Vinny Vella

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Mro Vinny Vella

Ċensu Vella born in Valletta and studied music on his own at a very young age but in 1943 he took his first lessons under the guide-ship of Fr. Vincent Caruana. At the time he was employed with the Government Information Office as a National Service Boy Scout. He continued his music studies with Maestro Joseph Casapinta, the famous clarinetist Wiġi Bonnici, the American Guies Wilson and studied harmony and counterpoint with Maestro Carmelo Pace. Through a correspondence course he got in touch with the famous Leslie Evans who led Vinny to graduate and receive his diploma-and their great friendship endures up to this day. Leslie Evans still lives in London.

In 1947 at a very young age Vinny was invited to play clarinet solo at Villa Bellini in Catania.

In 1948 he formed his first twelve-piece orchestra, Vinny's Blue Jackets made up of his two brothers, the late Sunny (Emmanuel Vella -drummer who passed away in 1979 at the age of 48 years) and Dominic Vella - bass.

Vinny became a member of the Performance Rights Society in 1959 and is the first founder of the Musicians Union in Malta.

As time went by Vinny gained more popularity. His orchestra was one of Malta's number one. At every popular spot one would find his orchestra entertaining.

Vinny and his orchestra hosted their majesties when visiting the Island.

He is still well remembered for his performances in famous Carnival Dances, known locally as il-Viljuni tal-Karnival. His Carnival success continued rapidly for years from 1951 up to 1981.

Vinny and his orchestra performed at the dances organised by the U.D.O. held at the Phoenicia Ballroom every Sunday. These used to be packed with his fans as everyone always had a very good time with his entertainment.

Between 1952 and 1981 Vinny and his band used to perform daily at the Cafe' Premier at Piazza Reġina in Valletta. Later Vinny and his band performed regularly at the Malta Hilton, Hotel Cavalieri and the Galaxy Hotel in Sliema.

In 1956 whilst Vinny was travelling abroad with Xercarm (one of Vinny's musicians, a well-known and able sax tenor) they met Billy Haley who was on tour in London. Billy Haley encouraged Vinny to introduce in Malta Rock 'n Roll music. Vinny was so taken in by this type of music that Billy Haley himself gave him a few numbers. With these and others, which he managed to get from music agents in London, he concentrated to make these musical arrangements during his trip back to Malta. He worked night and day as he travelled by train from Paris to Catania.

In 1959, Vinny was asked to perform with Tony Hancock, well known as a radio star and comedian and widely followed on the BBC Radio.

They travelled together to Tripoli as The Tony Hancock Show and his Colleagues' to entertain the services.

Vinny and his orchestra have performed with well known European artistes, such as Bobby Solo, Albano, Betty Curts, I Quartette Cetra, Sergio Bruni, I Quartette Due piu Due, Tony del Monaco, Tony Dallara, Wilma de Angelis, Neville Taylor, Terry Dean, Jean Pateau and many others.

When Vinny was touring Italy in the early sixties, he was meant to play at the Lido Ferrara in Reggio Calabria for the Fiera d'agosto. Betty Curtis who was going to perform there at the same time, had found out whilst still in Milan that Vinny will be performing there too and she insisted that when she will be in Reggio Vinny and his orchestra perform with her. In fact when Johnny Dorelli, another Italian well known personality found out about Ms Curtis's decision, he too wanted Vinny and his orchestra to form part of his performance.

Ms Curtis was so much taken in by Vinny and his orchestra that she wanted to sign them up for her tour of Australia. Unfortunately due to the many other commitments the orchestra was already contracted to, this was not possible.

At Reggio Calabria, Vinny and his orchestra were such a success that they were asked to perform at the Casino delle Rose in Rome.

In 1970, Vinny and his band went on tour with the Omega Company in Rome, Zurich, Berlin, Stockholm, Antwerp, Paris and Milan. In Milan they participated in the Mediterranean Traditional Jazz Festival.

Conventions organised by big companies such as Tupperware International used his services. Most of Malta's celebrities started their carrier with Vinny. Vinny and his orchestra were synonymous with local song festivals and shows such as the [[Miss Malta Competition].

Many have beautiful memories of Vinny and his band's performance at the Chalet in Sliema, the Rocky Vale in Spinola, Cafe' Rich in Cottonera, Tivoliand the Palace Hall in Paola and the Coronation Hall in Marsa.

When the British Services were in Malta, Vinny and his band used to entertain at their headquarters.

He has composed few melodies still played on the Maltese radio and television.

For the last 3 years Vinny has his own radio program on the Maltese national radio station on MW band, entitled Dak Kien Żmien (Those were the Days).

He got a son Vinny Vella Jnr has so successfully followed in his father's footsteps. He plays the piano and has his own band.

See also

Category:Vinny Vella Photos