Leli Cilia ta' Żabett
Leli Cilia ta' Żabett was a renowned folk singer. Born on the 14th April 1889, he hailed from Żebbuġ, Malta. His father was Ċikku, his mother Eliżabetta, popularily known as Żabett, hence his nickname.
Contemporary enthusiasts refer to him as a folk singer who sang written songs, and not one who was known for his improvised verse, perhaps the most telling model. Cilia was enlisted as a soldier with the Maltese medical corps, based at Fort St. Elmo. He was known for his folk singing, perhaps an adversary of Ġużeppi Xuereb Ix-Xudi, and in June 1931 and August 1932 he was contracted by HMV to record folk recordings on shellac records, the 78rpm known as diski tal-faħam in Milan, Italy.
Amongst his famous releases there is the ballad Arturo u Maria, registered in an abridged version due to recording technicalities. The shellac recordings were re-released in digital format by Andrew Alamango on the 28th November 2010.
Cilia passed away in June 1967, at the age of 78.