traditional folktales, shadow puppetry, digital animation and contemporary music

ĦREJJEF ‘Maltese Folktales’ is a captivating, interdisciplinary production which brings together traditional folktales, shadow puppetry, digital animation and contemporary music. At its core lies a collection of Maltese folktales, presented in the style of a traditional storyteller accompanied by a live piano score that acts as a soundtrack to the stories. The digital animations have been developed to imitate the style of traditional shadow puppetry. The ‘puppets’ are highly ornamented with decorative perforations inspired by Maltese baroque motifs, filigree, traditional lace and other folk-art aesthetic attributes. While the actor narrates the folktales, the characters of the stories come to life in the silver screen.

ĦREJJEF is a Soundscapes production:conceived and composed by Ruben Zahra; script: Trevor Zahra; animation produced by Shadeena, directed and animated by Martin Bonniċi; production design by Nel Pace; Videos commissioned by Żigużajg Arts Festival for Children & Young People.

“A combination of tradition and technology,
ĦREJJEF is the perfect introduction to the cultural heritage of Malta!”

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Washington DC, Oct 2013

“a tour de force of storytelling”

Cape Town Fringe Festival, Oct 2015

“a captivating interdisciplinary production”

AMAZE ME published by RESEO – European Network of Opera & Dance in Education Brussels, 2013


In the press

“a captivating interdisciplinary production”

Amaze Me published by RESEO – European Network of Opera & Dance in Education
Brussels, 2013


“Ruben Zahra works internationally as a composer and his contribution to the revival of traditional local instruments has become a notable cultural export.”

First Magazine – Malta, 2010


“these compositions, played with considerable verve and delicacy … function to support the reading in the way that the piano was used in the silent film era”

Erik Keilholtz for RootsWorld – USA, 2010