Loretu Vella tas-Siċċu

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Loretu Vella tas-Siċċu

Loretu Vella tas-Siċċu

is an Australia-based folk singer. Vella was born in Xewkija in Gozo, on the 27th September 1951.

In 1970, he emigrated as an eighteen year old to Sydney. Both his parents were from Xewkija. In his mother country he was exposed to għana through the local Rediffusion cable service programme on Sunday morning.

However, it was in Australia that he took to folk singing, first during informal folk singing sessions held around 1976 and 1978 in a garage owned by Joe Sciberras Il-Bażiż in the Sydney district of Merrylands and later on at the Maltese club in Blacktown.

He folk sang in improvised verse, usually with Salvu Galea Tal-Kalora, Ġanni Zammit Is-Sigar and Joe Vella Il-Bokser at various venues, including the Wentworthville Hall, close to Parramatta, which seated 150 people.

Together with Salvu Galea Tal-Kalora, they wrote a ballad Tal-Kaċċa, which recalls their hunting exploits, together with Żeppi Il-Galluwwa for wild hog, known as razorbacks in Lightning Ridge and Walgate in New South Wales.

He also co-wrote another ballad Il-Għarqa tal-Luzzu, penned with fellow native villager Kiku Azzopardi, in remembrance of the latter's father Mikiel, who drowned when a fishing boat, ferrying passengers from Malta to Gozo, sunk off Ħondoq ir-Rummien on the 30th October 1948. The boat belonged to Karmenu Grima Ta' Ħariru from Qala.

Karmnu Spiteri and Mikiel Azzopardi

Nine of the twenty-three victims hailed from Xewkija. It contains forty quatrains. It has been sung by Leli Debrincat Il-Prins, also originally from Xewkija.

This tragedy compelled another ballad writer, Żeppi Spagnol Il-Kelba, to write a different ballad about it.

Loretu Vella is unsure if a recording of the Gozitan version of Il-Għarqa tal-Luzzu exists.

Loretu Vella tas-Siċċu

During a visit to his native Malta, he folk sang in għana events in Żejtun on the on 17 and 26 July 2013. In the latter he exchanged improvised verse with Leli Ellul Il-Beġiġ, in a session that included Żaren Ellul ta' Fellusu, Frans Cassar Il-Bloqq, Mario Gravina s-Sipa and Fredu Desira l-Indjan.

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