Psarantonis takes ‘lyra’ to rock joint

Psarantonis, one of the more frenzied exponents of Cretan musical tradition, whose unorthodox, warped and often belligerent interpretation of an already dynamic traditional form has given the cutting-edge traditionalist somewhat of a rock ‘n’ roll image, will be whipping up his mastery on the Cretan lyre (lyra) at one of the capital’s leading rock music joints this Saturday, the An Club in the downtown Exarchia district (13-15 Solomou, tel 210.330.5057). The younger brother of the late Nikos Xylouris, a legend on Crete and throughout Greece whose impact helped popularize the island’s musical heritage around the country, Psarantonis has remained more of a peripheral figure. But his scintillating dexterity and ability as an improviser have brought him attention both here and abroad, where Psarantonis has played in festivals. Psarantonis, or Antonis Xylouris, released his debut album in 1973, seven years before his older brother’s untimely death. He has since released work at a steady rate. The artist’s penchant for unconventional ways was apparent early on. On more recent albums, as well as in concert performances, Psarantonis has been backed by his children, all musicians, including daughter Niki Xylouri on vocals for some tracks. Last decade, one of his siblings, Giorgis Xylouris, spent several years living in Melbourne, Australia, where he formed the Xylouris Ensemble.