Traditional Maltese Instruments: A thing of the past?

Anna Borg Cardona

Vida talks to Anna Borg Cardona to better understand the devotion needed for a lifetime researching traditional Maltese instruments. She is considered the one leading woman within the traditional Maltese Music academic field.

What made you fall in love with a field that is very often unknown?

I have been exposed to the scene from a very young age. I learnt the piano at age six. In fact it was my only area of interest for some years. Learning about orchestral instruments is probably what initially ignited my interest for instruments in general. Folk instruments were never part of our studies, so the fascination with that came much later. I still remember the first book I ever owned about musical instruments. I was so intrigued by the variety of instruments that exists that I set out discovering the ones in my very own culture.

What’s your general perception of the local traditional music field? How does Malta fare with the rest of the world?

I believe traditional music is still lacking. Somehow there’s a broad absence. Interest needs to diffuse further and more people must feel the need to be more active. We still do not take pride in our own musical identity. I really think that education is key – but teachers and parents must be well informed and enthusiastic about the subject themselves first, before they can impart it onto future generations.

anna borg cardona

You reach out to the Public by means of your own blog: The Anna Borg Cardona Music Museum. What feedback do you get from readers?

I get very positive feedback from my readers, both from Malta and abroad – especially from the Maltese abroad. I love the blog because I can gradually build different music topics that are of interest to me as well as to many others. I called it a Music Museum to be flexible at covering a variety of music topics in general. My interests reach further than just traditional Maltese instruments.

You collaborated on the section of Maltese instruments at the Musical Instruments Museum (MIM) in Arizona. Have you ever attempted to do so in Malta?

It has long been my dream to see a fully-fledged Musical Instrument Museum in Malta. It would be an exciting experience, but it’s not an easy task, mind you! The MIM in Arizona received financial backing from a powerful businessman who chose to invest in culture. In Malta, financing a Museum and finding the right premises for it are two difficulties to overcome . Museums are costly, and I would ideally see them situated in large and easily accessible spaces. They must have a combination of rooms for exhibits, digital and audio experiences, concerts, lectures, and a library.

What projects await you in the future?

I am curating an Exhibition of Musical Instruments which Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti is organising for The European Capital of Culture festivities. This is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to have a full-scale exhibition of all the musical instruments found on our island.

anna borg cardona

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