Frans Cachia l-Budaj tas-Siġġiewi

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Frans Cachia Il-Budaj tas-Siġġiewi

Frans Cachia l-Budaj.

is a renowned folk singer, born in Siġġiewi on the 21st August 1955 and until recently was a kneader with a macaroni factory. He is currently considered as one of the foremost folksingers. There was no folk singing tradition in his family.

As a young boy he frequented a local village wine shop known as Ċikku tal-Parapett. He acquired his nickname l-Budaj, after the famous Frans Baldacchino l-Budaj, as a taunt when he made attempts to begin folk singing in the 1970s at Ħaramija in Triq ir-Ramlija, Siġġiewi. Someone shouted Qisek il-Budaj! His initial adversary was Ninu tal-Pasti from Qormi.

At the time Siġġiewi boasted a number of folk guitarists, including Żeppi ż-Żubu, Karmnu l-Grant and the renowned prim guitarist Pinu Borg Il-Bandla. His first real bout of improvised verse was with Fredu Abela ż-Żejtuni in the Siġġiewi Labour Party club in 1976.

His favourite folk singers are Ninu Galea l-Kalora and Fredu Abela ż-Żejtuni. Abela always gave him good advice, avoided personal snide and did not corner him in singing bouts, in order to help facilitate Cachia's improvised responses.

His most memorable bout was with Ninu l-Kalora in 1984 at Żeppi Bonnello ż-Żibġi's Friend to All Bar and his favourite folk ballad is Żeppi Spagnol Il-Kelba 's variant of Tal-Katakombi, about the murder of an altar boy. This ballad had already been released by Pawlu Seychell l-Għannej.

Cachia is able to include introspect in his critique, that comments on Maltese socio-realisms rather than delving on the recurrent expression of egocentricity and self-praise that some other folk singers endure in, and has a clear crisp voice that delivers well. Such as his comments on the widespread abuse illegal boreholes siphoning groundwater from the local aquifer, thereby impoverishing an already scarce resource.

Frans Cachia l-Budaj folksinging during Għanafest 2013, flanked by Joe Grech ta' Raħal Ġdid.

Cachia is a regular at the Għanafest folk festival held every June at the Argotti gardens. He is usually in the folksinger line up for events organized by Mikiel Cutajar Is-Superstar and at times on stage with Joe Grech ta' Raħal Ġdid, as in Bormla in May 2013, where he was pitted in a witful bout with another Siġġiewi-born folk singer, Twanny Coleiro ta' Kulajru.

He also featured in the commemorative folk music event held in December 2012 at the Rialto in Bormla, in memory of former Labour Prime Minister Dom Mintoff. Cachia is considered as a crowd-puller in Maltese għana.

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