Talk:John Laus Il-Lajżer

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Il-Lajżer?

I have followed John Laus on and off for many years but I've never heard him called "Il-Lajżer". This is not so say that he is not referred to by this name in certain quarters. However, even his official releases don't bear this name. So I suggest that the main entry for John Laus is simply called John Laus. If there's a need for disambiguation we should then introduce the name Il-Lajżer as originally proposed. Still, it may be a good idea to keep this original name as a direct page for anyone searching for precisely this nickname. It should also, obviously, be retained in the body of the text. --Toni Sant (talk) 10:34, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

Folksingers, like other village folk have a nickname which in Maltese is more complex and elaborate. There is the laqam, nisba and kunje. Let us assume that we have an individual, officially known as John Borg, publicly called Ġanni Borg with a nickname Ġanni x-Xewwiex, a nisba Ġanni l-Qormi and a kunje Ġanni ta' Mananni. All four refer to the same person. I have had a number of folksingers that are called, or named on the folksinger's poster, called il-karta, various nicknames with no authority at all.
For example in Żebbuġ, Żeppi Ellul is known as Żeppi ta' Fellusu, but when folksinging out of town, he becomes Żeppi ż-Żebbuġi. The same happened with Gabriel il-Qormi, whom I list as Ġabriel Iż-Żeżin as he is called in his hometown. Another example is Fredu Cassar, simply known as Fredu l-Għawdxi, who as we speak is back in Gozo from Australia. Now that would create an issue for Gozitans, so I refer to him as they know him Fredu Cassar ta' Bakkar Omxot. In the running text, I always include words such as known as l-Għawdxi In għana, a respected folksinger shall have the honour of having his surname omitted, and thus we have Ninu l-Kalora.
Third division folksingers sometimes are called by their surname. I need not give examples here.
Re- John Laus, I also know him as Il-Laus, but John J. Cassar gives the nickname Il-Lajżer. One can confirm this when I get to interview him. It could be that the re-branding came after the famous folk singing split that John had with Mikiel Abela l-Bambinu in the late Sixties, when he sought to fraternize with Leli Mifsud Is-Surġent, but wasn't accepted in the Rabat clan of folkies. He then moved to makkjetti and is one of the most known of all time, as you rightly state Il-Laus. Mario Axiaq chatted with me last night that Laus is from Qormi, but Cassar refers to Gżira. This boils down to where one lives or is from, like Iċ-Ċiranu or Ir-Ruman.
However, back to Laus, we need to recall that open reel recordings from the Sixties prior to his decision to go it alone, most probably refer to him with his family nickname. I shall give you another example, through an internal email. Rest assured that I added it with intent.
Steve Borg
Steve, this is all quite fascinating! I say this not only from an anthropological/cultural perspective but also from the point of view of the way we develop a style guide on this wiki. I am particularly keen to see us have clear ways to capture alternative and/or stage names for artists, some of which they may or may not embrace themselves. It's also quite pertinent in this context to consider the towns or villages with which people are associated. In some cases this is rather clean cut, in others, especially younger generations, this may prove to be problematic, as almost everyone is born at St Luke's and now Mater Dei.
As long as we're aware of these issues, and I mean generally and not just in the case of this entry, I'm happy for you to continue exploring ways to address these anomalies in the foreseeable future. Perhaps this is something we can discuss with Mario and whoever else is present at the upcoming M3P:Editathon 2013. --Toni Sant (talk) 15:30, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
In Malta, the locality of one's provenance is where he is actually baptized, not the hospital where he is born. My sister and I were both born in British military hospitals but I was baptized in Marsascala and she was baptized in Senglea. Therefore, for us she is known as being of ta' Ċaċu, from Senglea.
Steve Borg (talk) 19:04, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
This is a very interesting perspective in terms of provenance. So, as Malta becomes more secular, how do we determine provenance for anyone who is not baptized? If we are indeed to adopt the baptism location within the official M3P guidelines (which are currently a word-in-progress), how do we decide and/or provide guidance on people who are not baptized. This may be a rather small number for those born in the 20th century and earlier, but I suspect that we'll get more and more of these as things progress. --Toni Sant (talk) 09:05, 21 August 2013 (UTC)


Steve Borg Most probably they shall revert to where the baby was being brought up. In Malta, to prove once's provenance we say twedilt u trabbejt in-Naxxar. You can also be baptized in one locality and then grow about in another.

Thus we see that Etienne Pawney, whose father is James Pawney - doesn't have a Maltese nickname since he is of Scottish ancestry. If you notice his bio which I compiled, I said that he was baptized in Bormla, but grew up in Naxxar. This was made to distinguish the folksinger's provenance. One needs to understand that the folksinging community is very proud of its għannejja primi (Premier division folksingers) since for them this manifests their role in maintaining our musical tradition. For example, if we observe Żeppi l-Folki, in my research he was originally listed as from Birżebbuġa. It transpired that he was a Żejtuni, even though he lived for decades in Il-Bajja ta' San Ġorġ - Żejtun folk enthusiasts wouldn't give him up, considering he was an għannej prim, i.e. another feather to their cap and their claim as being the għana capital. He would have probably been disowned had he been a lower division one, since all this is linked with the element of pride.

Etienne Pawney decided to be called In-Naxxari (since he didn't grow up in Bormla, but didn't have a Maltese family nickname to use, so he is actually using the nisba, not the laqam. I know it is complex, but these issues were never really discussed in an open fora.

Steve Borg (talk) 09:46, 21 August 2013 (UTC) Steve Borg