchino passes away
I never really knew Frans Il-Budaj even though I met him on several occasions. I certainly know his singing. You can recognize Il-Budaj on any recording. His voice was unusually sweet for Maltese għana and many believed he was better suited for għana tal-fatt than spirtu pront, even though he was a master practitioner of the improvised form.

I always saw him as one of the more sophisticated għannejja. He was keen to learn more about anything, anytime. He also clearly wanted to cross over from the ghetto that popular Maltese culture has relegated traditional folk singing to by the end of the last century into the seemingly more glamorous world of mainstream pop.

My next Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast cannot ignore the passing of one who was undoubtedly among the best singers to ever appear from Malta. To me, his artistic sensibility made him shine above most of the other traditional Maltese folk singers I've known throughout my life.

Frans il-Budaj is gone but his singing will stay with us for many years to come...and that's not just because we have so many recordings of him.

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