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If the talents of singer and lute player George Xylouris seem otherworldly, even god-given, it is hardly surprising. One of the best-loved artists on Crete, Xylouris is a member of a clan long-regarded throughout Greece as musical royalty. A clan that hails from Anogeia, a mountain shepherding village down the hill from the Cave of Zeus, that hotspot of ancient mythology. To hear Xylouris play his long-necked lauto and sing songs of love and liberty in his impassioned, distinctive voice, is to experience tradition at its finest; tradition that this bearded father-of-three grants respect, and crafts into something unique.

Xylouris could not have been anything else but a musician: his father is the Cretan singer and lyra player Psarantonis, a man beloved of everyone from ethnomusicologists to Nick Cave. His late uncle was the iconic Nikos Xylouris, a singer and lyra player who became a symbol of the protest movement that brought down the Greek military junta in 1973. George was just a kid when he started playing the lute at the knee of his uncle Giannis Xylouris; after accompanying his famous father at village functions, there were several group recordings. Then George Xylouris struck out on his own.

Until then the Cretan lute was usually played as a backing instrument. But Xylouris showcased the lauto’s solo potential with a repertoire of traditional and self-penned material.

Crikey, what a fabulous racket. George Xylouris is a Cretan laouto player, son of the legendary lyra-playing shaman and wild man Psarantonis who sometimes gives the impression of having sold his soul to a goat at the crossroads. He spent some years living and raising a Xylouris family ensemble in Australia, where he met Jim White, […]

fRoots on Xylouris White Goats

[…] audiences were treated to the soulful sounds of Crete’s […] Giorgos Xylouris is part of Crete’s most famous family of musicians, and is considered to be the finest lauto player in the Cretan tradition.




His numerous projects are testament to his restless musical curiosity: there’s a duo, Xylouris White, with Jim White, Brooklyn-based drummer of Australian instrumental trio, Dirty Three, with who Xylouris is touring extensively the last years. The Xylouris Ensemble features his three Greek-Australian children.


Xylouris’ sound has taken him around the world, to festivals and concert venues throughout Europe, North America and Australia and back again to Crete. Teaching and playing at home, in villages, his lifeblood – just as it is his family’s. His concerts at home have become legendary for their musicality and power; his onstage record is currently 18 hours straight.


George Xylouris Quartet

George Xylouris lute
Nikos Xylouris lyra
Adonis Xylouris lute
Giorgos Saloustros percussion

  1. Dafni George Xylouris 3:59
  2. Maleviziotis George Xylouris 5:25
  3. Mavri Korfi George Xylouris 6:27