Launeddas of Luigi Lai

We present a Sardinian musician with a worldwide reputation. Luigi Lai comments on his instrument, the oldest wind instrument in the Mediterranean: The Launeddas are my life.


He‘s not just a single musician - he‘s a full orchestra. When Luigi Lai, born in San Vito, Sardinia, in 1932 plays his launeddas, he amazes the whole world with the enchanting sound of the Mediterranean‘s oldest wind instrument. He plays it in processions and at parties, on the stages of New York, London, Paris and Brussels, in China und in Australia. Now and again he even plays it at funerals: In Frankfurt, a husband wanted a launeddas concert in memory of his deceased wife who, after a holiday in Sardinia, had listened to the music of Luigi Lai on CD every morning in her house on the Rhine.

The great composer and maestro started playing at the age of eight. He recalls: „The sounds reached me from a backyard and just enchanted me.“ It was when he was still at school that he fi rst learnt how to blow into the two melody pipes (mancosedda and mancosa manna) and drone pipe (tumbu) at the same time. He then took lessons from the great maestro Efisio Lara from Villaputzu and then studied the instrument until he had perfected his playing.

Today, he plays alongside the great virtuosi of contemporary music, such as Angelo Branduardi and Paolo Fresu and has founded a school of music for children and young people.

When Luigi Lai plays the launeddas, it seems as if the sounds of the violin, the flute, the oboe, the tambourine, the bassoon, the piano and the harpsichord are all ringing out at the same time - but it is only the launeddas. The pipes blend into a unique resonating body, which has, as it were, been entrusted to a unique director. „The launeddas is my life.“ It is also the most harmonious voice of Sardinia, the jewel of the Mediterranean.

(Text Giacomo Mameli)