Nikos Xilouris (Νίκος Ξυλούρης)- The Archangel of Crete
There is one person in the history of Cretan music who stands out because he became well known beyond the island’s borders: Nikos Xylouris (Psaronikos), who died an early death but not before becoming one of the most recognizable voices in Greek music and a true symbol of modern Crete.
Born in Anogia in 1936, heir to his village’s great musical tradition, Xylouris began working professionally at the end of the 1950 and rapidly became known as one of the best singers of his generation.
Video Live Nikos Xilouris
What truly changed the course of his life was his meeting with composer Yiannis Markopoulos and his move to Athens during the 1967-74 dictatorship. Markopoulos’ vision of an art music inspired by the richness of Greece’s musical tradition found its ideal expression in Nikos Xylouris. At a time when artistic endeavor was in itself often seen as an act of resistance, Xylouris became a symbol, particularly for young people. That is why he did not hesitate to visit students occupying the Polytechneio in November 1973 that culminated in its infamous suppression by junta tanks.
Today, part of Nikos Xylouris' house can be visited. More a kafeneion rather than a museum, you can enjoy a cup of hand collected mountain tea together with some local anthotiro cheese and Cretan rusk served by one of his sisters.