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Xylouris White

Langue disponible : anglais
Xylouris White is a duo comprised of Cretan longnecked lute (laouto) player Giorgis Xylouris and Dirty Three drummer Jim White. The pair met while Xylouris was living in Melbourne and they stayed in touch. They got their first chance to perform together at the Nick Cave-curated ATP Festival backing the laouto player's famous father Psarantonis, a nationally beloved singer and lyra player. Their debut album, 2014's Goats, engineered by Fugazi's Guy Picciotto, contained nine tunes -- six originals, two folk songs, and Xylouris' father's "Psarandonis Syrto." The feel of the album was one of free yet melodic improvisation. Later recordings, including 2018's Mother, the group's third album, were more spacious than their predecessors in that they closely examined traditional song forms and utilized the grainy physicality of Xylouris' voice. Mother explored the seam where drones and conventional Cretan and Greek melodies are born. Despite his father, Xylouris is well-known in Greece on his own merit. The laouto player is the leader of the Xylouris Ensemble; the rest of the lineup includes his three sons. Their concerts can last up to 18 hours. In addition to being an on-call session and live player and giving his own concerts, he is a highly regarded teacher. His musical lineage can be readily traced to many previous generations. His father's brother Nikos, a singer and composer, is nicknamed "The Archangel of Greece," not only for his music but also for his part in bringing down the country's military junta in the 1970s. The Xylouris clan is the subject of Angeliki Aristomenopoulou's 2014 documentary film A Family Affair. White is a native Australian who established himself with D3 and the Tren Brothers with guitarist Mick Turner. He has also recorded and performed with everyone from Cat Power and Will Oldham to PJ Harvey and Cave. His signature drumming style is fluid and cannot be categorized as being from any specific musical genre, though he's played most of the Western ones. The pair's debut album, Goats, was produced by Fugazi's Guy Picciotto and released by Other Music Recording Company in October of 2014. After a widely acclaimed global tour, the pair returned to the recording studio in early 2016. They emerged with the more improvisational Black Peak, released in the fall by Bella Union. After almost constant touring across the globe for 15 months, the duo emerged in January of 2018 with Mother, their third album. Xylouris described it as "...the extension of Goats and Black Peak in that it offered more intimate yet visceral compositions and improvisations from the signature but indefinable space they created between Cretan folk song and free improvisation." Their fourth installment, The Sisypheans, was titled for their chosen music's hypnotic repetition. It was inspired by the Cretan's sense of the eternal recurrence of themes and techniques. The set was issued by Drag City in the fall of 2019.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo
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