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Folk Music from Crete and other places

    George Xylouris (Psarogiorgis) along with Andreas Arvanitis, lyre/ askompantoura and Yiannis Zannis, tabla/ percussion

    Wednesday, July 3rd, 21:00
    Horto Theatre

    PsarogiorgisGeorge Xylouris, “Psarogiorgis”, was born in Anogia, a village in Crete with a long tradition of poetry, dance and music. He grew up there within the well-known musical family of Xylouris. In this environment, with music ever present, George naturally turned to it. He began to play the mandolin, lyre and lute, which would eventually become his main instrument of expression. Hanging out with friends, serenades, deeply human relationships and experiences stood as the basis of the sound that would later define his musical personality.

    He was guided by his father, Psarantonis, a pioneer lyra player and composer of Cretan music, whom he has been accompanying intensively since the age of 11 from celebrations, folk gatherings, nightclubs of Crete and Athens to festivals and concerts in Europe and further abroad, in America and Australia. He was also influenced by his uncles; Psarogiannis, a leading lute player of his time, and the legendary Nikos Xylouris. These familiar figures for George at that time would determine the later course of Cretan music.

    At a young age, seventeen, he began working with Labyrinth, a musical organization founded by Ross Daly, based on the music of the Eastern Mediterranean. Today George teaches the lute, conducts workshops, recordings and participates in performances within Labyrinth.

    At the age of eighteen the great lyre teacher, Kostas Moundakis, invited him and to record together for the music department of the University of Crete.

    From 1989 to 1997, he lived in Melbourne, where he formed the “Xylouris Ensemble” with musicians from different cultures. Together they created a distinctive sound, which will become a spark of inspiration for the younger generation of Cretan musicians. They recorded five albums and repeatedly toured Australia and Europe. It was then that George would meet “Dirty Three” (Jim White, Warren Ellis, Mick Turner). He collaborated and recorded with them at that time, which much later led to the formation of “Xylouris White”.

    In 1997 he returned to Crete, and in his familiar environment he continues to perform and record with well-known musicians of the local music scene. He develops an authentic style with a wide sonic range that has become a reference and inspiration for the younger generation of Cretan lute players.

    He collaborates with artists such as Nikos Veliotis, Yannis Angelakas, Ross Daly, Stelios Petrakis, Achilleas Persidis and others. Since 2013 he has been collaborating with the Australian drummer Jim White in the band “Xylouris White”. Together they have recorded five albums, all produced by Guy Picciotto of Fugazi. “Xylouris White” have toured extensively around the world, invited by world, jazz, rock, country, electronic music festivals.

    Recently George and his children, Nikos, Adonis and Apollonia and the Netherlands Blazers Ensemble performed “Rameau and the Greeks” at the Athens Concert Hall and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. A musical performance with the NBE wind orchestra, lyre, lutes and percussion, which was a great success and was warmly received by the audience.

    He has performed with Jem Cohen’s “Gravity Hill”, based in New York, where he, along with Jim White, Guy Picciotto, DJ Rupture, play live at the screenings of Jem Cohen’s short films.

    Currently, George is also presenting his solo concert, “Psaris”, performing with his lute and voice, which embodies his musical experience, independent expression and personal style. His music is the soundtrack of the film “A Family Affair”, directed by Angeliki Aristomenopoulou (Anemon, 2015) in which he also stars. The film approaches George’s life and musical journeys.

    Restless and resourceful in the face of new challenges, he is working on and recording his first solo album, which reflects some of the research and demanding choices he has made over the years.

    AndreasAndreas Arvanitis, was born in 1988 in Athens and he begun his musical studies with the piano. He is a graduate of the Music Lyceum of Ilion which is where he first came in contact with traditional Cretan music through the Cretan lyra.

    He also plays the Cretan laouto, the mandolin, and various wind instruments.

    He has recorded and performed with many folk musicians (Michalis Stavrakakis, Psarantonis, Psarogiorgis, Nikos Xylouris and Antonis Xylouris, Paris Perisinakis, Kostis Avissinos, Giorgos Skordalos, Karolos Kouklakis and Eirini Derempei) as well as other musicians (Nikos Mamangakis, Miltiadis Pashalidis, Kostas Leivadas, Kristi Stassinopoulou, Maria Koti, Palyrria, Eleni Vitali, Nikos Ksidis, Sadahzinia).

     

    Zannis YiannisYannis Zannis, born in Athens and started learning western classical guitar in a very young age. In 1999 he got in touch with Tabla and Indian classical music. He stayed and study in India for more than 15 years under the guidance of great masters such as Pt.Subhankar Banerjee and others. He has been trained to all the four different aspects of classical Tabla playing, which are accompaniment of vocal, instrumental music, kathak dance and playing Tabla solo. 

    His studies on Indian classical music  together with his Greek / Mediterranean origin, helped him create a unique style of accompanying different kinds of traditional and modal music, with a very sensitive approach on the tuning and the sound of the Tabla drums. 

    He has taught and performed Indian classical music at Labyrinth Musical Workshop in Crete, and other places in Greece and Europe. He has participated in collaborations of Indian and contemporary music, with artists like Ross Daly, Petroloukas Halkias, Giorgis Xylouris, Pt.Rajendra Prasana, Takis Barberis, Sugata Roy Chowdhury, Samvad Duo, Reshma Srivastava, Jihan Turkoglou and others.

    In 2021 he released together with Giorgos Papaioannou the album BORAGO, with modal music compositions influenced by Greek, Turkish, Indian and Persian musical traditions. 

    He is active teaching and performing in Greece, Europe and India. 

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