Joe 'Bibi' Camilleri
A humble person, who always kept his foot on the ground, and his popularity, never high up for his head, he always share with others and passed everything he knows to the others with a smile.
Known as ‘Bibi’, it was the nickname that always know he’s family, a family nickname, that pass to him and today his children was known the same.
His father Frank ‘Bibi’ Camilleri was a good pianist, and always give him great encouragement, after all he, was one of the renowned pianists playing in that great area at that time. For both previously he also playing the Accordion and drums. His father was his first teacher.
Strait Street in Valletta at that time of fifties and sixties, was in her own glory in the entertainment scenel, most of the sailors have been visiting the island visit there and even Maltese, My Father had a family of seven and from their it was his entry living, and he was always with him after school.
He remember the first time, that he tried to play the drums when he was about 7 years, when he was going with my Father inside one of the clubs, who was named Kenner Bar, which was located in South Road in the City. Attending their, i was also osservor see and heared the sound and rhythm of the music, whether it started flooding. This bar was led by Raphael Dowling, who was a man of true, as jone coud call him, trur Gentlemen, We were going almost, a morning daily. Because when they were put into port ships, sometimes we also work, and if not, I also went to school.
From an early age of 7 years Joe attended with his father at the Kenner Bar, and when he got only twelve years, has sent by me, Ġilardu Mackay owner of the Lucky Wheel Bar which was located in the entertainment center in Strait Street to start work with him. And who is to say that he started his career in the music scene and for many years with various clubs and hotels over the years.
Over time there were many places that Joe play in them in Valletta and even in several Maltese name hotels like the Dragonara group with Val Valente band, Preluna, Hilton, Mellieħa Bay Hotel, Phonicia with band of Sammy Galea, the Casino with the band of his father, Excelcior, and Night Clubs like Kenner Bar, Toby Jug, Sacha, Nigret Night Club, Roadhouse, Tigulio, Caravel, Cherry Tree and Incognito.
He worked every day playing, with who will invited him, it was their that he begain to got challenging, and started to get experience and confidence, at sixteen years, his Father bagian to learn him played the guitar, and there also he began to enter an appearance several times on television in programs of varieties that were made by Oscar Lucas and Lee Spiteri for many times he appearance with the his Father band, and his musicians, remember Sammy Murgo, the double bass Arrigo and him.
Apart with my father, after he got had a wonderful experience to begin learning playing the piano with the great Bice Mizzi, moreover, when he got fifteen years he went aboard on a cruise ship with his father, trumpeter Tony Camilleri and three other musician, The ship Captian give him a certificate as a younger musician who everplayed on the ship. They spend around four weeks entertaimening and turning around Europe.
Yes in the mine time, he also started studying theory, at Maestro Carmelo Pace and after he continued under Professor Charles Zammit, where he got the Diploma (A.L.S.M) on percussion who Lanchshire England School of Music.
So in 1982 he logged with the band of the Armed Forces under Maestro. Anthony Chircop and later with Mro. George Debono as drummer of the band. In 1989 he did an audition and moved with the National Orchestra which was under the Manoel Theater, under the direction of Mro. Joseph Sammut as percussionist, having continued to give share with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, where the main percussionist account under the direction of Mro. Michael Laus, and even Mro. Brian Schembri. Today he have also forming a part of The Malta Concert Orchestra of Opera Square Theater under the direction of Mro. Joe Brown and Mro. Paul Abela. He did say that a career of over 26 years he played all percussion instruments, Timpani, snaredrum, xylophone and principle timpanist years account.
Mean while he got his own band, and they playing in serveral various occasions such as weddings and dances and other Functions.
Bisides that he spend about fifteen consecutive years, from 1972 until a contest to be remaining with orchestra in 1997.
He played with the National Orchestra also outside Malta and remember trips in Rome, Palermo, Arezzo, and even also visit China with the National Orchestra, while in November, 2018 went to Poland with St. Paul Chamber Orchestra conducted by Mro. Mark Agius.
In 1994 he had been chosen by Charles ''City'' Gatt to taken part in Malta Jazz Festival with famous American singer Joe Lee Wilson. While in 1996 he have played in Malta Jazz Festival with singer Caco York and several other foreign musicians.
Altogether took part four times, and even in Sicily played in Jazz Festival with the band also of Mro. Paul Abela, with the band of Marc Galea, and in the Army after Mro. Twanny Chircop with conductors and Mro. George Debono and recently in Poland with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra with Mro. Mark Agius.
Appart from this, he was involed, for more than fifteen consecutive years did the percussionist, leading in the National Eurovision Song Contest, until the contest remaining done by orchestra.
There was a good number, over all these years, and met many big celebrity in his career, among others recall with popular Italian singers like Gianni Morandi, Andrea Bocelli, Riccardo Cocciante, Lucio Dalla and singer of jazz Aljarreau w, many others, but seemed to forget to mention the Maltese Joseph Calleja.
So he did about fifteen years teaching as a part-time, the Percussion and passing everything he know to Maltese teens in Johann Strauss School of Music. It was a nice time and still gives also given hom satisfaction. And currently he still teaching in the new school of Malta School of Music.
In this experience he got satisfaction to emerged a good number of percussionist, the current one is ringing and make a name for, like Luke Baldacchino, Daniel Cauchi, Alex Debono, Melchior Busuttil, and his son Joseph, that afterwards also continue studying in London and others.
He remember a good joke in one of those Song Contest, was taking up to went into hiding in a piano box, was Mro. Joe Brown, and his head began call him to taken his place, in a panic, after he went out and everyone laughing with ruptured. Another one at the Manoel theater was in opera, and he had a piece on stage with snaradrum and he continued outside the curtain slightly laughing some people! He got others also.
In the beginning when logged in the Armed Forces of Malta he would do the duties of a soldier, but when changed to Orchestra he played only and practicing and studying.
So now although from his work he ritared, he still teaching as a part-time, and from time to time he played with the orchestra, recently yes group played both with orchestra, at the Final Night L-Għanja tal-Poplu Żagħżagħ 2019, which was sure to experience for these future young singers, who sang accompanied with orchestra.
Yes I always follow the music scene. Today there are many talented musicians including singers as, where one also learns here, my message to these students is, to take b'serious music, studying and practicing, because with so grow up in good musicians, in today's scene, depending on the music genre, whether talking about contests of pop, with a few here today, is include more lights and colors on stage, with music sometimes, as Karaoki or video going, personal with I like anything by it, I wants a live orchestra, singers to be more challenging, to show their true capabilities, this is my opinion.
He, want to thank, but are no longer with him, his parents who always incourage him always, those musicians who for learing alot during the years, bands and groups who played both, them, conductors and singers, the wife and his children have always been supportive, which although for many years the music was the living for my family, have always been behind, and those music enthusiasts who have always been behind us with their support and spent by some avveliment organized.