The origins of traditional Cretan music
Giorgos Xylouris, also known as Psarogiorgis, plays the Cretan Lute (laouto) and sings Cretan music from a centuries old tradition. Son of Psarantonis and nephew of Nikos Xylouris, he was born and raised in Anogia, a small village in the Cretan mountains well-known for its tradition in music. His family have been instrumental in not only reviving traditional Cretan music, but also in bringing it to new levels.
He began studying the laouto in his early years under the guidance of his uncle Psarogiannis, Crete's foremost Lutanist at the time. From the young age of eleven he accompanied his father at village celebrations and weddings, as well as taking part in recordings.
Giorgos has also spent eight years in Australia, during which he broadened his musical horizons through contact with musicians of other cultures. There, he formed the Xylouris Ensemble. Two of the Xylouris Ensemble's albums, "Antipodes" and "Drakos", were nominated for the ARIA Fine Arts Awards in Australia. With his performances, Giorgos has succeeded in giving a new role to the laouto, which had thus far been an accompanying organ in the ensemble. The laouto traditionally provides the rhythmic backing to the lyra, the Greek singer's instrument par excellence. By placing the laouto in the unusual role of lead instrument he has transformed it into a melodic instrument to frame and adorn song. In his role as a Lutanist, Giorgos is without peer:
Giorgos Xylouris has performed extensively both in his native Crete, his second home Australia, and internationally at world music festivals. He has collaborated with musicians from both folk and rock traditions and has frequently participated in the projects of Ross Daly which incorporate musicians from Tuva, India, Iran and Afghanistan. Today considered to be one of Crete's foremost singers and instrumentalists.
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