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Art Discussion Group - Malta

143rd Meeting Artist

Charles Busuttil

Restorer of Fine Musical Instruments

The 143rd Art Discussion Group Meeting will be held on Monday 12th December 2016 at 19.30hrs at St. Mary Band Club, Qrendi, near parish church. ADG is inviting Charles Busuttil a specialist involved in restoring fine instruments ranging from antique and rare violins to mandolins, banjos, guitars and other string instruments. He took after his father Felix who Charles regards as his mentor and friend. 

His father always taught him that if someone else could fix it, he could fix it too. Charles will discuss one of his latest restoration jobs on a lute and will give a presentation about the importance of music as an enjoyable art (not as an academic subject) for young children in helping them cope with problems like bullying, low self-esteem and grief. 

In 1992, while Charles was at university, he started a small part-time hobby of repairing and setting guitars.  He was soon joined by his father who eventually took the position of a respected Luthier, and since his retirement in 2000 has spent all his days at the workshop. In November 2014 Felix died and Charles had to continue on his own imbued and inspired by the tenacity of his late father.

They had attended restoration workshops in Germany and Italy. Over the years they have restored some fine instruments ranging from antique and rare violins to mandolins, banjos, guitars and other string instruments. While the bulk of Charles’ work involves repairs, he has restored some rare and important instruments over the years, including a violin by renowned Italian luthier Giuseppe Guarneri, dating from 1714. The painstaking restoration took him and his father two years to complete. ‘When we heard it played for the first time we cried – it was such a beautiful sound’.

‘Band Aid Music’ Charles’ ‘bottega’ is well-known among musicians in Malta and beyond, with Bryan Adams, Jethro Tull, Zucchero, Tom Jones, Ronan Keating, Michael Bolton and Riccardo Cocciante just some of the many international stars who have sought Charles’s services while visiting the island. He also receives instruments from collectors as far away as the UK and US, who trust Charles more than restorers in their own countries.

Charles has also worked with and for some famous artists like: Alan Parsons, Supertramp, Claudio Baglioni, Lucio Dalla, Marillion, Moby, Matia Bazar, Riccardo Fogli, The Wailers, P.P Arnold, Smokie, Joseph Calleja, James Blunt, Tom Jones, Winter Moods, Jesse Cook, Patty Smith and many more. 

Charles is a science teacher by profession. He does not want to give up his day job. ‘The balance is perfect at the moment: I don’t want to expand because I would have to employ more people, and the personal service I’m known for would be lost’.

Charles will answer questions from the floor regarding his approach and technique in restoration. He will also elaborate about his career and unique tasks that gave him great satisfaction.

01.12. 16


Chairman ADG