Joseph Galea OAM
With his guitar and knowledge of Maltese folk music, Joseph Galea OAM has spent 40 years filling a hole that Australia’s establishing Maltese community initially didn’t know it had.
“In 1975 I was asked to play folklore guitar songs by the Maltese Council in Sydney,” he recalls. “I was in a band playing rock and roll, but when I was asked to play at this special event, it sparked a lot of interest. The community was hungry for the culture that they had left behind in Malta. There was a thousand people at that event and they reacted so strongly to hearing their music, their culture.”
Ever since, Mr Galea has been taking Maltese folk music not only to the Maltese community, but to wider audiences and including Italian and Spanish songs in his repertoire.
“There is still work to do in maintaining connection with Maltese culture, particularly as the original cohort of Maltese migrants is ageing.”
“I came to Australia when I was ten years old. I loved Australia as soon as we docked in Fremantle. I loved the coast line and the wide open spaces.”
On being awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia, Mr Galea says, “I am humbled and honoured and would like to acknowledge my wife’s support and contribution as well. We have a lot to thank Australia for.”