Persisting on the Sideline – part 2

Glen Sacco

Vida speaks to Glenn Sacco, guitarist and sitarist, about his love for an ethnic hand-made Indian instrument little heard of in Malta, in a day and age very often dominated by the latest electronic instruments.

“I’ve been playing the guitar since I was 13, and my passion for it is particular, for it is the very first instrument I started playing. However, the first time I laid my eyes on the Sitar I fell instantly in love; its resonance and the way it looked made me want one there and then!

About 12 years ago, whilst watching a documentary about India’s culture, I learned how the sitar is manually built. Made out of a pumpkin base, it’s finished with hand carved wood. I was extremely astonished by the way such a large instrument is put together, and it’s all by the hands of cheap labour. In Malta, no one really teaches the Sitar and as a result I have been learning it mainly on my own, like for some three hours a day. A great friend of mine, Toni Curmi, another Sitar player in Malta, assists me a lot, so much so that I recently got contacted by an Indian professional Sitarist, Raju Chakraborty, who after having followed me on social media offered me lessons via Skype.

I still recall the very first time I held the Sitar in my hands. Being a huge instrument, it is challenging indeed to balance, as there is a particular position I have to set myself in. The first time I even asked myself “What have I done?”, but peope tend to get surprised the first time they see it, and curious too. I get people asking me about its origin and many are amused by the sound of it. The Maltese are still getting used to it though. I’ve had an opportunity to showcase it at this year’s edition of Earth Garden, but I had to miss out on the opportunity due to an injury. Then I planned a surprise for my wedding Day which turned out to be a huge success, posted also on Facebook by 89.7 Bay. Although the Ethnic genre is not currently so popular in Malta, I believe that people are getting to like it. Moreover, Earth Garden and Resonance Festivals are getting more popular each year.

Ironically, so far I have never been interested in playing Maltese instruments, but if an opportunity presents itself, I guess I will think about that too!”

© 2016 – VIDA Magazine – Clifford Jo Żahra

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