The Carabott catalogue


Early in 1931, the local journal Il-Berka and other popular newspapers, advertised the arrival of a new list of records, produced and sold by local establishment, P.Carabott Music Establishment of Strada Mercanti (Est. 1885). These advertisements boasted a catalogue of 48 records, which were made by the finest local artistes; a contribution of 200 people, it stated, who first recorded in Malta, and later on, in June 1931, in Tunis. The catalogue with Ma matrix numbers, features various composers and conductors, solo musicians, comic artists, operatic and lyrical singers, poets, guitar soloists, a mandolin orchestra, as well as a good number of folk, għana (local chant, pron. aana) singers, including women. The front-cover of the 1931 catalogue, displays A.Gerada’s splendid label illustration depicting the Valletta port and called Dischi Maltin. The Odeon logo of the classical dome, appears next to Gerada’s illustration. The catalogue clearly aimed to present a wide range of artists and genre, making it appealing to various strata of society. It is by the newspapers of early 1931, that some of the recordings carried out for the catalogue were recorded first in Malta, and in Tunis a few months later.

It is claimed that, that same year, the owner of the establishment, Louis Carabott, arranged for the engineers of Deutsche Grammophon label, to bring their recording equipment to Valletta and execute the recording of the titles in the catalogue. Due to the lack of proper recording space, it was customary to use makeshift studios. In this case, it is reported, that a large hall in Valletta was identified to carry out such a purpose. The soundproofing of the hall, which was an engaging task, consisted of heavy curtains, drapes and carpets. The hall would have had to be large enough to seat considerably large numbers of orchestra musicians and a 70-piece choir, as well as many other smaller units of musicians.

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7 thoughts on “The Carabott catalogue

  1. Hi,
    I stumbled across this blog while reseaching a Paolo Soprani accordion. It was apparently bought at the P Carabott emporium and I was wondering if you know when the shop closed. It’d help me a great deal to get a estimated date on the instrument.
    Cheers.

  2. Adrian,
    I love your website. I am a maltese ghana guitar player living in Sydney learning in the style of Carmenu Kardona (it Tapp). I recently acquired two antique guitars in England bearing the label “Carabott Valetta”, theser are guitars built around 1890 and 1940. I also have many old guitar recording including speaking parts, for example, I have from Karmenu Cardona’s own mouth what his physical address was were he lived in Hamrun. I have interviews in 1956 with Indi Brincat (Pupa), Ix Xludi and Pawlu il Bies. I really love this stuff.
    I would like to purchase your CD if possible. Am I able to buy this online?
    Best regards
    Raymond Attard (Sydney)

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