Music of Sardinia

Music of Sardinia
Sardinia is home to one of the oldest forms of vocal polyphony, generally known as cantu a tenore in 2005, Unesco classed the canto a tenore among intangible world heritage.
Several famous musicians have found it irresistible, including Frank Zappa, Ornette Coleman, and Peter Gabriel. The latter travelled to the town of Bitti in the central mountainous region and recorded the now world-famous Tenores di Bitti CD on his Real World label. The guttural sounds produced in this form make a remarkable sound, similar to Tuvan throat singing. Another polyphonic style of singing, more like the Corsican paghjella and liturgic in nature, is found in Sardinia and is known as cantu a cuncordu.

Another unique instrument is the launeddas. Three reed-canes (two of them glued together with beeswax) produce distinctive harmonies, which have their roots many thousands of years ago, as demonstrated by the bronzette from Ittiri, of a man playing the three reed canes, dated to 2000 BC.

Beyond this, the tradition of cantu a chiterra (guitar songs) has its origins in town squares, when artists would compete against one another. The most famous singer of this genre are Maria Carta and Elena Ledda.

Sardinian culture is alive and well, and young people are actively involved in their own music and dancing. In 2004, BBC presenter Andy Kershaw travelled to the island with Sardinian music specialist Pablo Farba and interviewed many artists. His programme can be heard on BBC Radio 3. Sardinia has produced a number of notable jazz musicians such as Antonello Salis, Marcello Melis, and Paolo Fresu.

The main opera houses of the island are the Teatro Lirico in Cagliari and the Teatro Verdi in Sassari (soon to be replaced by the new Teatro Auditorium Comunale).
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