Sunday, February 7, 2010

Cretan Zeus (Psarantonis at Idaeon Antro, 1999)

Antonis Xylouris (Psarantonis)

here is a cave named Idaeon Antro. It is up on the highest cretan mountain, Psiloritis. According to the Greek Mythology this is the place where Zeus was born and raised. You know, the god that later on started fooling around with any woman that happened to be on his way and moved to Olympus to be the One of the 12. Quite some thousands of years later, an other man -who in a way looks a lot like Zeus - named an album after this cave. His name: Antonis Xylouris. Info dragged from the wiki article:
Antonis Xylouris (Greek: Αντώνης Ξυλούρης, 1939-), nicknamed Psarantonis (Greek: Ψαραντώνης) is a Greek composer, singer and performer of lyra, the bowed string instrument of Crete and most popular surviving form of the medieval Byzantine lyra. He comes from the mountainous village of Anogeia in Crete and is the younger brother of the late Nikos Xylouris*, a notable Cretan singer/musician as well as the older brother of Yiannis Xylouris, an equally notable Cretan musician. Psarantonis is known for the special timbre of his voice and his lyra** playing style. Apart from the lyra Psarantonis plays various traditional instruments.
He first played the lyre at the age of 13 and recorded his first single in 1964, titled "I Thought of Denying You" (Greek: Εσκέφτηκα να σ' αρνηθώ). He has released many recordings since then and has represented Greece many times in festivals abroad.
In January 2009, Psarantonis gave memorable performances in the rock music festival All tomorrows Parties hosted in Brisbane, Sydney and Mt Buller (in Victoria) and curated by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.
* Nikos Xylouris (1936 - 1980) will definately be mentioned in several future posts since he is not just a "notable Cretan singer/musician". Even now - 30 years after his death- he is extremely famous to all generations. Without a doubt, Xylouris is an important part of Greece's modern music history.

** from wiki: Lyra (Greek: Λύρα, Latin: Lira) is a pear-shaped, three-stringed bowed musical instrument central to the traditional music of Crete and other islands in the Dodecanese and the Aegean Archipelago, in Greece. The lyra of Crete is considered as the most popular surviving form of the medieval Byzantine lyra, an ancestor of most European bowed instruments.

These songs are often very abstract when it comes to lyrics and they have strong connections with Cretan local traditions and history. On the other hand, they are always extremely emotional musically, releasing a perfume of cosmogony and the charm of the rich mythology that accompanies the area. Other great themes often used in Cretan songs are of course love and death. Hundreds of them have never even been recorded and are still played be local musicians when the night is warm and the wine is sweet.

Zeus [Ο Δίας]

Oh, on Psilori-, on Psiloritis' peak
on Psiloritis' peak there's always snow;
Opa, opa there's always snow

Before the old... before the old one melts down
a new one is freezing it again;
Opa, opa a new one is freezing it again.

Zeus was... Zeus was a sheperd
Zeus was a sheperd, up there at the Anogeian paths;
at the Anogeian paths

His home... his home was there too
His home was there, inside the mountain
Opa, opa inside the mountain...

PS. The language that is originally used is always Greek but still the Cretan Idiom is tense and this makes the translation quite tricky. I hope I made it to transfer the feeling appropriately. Have some patience at the first 1.5 minutes of the video that is the introduction. Then comes the real thing.

1 comment:


Related Posts with Thumbnails