I leave early from Poggio dei Pini towards Capoterra. I go back to the village center to take a snapshot as the weather has improved and then I head towards Uta. I cycle through a granite area crossed by several streams that show all the signs of heavy rains this year. Behind me the slopes of Mount Arcosu where there is the WWF nature reserve. I descend into the floodplain and arrive at the industrial area of Macchiareddu, shared by the municipalities of Assemini, Capoterra and Uta. In the middle of wind farms and blades I have to travel a stretch of 4 lanes road, fortunately not very busy today. And shortly after I enter Uta.
The Vice Mayor MIchela and Councilor Michela, are waiting for me at the Town Hall (yay … a name less to remember!) And I tell my project in front of all the staff of the municipality gathered in the council hall! The dozens of olive trees struck me out in the square, someone probably centuries old, well cared for, which give this vast space something magical. The back wall of the town hall is decorated by a beautiful mural with a contemporary taste of the author Tellas representing an olive branch.
We take a tour and first stop at the Romanesque church of Santa Maria, right at the edge of the village. This was the old original core of Uta, which was then abandoned because it was a place of continuous floods. Uta is located near the two large rivers, the Cixerri and the Flumini Mannu (large river), which have influenced its development. Although we are in the plains, there was a low and a high area of the country (the ancient Uda ‘low’ and Uda ‘up’). The displacement of rivers and the construction of large banks have made the country much safer, despite some recent floods. The church is magnificent, white-yellowish limestone, well preserved both inside and outside. All around a beautiful park, with centenary olive trees. I notice a wooden cabin, containing books, a book-sharing station recently installed by the library.
Back to the center, we visit the church of Santa Giusta, the patron saint, in a beautiful square, overlooked by well-kept historic houses. From a courtyard you can see a beautiful building all in brick of ladiri. Not far from here, another beautiful contemporary mural depicting the river and its life, by Crisa.
In the evening we visit the Civic School of Music. We find Luca, the piano teacher, who remembers having played with me in a jam session a few years ago! A beautiful reality to give the opportunity to young and old to get closer to music. Soon after we go to the library where Ignazia awaits us for tea and cookies. Here, we gather some book browsers, four little girls and a couple of elderly people and we have a chat about my project. As always they all listen to me with amazement and the little girls ask me a lot of questions.
At the end of the evening we are joined by the Mayor Giacomo and before dinner we go to the rehearsal room at the multi-purpose center, where there is also the library. Here, different groups meet to play and tonight we meet some guys, some coming from neighboring countries, who play original music, post-punk, fresh. This ferment that comes from the ‘suburbs’ gives me some hope that the modern Sardinian music scene is reborn, a bit like it was until the 90s, and that will replace the karaoke!
SHORT SARDINIAN STORIES
Uta has given birth to two sisters musicians who now beat the international scenes, Paola and Sara Meloni. I have known them since the Conservatoire, very young, Paola pianist, lives and works in Paris. Sara violinist, I don’t understand where she lives, in recent years from the social media I’ve been seeing her around the world in the most varied situations, from baroque music to contemporary minimalism of our common friend Stefano Guzzetti. With Sara we shared a few years in the course of composition, the death (and funeral) of our beloved master Giampiero Cartocci, years of orchestra of the students of the Conservatory, and a production at the opera house of Sassari.
Today I think of Sara and I wonder where in the world she is. When we go to the library with the councilor Michela, we meet two ladies, one of whom I remember I met. I stop her and ask her “are you Sara’s mother?”. It’s her! I had only seen her once, about 12 years ago, but I recognised the family air. We take a selfie, which I immediately send to Sara. The answer is immediate “I’m in Uta! But I’m leaving tomorrow for a tour in the United States! “The meeting is a must. Sara joins me at the pizzeria and we spend the night remembering stories and telling us about these last years around the world.
I must admit, years ago I had a ‘soft spot’ for Sara, so much so that at that time I wrote a tune (or even more than one) dedicated to her. One day when coming back from Uta, I whistled a tune and decided to name it ‘The Plain of Uta’. Given the jazz style I decided to ‘Americanize’ the title in ‘The Plains of Utah’. For a while the title remained that. One day, looking at an atlas, I realised that in Utah there is not the hint of a plain, all mountains! So the song was renamed and remained ‘Plains’ (Pianure).