Culture
Traditional ‘ghana’ might soon be considered intangible Maltese heritage by UNESCO
The organisation will be taking a final decision on this matter in mid-December.

Benjamin Abela

Maltese ghana – a type of traditional local folk music – might soon be immortalised by the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation) as part of the country’s ‘intangible heritage’.

Many derivatives of ghana have been birthed throughout Malta’s rich history, although the practice is most often split up into ‘informal ghana’, ‘formal ghana’, and spirtu pront.



Credit: Ghanafest - Festivals Malta

‘Informal ghana’ refers to the casual singing sessions men and women would often partake in back in the day. This was seen as a way to pass the time and communicate during hours of recreation and whilst completing household tasks.

‘Formal ghana’ refers to derivatives of the practice that have very clear features. Ghana tal-fatt, for example, is one of such derivatives. This refers to melancholic, ballad-style songs that recounted factual events or well-known stories about local identities.

Last but surely not least is spirtu pront. During a session of spirtu pront, two or more singers would get paired up to participate in an improvised song duel in which they’d flaunt their knowledge of a range of topics as well as their command of Maltese language.



Credit: Ghanafest - Festivals Malta

It just so happens that the UNESCO is now recommending this practice, as well as 47 other practices from around the world, to be considered as an intangible part of their home country’s cultural heritage.

UNESCO will be taking a final decision on this matter in mid-December.

This wouldn’t be the first time an intrinsic element of local culture became ‘intangible Maltese heritage’…

That’s right! Just last year, the ftira, a traditional local bread, was immortalised by the UNESCO in this very same manner.

Let’s hope ghana follows suit soon enough!

30th November 2021


Benjamin  Abela
Written by
Benjamin Abela
Benjamin is a Writer at Content House Group. With his background in journalism, marketing, and the arts, Benjamin enjoys finding the human aspect to any story he gets a hold of. When he's not too busy writing his next article, you could probably find him playing with his cats or performing on a stage.

You may also like...
New & now
New & now
New & now
What a great way to blow off some steam!

Kim Vella
New & now
New & now
This new pitch will be home to Malta's National Football team.

Kim Vella
New & now
New & now
Another call for public art projects coming soon!

Kim Vella
Culture
Culture
Check their performances out for yourself!

Benjamin Abela