Folk music is a living tradition in Malta and Gozo. It is commonly known that the Maltese have always been fond of having a good time. This, paired with singing and dancing, is a recipe for fun for the Maltese.
However, during the days of the Knights of St John, folk music was always looked down upon. Despite this, folk music and dancing continued to flourish in Malta since for the vast majority, it provided a sense of relief, and a means to express joy, sorrows, and aspirations. In more ways than one, it also fulfilled a social need.
Most folklore dances used to be accompanied by a variety of Maltese instruments one of them being the Maltese bagpipe, commonly known as iz-zaqq. This is not like any other common bagpipe since it is made out of the skin of an animal, generally of a prematurely born calf or goat. The complete skin of the animal is used in the making of these bagpipes including all four legs and its tail. The chanter consists of two adjacent pipes, the left one having five fingerholes and the right one with one and it ends with a large cattle horn.
The Maltese tambourine is also commonly used in folk music, together with the bagpipe and the accordion. The tambourine frequently has metal discs and pellet bells attached.
Maltese folklore dancing has remained a tradition that is highly searched for by tourists and locals alike. In fact, a few restaurants in Malta offer dinner with folklore dancing as part of their entertainment. Apart from the folk music re-enactment, dancers also wear traditional Maltese costumes as part of their act to complete the look.