Buy This Issue
The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 15 September 2018
14 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 15 SEPTEMBER 2018 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM PHOTO: ANNA WHITE PHOTO: MANOLIS MATHIOUDAKIS From Crete to Australia: Xylouris White rem The multicultural duo is heading Down Under for a much awa ZOE THOMAIDOU X ylouris White is one of those bands that no matter how much you hear about their music you can never get the whole picture until you listen to it. At least this is what happened to me. In preparation for this interview, I went through an array of reviews describing it as a cross of Cretan folk with pretty much whatever you can think of with a post prefix, post-rock, post-punk or free jazz, and of course my favourite buzzword 'world' music. Lacking expertise in the field, my take on their latest album was situated in the sphere of emotions, receiving it as a soulful celebration of whatever makes us feel alive. But then again, as Yiorgos Xylouris points out early on in our conversation τα πολλά λόγια είναι φτώχεια. "Nothing from the above and all of it at the same time is what describes our music," he tells Neos Kosmos. "The reason we defy any labels is that we're not trying to be one of these, meaning we're not trying to make Cretan music rock or jazz or free jazz. What we put in is ourselves, we do what we've always done even before Xylouris White, so that what comes out is real, authentic and truthful," he says. According to Jim White, this urge for experimentation and playfulness is what distances them from the concept of a "recycle band". "I think it's a combination, a sort of conversation between playfulness and intention, it's not all coming from you, in fact it's like a relationship. "We're not an artificial construction, we're friends that have a musical connection and we started this journey, or whatever you want to call it [...] It's more like being who we are and then as we find out and learn new things it changes, it's fluid and inventive in a playful way." After all, it would be impossible to put prescriptions for a collaboration like theirs: a Cretan lute player with a mesmerising voice loved by Greeks at home and abroad joining forces with an Australian-born internationally acclaimed drum virtuoso. Since releasing their first album in 2014, they have won the hearts of audiences in Greece, Australia and around the globe. Now, a few months after the launch of their third album Mother and following a somehow unplanned extensive tour in Crete, they are heading back Down Under for a series of performances. A show in the Rethymno municipality of Anogeia, during the anti-racist festival Haimalina last month turned out to be a catalysing force for the Cretan tour. "There were around 3,000 people, anarchists, shepherds, villagers and others, a fantastic mix of all sorts of people," says White, and Xylouris fills in the details: "Audience response was so warm, not just because it happened during an anti-racist festival bringing people from all over Greece and abroad [...] but also because it took place at Anogeia, a location considered a fortress of freedom for centuries now. "And then the music made the emotions even stronger; just to give you an idea, I was crying and laughing at the same time that night, as many people did as well. I was crying out of joy and feeling moved. So this resulted for our shows to extend into a tour playing in Iraklio, Agios Nikolaos and Gerani in Rethymno." Xylouris admits that performing in his place of birth always bears a special significance. "Every time I find myself n Crete, I feel that we deposit all these music goods we've accumulated while touring abroad and I think this is also perceived by the people [...] And it's Music is in a way the mother of us all. Music is life, so we think the very fact that we live, we owe it to music as it makes us feel alive and gives meaning to whatever we experience. also the other way around; whenever I depart from Crete I get the sense I'm carrying with me a bag full of musical and emotional 'products'," he says laughing, but denies the nickname of a 'music merchant'.
8 September 2018
22 September 2018