Frenċ Cutajar Il-Witli

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Frenċ Cutajar Il-Witli, also known as Frank, was a folksinger from It-Triq tal-Għajn (Fontana), Gozo, who sings improvised verse and ballads. Born in 1924, he started folksinging in Gozo as an eight your old, during the threshing season. With the demise of his mother, as a twelve year old his father took him to is-Siġġiewi, where he grew up. At the age of fourteen he also starting playing the folk guitar in a teetotaler outlet in Siġġiewi. He was impressed by Ġużeppi Xuereb Ix-Xudi, Leli Mercieca s-Simenża and Ġorġ Cremona l-Joċċ. He emigrated to Australia in October 1954. A few months before he emigrated he took to the Buskett folk festival for the last time.

When in Australia, Cutajar began writing ballads, including one about Malta in the Second World War, in 1957. One he sings, written by Kiku Azzopardi, is about drowning of twenty-two Gozitans and one Maltese near Ħondoq ir-Rummien, as they were crossing from Malta to Gozo on the 30th of October 1948. His favourite folksinger was Pawlu Degabriele l-Bies, with whom he recorded a bout around 1979. Cutajar has written about twenty folk ballads, but also sung others including Ġużeppi tal-Katakombi and Arturu u Marija.

In 1986 he was interviewed at length by researcher Mannie Casha, in the latter's project about Maltese folklore, about his life in Malta and how he adapted to his new residence in another land.

Cutajar has taken part in spirtu pront bouts with visiting renowned folksinger Mikiel Cutajar Is-Superstar, and Australia-based Salvu Galea tal-Kalora and Loretu Vella tas-Siċċu in Melbourne. His brother Leli Cutajar Il-Witli, Gozitan as well and living in Melbourne, was also a folksinger.

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