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Psarantonis & the Ensemble Xylouris

Psarantonis & the Ensemble Xylouris / Mountain Rebels

Mountain Rebels

Psarantonis, brother of the legendary Nikos Xylouris, has meantime become a famous cult figure himself. The eccentric musician packs halls, be it in Heraklion, Athens, New York or Toronto. His most striking feature is his incredible musical dynamism: sometimes gently whispered, like promptings from on high during which white feathery clouds seem to descend from the skies – then suddenly a great storm rises, with boulders rumbling as if driven by Poseidon's steeds, only to quickly abate again and sink into mythic silence. His singing is in keeping with this: often husky, wild, exalted, then unexpectedly soft, gentle, refined. The rhythms are very varied, highly unusual, and rare in Cretan music. In addition to his own compositions, Psarantonis also has recourse to traditional pieces which he interprets in his very independent way and in accordance with the given situation, no one interpretation resembling the other. The musician enters into a strange symbiosis with his three-string lyra, which he supports on his knee, touching the strings at the sides with his finger nails instead of pressing them down. His bow literally dances across the strings, sometimes stroking, sometimes skipping over them. His playing technique exudes an indomitable magic, without him being a classical virtuoso. He aims not to achieve perfection but to express emotions. For this CD with Psarontonis, Network invited his daughter Niki, a singer and percussionist, his musician sons Georgios and Lampis, and several guest musicians to join in the studio recordings.

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