A Rare Musical Treasure Trove on the Island of Crete
Hidden away in the hills outside of Crete's capital city, Hiraklion, is a pandora's box for any aficionado of rare musical instruments. From the outside, the Labyrinth Music Workshop looks like an abandoned chateau, lost amongst the Byzantine churches and vineyards of the small village, Houdetsi. The workshop was founded by Irish Lyra prodigy Ross Daly who has been making music on the island since the 1980s. They hold summer workshops here and a fantastic-looking music festival.
But what I fell in love with was his musical instrument collection, a gaggle of exotic pieces from regions spanning Kyrgyzstan to Mongolia. I've never seen a Swedish Nyckelharpa, a Sarinda from Nepal or a Mongolian Morin Khuur in the same vicinity as one another. We showed up there on a Monday morning, before it was open, and I had to roust a man who I later found out to be Mazdak Ferydooni, an Iranian-born luthier, from the atelier in the back to let me in. I'm so glad he obliged!
For music lovers and those wanting to explore a different side of Crete, this is a perfect rendezvous by the island's biggest city.