Tony Camilleri and Frank O'Neill
This duo begain when Frank O'Neill first met with Tony Camilleri who had won with the 1974 edition with It-Tieġ tan-Neputija. They discovered that both played at the same venue..on different days. So they decided to join forces and instantly clicked.
As a duo Frank and Tony covered many artists inc Beatles, Stones, Dylan etc. In one Folk Festival Frank had three songs pass so he sang one. Dgħajsa Lewn Ħamran. Tony sang X'rat il-Gardjola and Carmelo Borg sang Imħabba f’Kemmuna which later we recorded as a duo.
Tony and Frank became very popular because of TV programes like Kantina Folk which launched The Greenfields and many artistes. At the same time he joined a band called Razzamajazz which mainly played Dixieland style..in fact he played banjo as well as guitar.
Frank was the only Maltese as the rest of this six piece band were British servicemen. They were also very popular and played all the Service Venues, RAF, ARMY NAVY, ships, aircraft and even an Aircraft Carrier. This carried on till 1979 when the services left for good. Frank also did some stints on BFBS Radio during Folk Programes. Thanks to this connection he was given the opportunity to record an album Man of Galilee in their studios with the Stella Maris College Boys Choir and Young People’s Orchestera. Frank had written and composed the songs previously and they told the story of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus in a simple melodic way. The irony was that while they were recording this album, the studios were being dismantled around us..it was 1978 and the album would be released in 1979 the Year of the Child.
In the meantime Tony and Frank had released It-Tieġ tan-Neputija and Rajt Ma' Rajtx and these were an instant hit. This was followed by Imħabba f’Kemmuna and Ma'Nħallikx a song used by Air Malta’s Advert and played on BBC TV on prime time.
This was followed by many other International Festivals in Libya, Tunisia etc. In 1977 Frank took a group of youngsters who sang in the same festival.
1978 was a special year as besides our popularity in Malta they were requested in Canada. Having joined the folklore group Viva Malta they were asked to participate in the Edmonton Commonwealth Games which for the first time introduced the Commonwealth Cultural Fest. They met groups from all over the globe inc Australia, Canada, N.Zealand, Africa etc.
The group was very popular as they had a repertoire which made it easy to intermingle with most participants. After the end of the games they went down to Toronto and USA to entertain our fellow Maltese who received us enthusiastically. So popular were that Tony and Frank were Invited back to Toronto the following year 1979.
The following years they took part in other Festivals inc the Malta Song Festival with European Girl which was the year when Malta stopped participating in Eurovision.
In 1982 another Commonwealth Festival was held in Brisbane Australia and Tony and Frank joined Viva Malta once more in this brilliant and unforgettable celebration. They also visited Maltese Communities in Sydney and Melbourne performing and entertaining with our repertoire.We also recorded our first cassette L-Ittra which sold out in Australia in the first days. L-Ittra had placed second in the [[Malta International Festival 1981.
Tony and Frank joined Charles City Gatt, Joe Grech, and others to take part in a Festival in Algeria in 1984. So many events. Tony and Frank sang in many big events and were the last singers to sing in the show near the Monument tal-Ħelsien as the Union Jack went down and the Maltese flag was hoisted up.
In 1986 Tony and Frank decided to part their ways. After 11 interesting and exciting years it was time for a change.