Psarantonis (Ψαραντώνης)- a different Lyra Player
Brother of Nikos Xylouris and one of the members of this great musical family from Crete, Psarantonis is widely known as an accomplished lyre-player – a master performer in traditional music. He is restless and alert, with his own individual style in the playing of the lyra and other musical instruments. He has a unique relationship with the lyre which he "embraces" like a lover and travels with her the seas of Cretan Musical Tradition.
Antonis Xylouris, known as Psarantonis, was born in Anogia in 1942. He first picked up the lyra at the age of 13, and within one month, played at his first wedding. Named after his grandfather who was also a lyra player, Psarantonis in three years became one of the most renown new talents in Crete. Psarantonis plays various sorts of lyras as well as laouto, 12 stringed laouto, mandolino, tzoura, and daouli.
Video : Psarantonis - O Dias
Psarantonis is an acquired taste. He plays unlike any of his peers. His singing is like no one else's, ranging from mellow whispers, to low singing, from cacophonous bellowing to an incomprehensible moaning. His playing ranges from simple to beautiful, from wild to painful. Handpicking the musicians that accompany him, he composes a sound rooted in tradition. Psarantonis’ old albums consisted of him playing lyra with two laouta (his son was usually one), but he always added another instrument if he could, such as the askomandoura (a cretan bagpipe). As time progressed Psarantonis added more instruments to his compositions such as outi, mandolino and bulgari.
Today Psarantonis’ albums are not lyra- laouto compositions, like most Cretan albums of today. The use of more instruments, such as a lyraki (a small lyra) accompanied by a vrodolyra (a large lyra that looks like a small cello), allow him to form compositions that are deeper in texture than anyone else's today.