Traditional music, played on instruments not only unique in the world, but from easily found materials, can make the culturally curious giddy with delight.
Sardinia is an island of music played on such unique instruments, and there are several places to visit where you can learn about the history of the instruments and listen to the music their invention has fostered. We present them below, with a map at the end to pinpoint their locations.
Il laboratorio musicale di Raimondo Usai
Raimondo Usai’s music studio is near the town of San Vero Milis in Oristano province, where the cane used in the island’s iconic instrument, the Launeddas is found, as well as bamboo for traditional flutes and other instruments.
Some of Mr. Usai’s instruments come from recycled materials found along the roadside: bits of metal, spray cans and other tossed-away junk become instruments used by some of Sardinia’s best known musicians, including Cannas et Cordas.
According to Fare i turisti in Oristano, recycled wooden cheese forms, once used in shaping the island’s famous Pecorino cheese (they use plastic forms now), get goat skins stretched over them by Mr. Usai to become drums.
il laboratorio di Raimondo Usai: URM Sonos de Sardigna
via Aragona 17, Seneghe, Italia
Parish Instruments Museum of Popular Music Sarda (Museo degli Strumenti della Musica Popolare Sarda)
In the village of Tadasuni, also near San Vero Milis, you’ll find the small museum run by scholar Don Giovanni Dore. The collection, the result of 20 years of research, contains about 400 rare instruments, some powered by the wind. There is also collection of firearms dating to the 9th century.
Like many small museums in Sardinia, it’s best to call ahead, the museum has no posted hours.
Museo degli Strumenti della Musica Popolare Sarda
via Adua, 7
Museo delle Launeddas
Inside the interesting Casa Zapata, a noble residence built in the 16th century and belonged to the Aragonese Zapata family, you’ll find Casa Zapata, which sits atop an excavation of a Nuraghe called Su Nuraxi ‘e Cresia. You can visit by walking on plexiglass walkways over the excavations. If you zoom into the area on the map below, you can see the excavations extending to the west and south of the main building.
On the grounds you’ll also find a small ethnographic museum which includes the Launeddas Museum; realized from materials donated by Maestro Luigi Lai.
Casa Zapata is located in the town of Barumini, famous for a large Nuragic complex called Su Nuraxi, so you won’t lack for things to do in the area.
Museo Regionale delle Launeddas
Via Giovanni XXIII (c/o polo museale “Casa Zapata”) – Barumini (VS)
Tel. +39 070 9368476
Open all year,
March and November: 10,00-13,30 / 15,00-17,30
April and September: 10:00 – 19:00
May and August: 10:00 – 20:00
October: 10:00 – 18:30
From December to February: 10:00 – 13:30 / 15:00 – 17:00
There is a bar, bookshop and the building has access for persons with disabilities.
Map of the Music Museums
View Sardinia – Musical Instruments in a larger map
And for another unique experience not far from Barumini, see Pinuccio Sciola, the Man Who Make Rocks Sing