Terramaxka Magic Guitar

by Antida Cordina
(Valletta, Malta)

I'm sure the word "Terramaxka" still sounds familiar to the many Maltese emigrants who are now in the 60-70 age group.

The word is the broken version of GITTARA MAGICA meaning magic guitar except this was no guitar but a mobile organ that used to go round the streets to entertain the children, especially for a small donation.

It was brightly painted and decorated with moving figurines, elegantly painted clothes "dancing to the tune" to the delight of us all.

I remember begging for a halfpenny to put into the collection box.

The organ was operated by inserting a perforated paper full of notes while the man in charge turned a large wheel at the back.

There is still one in Malta and it's the property of a Dutch gentleman who takes it out on special occasions.

This is a special one not like the ones in Amsterdam where the organ is operated with pipes like the church ones.

So I wish you luck, and maybe you will meet up with this unique piece of Maltese heritage.

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