Xylouris White is an extraordinary music pairing featuring George Xylouris, a renowned lute player in the Cretan folk tradition, and Jim White, a tremendous drummer known for his work in the Dirty Three and with Will Oldham, PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, and more. The duo have just released a stirring new album called Goats that bridges gaps between Greek music and post-punk, while also touching upon other cultures and genres for something altogether unique. Goats was produced by Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto, it’s out now via Other Music Recording Co., and has prompted Xylouris White to tour across North America and Europe throughout October and November. Here, both men and I discuss how they met each other 25 years ago in Australia, how George lived in Melbourne for a while and saw Jim’s punk band with Mick Turner and also the Dirty Three, how Jim would see George and his dad play too, how George would some times play with the Dirty Three, how Xylouris White started two years ago, why Jim took a while to get to Crete but then went straight to the studio and ate goat for lunch, how the songs they worked on are constantly changing, sitting versus dancing songs in Cretan folk, how traditionalism works within innovation, feelings and space, when George began working with his father, renowned lyra player Antonis Xylouris, a.k.a. Psarandonis, at 12 years old, touring Europe as a kid, the piece “Psarandonis Syrto,” why Cretan folk traditions often include re-making older songs in some way, nothing is original, the melodies are not stuck on the words, pieces like “Fandomas” are ever-changing, 15 syllables, longing and love songs, keeping traditions vital, chickens, Jim’s musical origin story, the Saints, growing up in a Greek area of Melbourne, the Laughing Clowns and Jeffrey Wegener, being part of a community, working with Guy Picciotto and how he inspired deeper feeling within Xylouris White, when Jim, George, and Guy work on live scores for Jem Cohen films, making another record while on their extensive tour this fall, the songs “Pulling the Bricks” and “Suburb,” tremolo or caterpillar strumming, and then we’re like the wind.
Related links: xylouriswhite.com othermusicrecordingco.com vishkhanna.com
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