Sammy Bartolo

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Sammy Bartolo

Sammy Bartolo (18 August 1947 - 22 November 1997) was a Maltese singer and drummer from Mellieħa. His proper name was Salvu, but he was very well known as Sammy.

He started taking part in local song contests at a very young age, in fact he participated in a festival organised by the Żgħażagħ Ħaddiema Nsara at the age of 9. He spent a time playing drums and at 15 he formed his first band all made up of Mellieħa youngsters. His colleagues were Joe Bartolo on drums, Joe S. Grech (guitarist), Joe Debono (bass) and Sammy's own sister Mary Bartolo who was a vocalist too.

During his twenties, Sammy had some changes in his band's line-up. Paul Abela joined Sammy, Joe Bartolo and Joe S. Grech and started playing regularly at the Mellieha Bay Hotel. But the band was still without a name. At the hotel, residents used to say they were the "new hearts" of the hotel. Perhaps, influenced by the many Italian tourists, they decided the name was to be New Cuorey.

In 1972 the band toured England and played in many leading clubs in Manchester and Blackpool. Back home, encouraged by the popularity at the hotel, Sammy and his band tried their luck with recording songs to be published as records. Songs such as Il-Bajja tal-Mellieħa, Riviera Blu, Għajnejk Sbieħ and Bħal daż-Żmien Konna Flimkien were instant hits in Malta.

When Sammy and his band went to play in Toronto, Canada and appeared on Graham Cable TV, they released the song Id-Dgħajsa tal-Latini. In 1976, they released their classic hit L-Aħħar Bidwi f’Wied il-Għasel with lyrics by Alfred C. Sant and composed by Paul Abela. The song which was even included in Claudio Baglioni's repertoire in a 2007 concert in Malta and recorded by the Italian star on the Sony/BMG label a year later.

Sammy Bartolo played the part of Jesus Christ in the musical Ikun Li Trid Int aired on TVM in 1976. This work by Manwel Mifsud and Theresa Cassar was published as a long playing album by the Youth Travel Circle in 1977, and later, in 2002, as a cd.

As a soloist, Sammy Bartolo took part in several festivals. These included the Folk Festival and the Malta Song Festival. He placed second in the first edition of Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza in 1983 with the song Tagħlima composed by Jo Naudi. Sammy won the Best Singer Award in that same edition. He participaed again in the same contest in 1984 and 1987 with Urini Ħabib and Sewwa Sew Illum respectively. Sammy took part in the Festival tal-Kanzunetta Maltija for several years and in 1982 he represented Malta in Dresden as a result of one of the festival's editions. His hit Poeżija originated in the Festival tal-Kanzunetta Maltija 1985.

Sammy Bartolo

In 1986 Sammy formed another band called The Harmonics and released a cassette called Maltese Memories. He co-operated with Paul Abela and Alfred C.Sant in several other projects including cd Album Unity For Liberation published in Libya.

In 1996 he recorded Ħallini Noħlom on a double Christmas compilation cd to raise money for the Eden Foundation.

In 1997, New Courey members reunited to record their old hits on cd. A new song was added; Kemm Hu Sabiħ by Paul Abela and Ray Mahoney. The band also planned to tour Australia but the project did not materialise due to Sammy's demise at 50 years of age.

Sammy Bartolo married Evelyn nee’ Debono on 31 January 1970. They got four daughters; Claudette, Charlotte Bartolo, Nadine Bartolo and Luisana Bartolo. The latter three started singing together, mainly their father's songs, and later started their own individual careers.

See also

Category:Sammy Bartolo Photos