Cretan musician back in the capital for more frenzied gigs

Psarantonis, one of the more frenzied exponents of Cretan musical tradition, with a warped and often belligerent interpretation of an already dynamic traditional style, will play four shows at the pint-sized and intimate Fones club in Athens (9 Artemonos, Neos Cosmos, 210.927.0628) between this Thursday and Sunday. The Cretan-based performer, who frequently visits the capital for shows, has, in more recent years, also taken his fiery work abroad, where the exceptional musician’s skills have figured on the world music circuit. 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 – the more unconventional Psarantonis, peripheral by comparison, is regularly backed by his children, all musicians, for albums and performances. They include vocalist Niki Xylouri and lauto player Giorgis Xylouris, who spent most of the previous decade in Melbourne, Australia, where he formed his Xylouris Ensemble. Part of that antipodal Greek music scene were Apodimi Compania, a group of fine Australian-born Greek musicians now based in Athens, who, incidentally, have been booked for shows at Fones. The act, whose delightful repertoire of rebetika and Greek folk entertained a dedicated audience in Melbourne for years, played their first of three nights at Fones last Sunday, with two more performances scheduled for December 7 and 14.