(English version further below)
Σαν σήμερα το 1980 έφυγε η φωνή της Κρήτης, ο αρχάγγελός της…
Στη καρδιά μου, αυτό το τραγούδι είναι ταυτισμένο με τον Νίκο Ξυλούρη. Δεν χρειάζεται να πω πολλά για αυτόν, όλη η Ελλάδα τον αγαπά και τον τραγουδά σήμερα και για πάντα.
Στο YouTube θα βρείτε πολλά video του να τραγουδά και να μιλάει. ΕΔΩ.
Ελαφρύ το χώμα που τον σκεπάζει!
This post is dedicated to perhaps the best singer of Greece. On the 8th of February 1980, Nikos Xilouris died at 43 years old. The English version of his wiki page (click ΗΕΡΕ) is rather poor.
Please allow me to write a few details about his short life.
Nikos Xilouris born on the 7th of July 1936 in Anoyia, prefecture of Rethimno on Crete. His family has a great tradition on music, as it has many musicians and singers to date. He started playing the mandolin but later, when he met with the great lira (the Cretan traditional music instrument) player, Leonidas Klados, asked him to teach him playing the lira. Klados was teaching him for a year and a half. Then Xilouris started visiting Creatan villages and play at local celebrations and parties in marriages, baptisteries and other festivities.
When he was 17 years old, he started working in Heraklion but that period, local traditional music was not at all popular. In the cities people preferred European and Latin music to hear and to dance with. To make a living, he learned those songs but always played local traditional music too. This was a great contribution for Cretan traditional music, as Cretan started to hear traditional music again. At the same time he had the opportunity to sing various kinds of songs and proved that his voice was so unique!
In 1958 he starts recording songs and his reputation is spreading all over Greece. In 1964 he visits Athens for the first time. In 1966, he participates the San Remo folk festival and he wins the first prize! After that, from 1967 to 1969 he performs at Heraklion but as of April 1969 he moves to Athens where he meets the composer Giannis Markopoulos (HERE is his wiki) who is also Cretan. They work together, presenting new and old traditional Cretan songs. In that period Greece was under dictatorship (HERE is wiki relevant page). Markopoulos and Xilouris used those songs to resist against the political situation.
Xilouris sung songs of almost all the great composers of that time, Stavros Xarchakos, Christodoulos Chalaris and Christos Leondis. Summer 1973, Xilouris participates at the theatre with Jenny Karezi (HERE is her wiki) and Costas Kazakos at the show call “Our big Circus”. The songs of that performance were again opposing to the political status. And he continues to sing against dictator ship songs and he becomes the singer of the resistance against dictatorship.
When democracy is again established in Greece, Xilouris continues singing both Cretan traditional songs and new ones written by Linos Kokotos, Dimitris Christodoulou.and Ilias Andriopoulos. The latter adds music to the poetry of George Seferis who has been awarded the Nobel Prize(HERE is his wiki).
When he is at the pick of his career in 1979, doctors discover he has a brain tumour and he dies in Pireus on February the 8th, 1980.
In this video Nikos Xilouris sings a song about a young man that God has chosen to die. I will not translate the lyrics of the song, I am going to tell you what the song talks about. It says that God decided to end the life of a young man from Sfakia (a village in WestSouth Crete) and his Dad who was already dead, heard a shotgun. His Dad advices him to drink the water that can make a man immortal and manage to escape death. His Mum was already dead too. She crosses a line on the ground and tell him not to cross the line and come to meet her because life is sweet.
In my heart this song is directly associated with Xilouris. As already stated above, everybody in Greece loves this man for his unique voice. You will find several pages in Greek and some videos at YouTube click HERE.
His site is under construction… click HERE.
You can find him at Myspace… click HERE.
May he rest in peace!