Buy This Issue
The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 20 January 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 20 JANUARY 2018 15 MUSIC Xylouris White’s ‘Mother’ review CON STAMOCOSTAS Following on from their debut album ‘Goats’ released in 2014, and 2016's ‘Black Peak’ comes the new Xylouris White offering, ‘Mother’. The combination of George Xylouris' masterful lute playing, and Jim White's effortless, intense drumming is replicated on their third release. Like previous albums, the music demands your attention and if you are interested in putting it on in the background you have made the wrong choice. From the higher tempo songs to the slow traditional ballads, the nine songs are almost jarring. The duo's first single off the album Only Love, is quicker in tempo than material on their previous two albums. It's an explosion of lute and drums and a must-see when the band next performs live in your city. Xylouris says the song was not meant to be a departure from their previous style but a sign of the band's growth. "The music is maturing into our souls and into our characters and together makes something different," he says. "The song is about someone who gives a lot and takes a little bit back, maybe even not at all. It says I want you to be joined with my love. That it is something to me, so give me the opportunity to give you more." The other stand-out song on the album PHOTO: BLÅ / @BLAAOSLO While the intensity of Xylouris White is notable in album form, watching the duo play live is a mesmerising experience. The Greek lute player revealed that audience members regularly seek to speak to him after their performances to share their profound emotional experiences. "People come to us after the show and say ‘I was crying during all the show’," he says. "I find that so inspiring and unforgettable and it's a strong experience. I find that when you play from your heart the audience takes that and finds it touching and I believe because we love so much what we are doing that it goes to the people." Although Xylouris has travelled the world and played live to global audiences he never loses sights of his Cretan roots and it's something he has no choice over. "I feel stuck on traditional music sounds," he says. "I'm stuck there. That is my base, my mother. Even if I want to escape that, in some way I can't. Because I love to discover the same thing over and over again for years and years. "I have played the same tunes of traditional Cretan music for more than 40 years now. I still discover the same songs every time I travel around Crete and see different players and listen to different recordings. "Cretan music has differences even from village to village with a distance of only 10 kilometres; there are different styles, different colours. So, that gives me the opportunity to discover the same thing and discover myself again and again. I am able to play with little changes to the plectrum on my lute and little movements and that takes me back." For Xylouris, being able to share his Cretan traditional music to audiences all over the world gives him a great sense of Greek pride. "It's a wonderful feeling to do this - to have a connection through music with different people and different cultures," he says. "It's a beautiful feeling. I have the opportunity to play, to connect and I take it. It's so nice and beautiful to see people move and dance to traditional stuff from Crete. "It has to do with how you're giving it, how you do it. That which moves me is the connection and the interest. The album cover for ‘Mother’. "I want to keep, the movement in terms of the old dances here in Crete. Old and young. I want to keep thinking how many people have danced this rhythm in the past? And that goes generations back and now, here, to see the young people dance the same dance and to think about the great grandmothers and great grandfathers and put these two things together." is track five Daphne which was written by Cretan poet Mitsos Stavrakakis, and Xylouris says it's one of his favourites. "I feel that Daphne is one of those songs which could in a way be the milk of what music gives you - which is feelings," he says. "Because the same song has more to give to you every time you play it. I knew it would be refreshed again with different sounds and that's what happened especially the way Jim plays it." The second half of the album features songs that carry a more traditional Cretan sound. While they are stripped back, Xylouris' lute combined with White's trademark drumming featuring rim shots and drum fills still has the power to evoke a range of emotional landscapes. Spuds Garden, with its beautiful stringed accompaniment, and Achilles Heel with Xylouris' deeper-voiced delivery is written by another Cretan poet from the lute player's village. Only Love is penned by Giorgos Stavrakakis who also originates from Xylouris' village, and so too Motorcycle Kondilies and Lullaby with Woman from Anogia dating back centuries. Besides mining songs from the musical history of his homeland, the legendary lute player says he was also inspired by his recent travels overseas. "To travel around the world keeps my feelings awake," he says. "To play for different people at different venues and see all this nature, to go through the United States, Europe, and Australia I keep myself open and put everything I see into my world; I mean my music world and my feelings world. So, every time I leave Crete I am happy to go away because I will see new things. But I am happy to come back with all these experiences and all these pictures and put it all together here in Crete."
13 January 2018
27 January 2018