Snippet No.4 – Habib & Polyphon

The earliest recordings of Maltese music were made in the early years of the 1930s. The very first session were organized by an individual referred to as Dr. Fortunato Habib. Habib was a respected member of the jewish community in Malta and hailed from Tripoli. After he married a jewish woman from Tunis he settled in Malta and owned a number of shops around Zachary street Valletta, including Aux Galeries La Fayettes, for which he’ d bought the franchise. Early in 1931 he organized for the first group of musicians to sail from Valletta to Tunis to record the very first records of Maltese music on the German Polyphon label. Amongst the visiting party were folk singers is-semenza and Ix-xudi, who were accompanied by G.Prato, Watty Cachia and A.Teuma Castelletti. These 15 titles were then sold locally as well as to the Maltese community in Tunis through a shop called Bembaron and Cie.

Malta’s Lost Voices is a project initiated by Andrew Alamango, and supported by the National Archives and the Ministry of Education, Employment and the Family, as part of the National Memory Project. It aims to gather and catalogue these early records, documenting and preserving them for research and posterity. For further info visit the blog-


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