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Updated: Aug 9, 2022

Article is taken from ‘The Malta Independent’ –Friday 5th August,2022 (Page 6)

Minister Owen Bonnici with Kurt Calleja, winner of the second edition of Muzika Muzika with the song ‘Bla Tarf’ in March

This week we proudly announced the opening of applications for the holding of festival Mużika Mużika’s third edition next year.

Mużika Mużika 2023 is set to take place between the 23rd and the 25th of March 2023.

Our main aim is to continue investing in this festival which also serves as a platform for artists to express themselves in our native language.

This Festival celebrates the beauty of Maltese songs; it is gratifying to show appreciation for the Maltese language and music in such a beautiful way.

We shall continue working so that this festival gains more popularity and keeps the annual appointment. We must ensure that more Maltese artists have opportunities to build professional musical careers.

We will once again commit ourselves to produce a festival of the highest level for the singers, composers and authors who will take part, as well as for our audiences. I am sure the 2023 edition will be as successful as the previous ones, if not more. In the last edition, 170 submissions were brought forward; we hope that this year will be even more significant than the previous editions.

Also, this week we proudly produced high-quality products. Once again, I am proud of the music video Festivals Malta produced for the 2022 winning song. Bla Tarf, performed by Kurt Calleja, written by Kurt Calleja and composed by Kurt Calleja, Aleandro Spiteri Monsigneur and Peter Borg, tells the story of a couple that manages to overcome every obstacle. The music video interpreted this story in an impressionistic style.

I would also like to encourage singers, composers, and authors to come forward and take this opportunity to be part of this prestigious festival.

Visit to the National Library

This week, I also had the opportunity to visit the National Library of Malta in the heart of Valletta.

I was impressed with the number of collections that all have a special meaning not only when it comes to the history of the Maltese Islands but also in the context of European and Mediterranean history.

During my visit there, I had the pleasure of sharing a few words with the staff of Malta Libraries, the entity responsible for this National Library, the Public Libraries, and the National Bureau of Bibliography. This library serves as a reference and research library. It preserves the nation’s memory through collections that span entire centuries, from the medieval era to the digital age. As the custodian of Malta's written heritage for present and future generations, the library promotes research and places its extensive collections at the disposal of both researchers and visitors.

During my visit, the Chief Executive and National Librarian, Ms Cheryl Falzon, the Deputy Librarian of the Library, Ms Maroma Camilleri and the Director of Operations, Ms Joanne Sciberras, exhibited a number of unique documents from various archives and collections, including examples of Incunabula, Manuscripts and Maps that were recently added to the National collection after a substantial investment from a local auction.

It is worth mentioning that this National Library was founded as a public library by the Knights of St. John during their last years in Malta. Its building, the work of the architect of Polish descent Stefano Ittar, is an architectural gem that complements the elegance of the buildings built by the Knights around the island.

The library building was the last significant building built by the Knights before they departedfrom Malta, and it is one of the most beautiful buildings they left behind. The origin of the library goes back to the year 1555 when all the books left by the deceased Knights had to go to the Treasury of the Order. It was only in the year 1649 that the nucleus of a library was formed in a room above the oratory of the Conventual Church of St. John. In 1760 the Order inherited a collection of great value from Cardinal Joaquin Portocarrero. It contained 5,570 volumes. A few years later, in 1766, the library continued to increase in terms of value with the collection of 9,700 books donated by the Ballio Gran Croce of the Order, Fra Louis Guerin de Tencin, who is considered the founder of the library. For a while, the library was called Bibliotheca Tanseana in his memory and thanks to him. These collections were initially kept in the building known as Forfantone in Triq ir-Repubblika on the corner with Triq Santa Lucija. Still, it quickly became apparent that a suitable building was needed to house the new library.

A decree approved the building of the new library in the heart of the City of the General Chapter of the Order called by the Grand Master de Rohan in 1776. The building was completed in 1796.

This building was officially inaugurated on 4 June 1812 by Sir Hildebrand Oakes, British Civil and Military Commissioner in Malta. In 1936 the library was given the prefix "Royal" by King George V. The Royal Library of Malta took over the custody of the Archives of the Order of St. John, which were transferred from the building of the Public Registry.

I want to thank all the people working in this sector. Their work demonstrates the Government's commitment to cultural heritage.


Before the start of the current festa season, I was approached by some people who told me that the village festas as we knew them before the pandemic would be no more. They based their worries on the lack of volunteers and other factors.

This summer, the doomsters were proven wrong big time. The village festas this year were, generally speaking, bigger and larger than pre-pandemic times. The amount of people attending them was extraordinary and families enjoyed spending time with their loved ones in the heart of the respective localities.

As a Government we provided a one off cash injection of EUR 500,000 to all village festas (up to a maximum of EUR6,000 each festa) to help and assist them following two years during which no fund raising events could take place. This assistance was given to each festa, both in Malta and Gozo, and not to particular festas.

I too enjoyed some lovely time in the various festas which I habitually visit. Hope the readers find the experience pleasant as well.


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