Xylouris White – “Psarandonis Syrto”


The music of Xylouris White defies simple categorization. Is this world music? Indie rock? Jazz?

The duo comprises heroes of two contrasting musical worlds. From the Greek island of Crete, lute player George Xylouris was born into a family of legendary musicians; uncle Nikos is nicknamed the “archangel of Crete,” and father Antonis achieved global repute as singer and lyra player Psarandonis. Australian drummer Jim White came to prominence as a skilled improviser in the 90s instrumental trio the Dirty Three, before collaborating with singular indie-rock performers PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, Cat Power, Bill Callahan, Will Oldham, White Magic, and Nina Nastasia.

In perhaps the way that Australia lies east of Greece, Xylouris White upends the cultural asymmetry typical of “world fusion” music. Against White’s characteristically light and minimal touch, Xylouris’s lute fills the space with acoustic textures and Greek scales. Yet his weathered musical vistas are given narrative and punctuation by White’s percussion, as if the drumkit were the real folksinger here. As illustrated by song titles like “Pulling the Bricks” and “Suburb 7,” it’s some curiously modern tales that these instruments tell. The end result is such an unexpected, expressive alchemy, it’s little wonder that Guy Piccioto of postpunk sonicists Fugazi jumped at the chance to produce Goats, the debut Xylouris White album.

Goats comes out October 14 on Other Music.

10-7 Durham, NC – Carrack Gallery
10-8 Baltimore, MD – Metro Gallery
10-9 Brooklyn, NY – Union Pool
10-10 Beacon, NY – Quinn’s
10-11 Kingston, NY – BSP Lounge
10-16 Brooklyn, NY – Union Pool
10-18 Providence, RI – Columbus Theatre
10-19 Portsmouth, NH – Red Door
10-23 Brooklyn, NY – Union Pool
11-18 London, UK – Church of St. John
11-19 London, UK – Church of St. John
11-20 Brussels, BEL – AB
11-21 Utrecht, NL – Le Guess Who?
11-22 Boulogne-Billancourt, FR – BBMix Festival
11-26 Leicester, UK – The Musician
11-27 Glasgow, UK – King Tuts
11-28 Leeds, UK – Howard Assembly Room
11-29 Newcastle, UK – The Cluny
11-30 Coventry, UK – Coal Vaults