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Tenores di Bitti "Mialinu Pira"      foto di Renato Brotzu






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The a cantu a tenore was proclaimed by the UNESCO  in 2005  "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity"





The Tenores di Bitti "Mialinu Pira"

Historical information and description of the songs

Examples audio, video,mp3 and texts of the songs

Who Michelangelo "Mialinu Pira" was?

Gianfranco's Memory

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 The group was born in Sardinia and takes its name from the well-known anthropologist Michelangelo “Mialinu” Pira from Bitti.

The Tenores di Bitti “Mialinu Pira” have a special place amongst the many groups in Sardinia. Having a style which is slightly less rough than that of other quartets, exemplary researchers in their heritage, impeccable executors with exceptional vocal quality, adorable people, they have reached a level of excellence and of admiration which is without equal in Sardinia and in the whole world. Their frequent performances on so many national television programs are to be remembered. In the last few years they've been touring extensively Europe (France, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Czech Republic, Spain, Belgium, Nederland, Austria, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Swiss, Ireland, Croatia, Serbia, Lithuania, Tunisia, Hunghery, United Arab Emirates, Brazil , Japan and Israel). It is also remarkable their participation in 2001 to the Christmas Concert in the Vatican for the Pope Giovanni Paolo II, the concert on May 2009 in the Concertgebouw Theatre in Amsterdam and in December in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. The Tenores di Bitti “Mialinu Pira”, having performed for so many years, is nowadays considered from music-fans and etno-musicologists the most prominent example of this vocal art. There are many points that make them so special : the cantu a tenore is still well alive in Sardinia performed by many groups, most of them are old singers performing traditional texts. Their young age is a first approach to notice how their sound, harsh and ancestral, is in fact very homogeneous. Their perfect tuning and their powerful sound is very rare today, because this skill needs years of practice and passion to be performed at its best.

Another matter to be pointed is their accuracy in choosing lyrics. Both in dancing (lestru, dillu, seriu, passu torrau,) and slow (isterrita, boch'e notte) forms, the lyrics , by famous poets or from misknown contemporary authors, make the repertoire of Tenores di Bitti “Mialinu Pira” an important vehicle of literary transmission. These songs are profane poems speaking about the shepherds and their solitude in touch with the nature, referring to the popular world and its traditions. The religious’ songs are performed in church, in particular moments of the liturgical year (Christmas, Easter or patronal feasts) or during the religious processions through the street of the village of Bitti. The Grobbes and some lullabies for Baby Jesus (su Nenneddu) belong to this repertoire.

The group works carefully for the preservation of this tradition by keeping courses in the school(on 1999 they have kept a  Regional course for Tenores Singers)  and  trying to merge this traditional singing with other genres of music as classical , on theatres ….  

Directly from the heartland of Sardinia, the city of Bitti in the region of Barbagia, known for its polyphonic singing, which many experts find one of the most expressive forms of singing, the highest peak of vocal art - come Tenores di Bitti "Mialinu Pira", which is the nickname and the surname of the famous anthropologist Michelangelo Pira. When one hears the songs for the first time they might seem primitive and hard, like a voyage in the prehistoric age, when people imitated the sounds of nature. However, four man voices one of which chants the main melody and the other three accompany it in rhythmic pronunciation of syllables, together with the guttural emission of the voice which remind us of the primitive vocal music from Oceania and Africa, one achieves an unusual harmony and a pleasant singing.

The Tenores’ singing is one of the more ancient ways of singing in the Mediterranean area .Nothing about its origins is sure, but the historians maintain that this traditional polyphony goes back  to 3000 years ago.

The singing is made by four male voices (oche, mesu oche, bassu and contra), the main feature of this polyphony is represented by “bassu” and “contra”  because of their guttural and ancestral sound. The songs are profane poems speaking about the shepherds and their solitude in touch with the nature, or religious, referring to the popular world and its traditions.

All the members have been learning the traditional singing since they were children.



Foto di Renato Brotzu














Udienza Papale 13 Dicembre 2001. Concerto di Natale in Vaticano



Management and Booking:

Omar Bandinu

via Brescia n 17, 08021 Bitti (Nu)

tel. +39 3_4_7_8_5_2_9_5_8_4
tel. +39 0784/415042

fax. +39 02 700 314 73

Sardegna Italy