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Checkmates was a duo formed in 1973 by Frank O'Neill and Brian Cefai. The really clicked as both Brian and Frank could harmonise and so no one was really the main vocalist.

They played in many venues and were quite popular as that was the era of Folk music ESP with Simon and Garfunkel, the Seekers, Bob Dylan etc. Unfortunately they went separate ways as Brian joined the Jesus of Nazzareth Choir and pursued studies in Classic Music and eventually formed the Amadeus Choir.

Before that they had participated in a few festivals inc the first The Malta Folk Song Contest organized by Jove Enterprises in 1973 with the song by himself M’Hemmx Għalfejn Ħafna Kliem.