Thirty Two Years After the Death Of Cretan Singer Nikos Xylouris



    On February 8th was the 32nd anniversary of the death of Cretan singer Nikos Xilouris, whose voice and songs charmed audiences for decades. Xylouris died in 1980 of a brain tumor.

    Nikos Xylouris, nicknamed Psaronikos, was born in Anogeia of Crete and was the older brother of two other great musicians of Cretan music, Antonis Xylouris or Psarantonis, and Yiannis Xylouris or Psaroyiannis. He was part of the movement that brought down the Greek military Junta of 1967. His songs and music captured and described the Greek psyche and demeanor, gaining himself the title of archangel of Crete.

    A turning point in Nikos Xylouris’ career occurred with a recording in 1958. He first performed outside Greece in 1966 and won the first prize in the San Remo folk music festival. In 1967 he established the first Cretan Music Hall, Erotokritos, in Heraklion. The recording of Anyfantou in 1969 was a big success. Xylouris soon started performances in Athens, which became his new permanent residence, at the Konaki folk music hall.

    During the early 1970s, Xylouris’ voice became identified not only with Cretan music, but also with the new kind of artistic popular music that emerged as well-known composers such as Giannis Markopoulos, Stavros Xarhakos, Christodoulos Halaris and Christos Leontis wrote music on the verses of famous Greek poets, among which stand out Nikos Gatsos, Yannis Ritsos, Giorgos Seferis, Kostas Varnalis and Dionysios Solomos.

    In 1971, Xylouris was awarded by the Academy Charles Cross of France for his performance in the Cretan Rizitika songs album with G. Markopoulos.


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