The heavy burden of Psarantonis to world recognition
"Jimi Hendrix" of the Cretan lyre lived in the shadow of Xylouris but reached the top
Rarely, now, do you see an artist bowing to the instrument he uses. Talk to him. To caress it. Take care of it. Most have them as tools for self-promotion. Anyone who does not understand the difference, let's take a look at how Psarantonis plays his lyre. He almost falls on her, hugs her, flirts with her. There are times when you feel like talking to her. That they chat to give the public the best possible result.
This is the real reason that Psarantonis in the biblical form is a world-famous lyricist. He has played almost everywhere. He is invited to major festivals abroad and his name appears among the greats of music and in fact… high on the eaves.
This is his reward for the love affair he has with his lyre. They call him Jimmy Hendrix of the lyre. At a concert he had given in the USA, he had "stuck" this nickname. He laughs when reminded. "But, they call me Antonis. "These Americans were having fun," he said in an earlier interview.
Apart from all this, however, Psarantonis is also a man with a source of humor. There are many funny stories in which he is the protagonist Crete. Wherever you go on the island you hear a joke about him. No one knows how many of them have actually been made. But that matters little. These funny stories that now reach the limits of the urban myth are… part of the charm of ηarantonis.
The man in the shadow of Nikos Xylouris
Psarantonis was born in 1942 in the ungodly Anemia. About six years earlier, his brother had been born. THE Nikos Ksilouris. The archangel of Crete. Heavy load. Almost immovable. Nikos was a special person from a very young age and this put Antonis in second place. No, because, someone wanted to be like that. It was almost law-abiding. Nikos' light blinded everyone.
Little Antonis was constantly running after his brother. When Nikos asked his father for his first lyre, the little brother saw it as a toy and constantly teased it. His older brother shouted at him to leave her so as not to spoil it for him. The little one, however, shook his head. One day when Nikos was away from home, the little one took the lyre and started scratching it. At some point, as if waking up something that was already inside him, Antonis picked up a melody, repeated it again and again. Until he memorized it and continued to play.
Nikos returned home, heard the sound but did not enter the room where the little one was. She stood outside the door and listened to him play. At one point he opened the door abruptly and went inside. Little Antonis was scared and tried to leave the lyre on the bed. The older brother, however, argued with him. "Play, play monkey. What a nice sound you made! "Play it", he told him and this was the beginning of the love affair that Psarantonis developed with the lyre.
Together, the two brothers went to the festivals, listened to the lyre players play, copied moves and techniques. That's how they learned to play. Both self-taught. No one went to any school to learn. The ear, the mind and the heart, they used only.
Over time, however, Nikos' star became brighter and brighter. And the brighter he became, the more he blinded the people around him. Antonis found himself in the shadow of his brother. He also played the lyre and was always good. For most, however, it was Antonis, the brother of Nikos Xylouris. For many years he stayed in the shadow of his brother. Nevertheless, he always tried to take his own steps. From the age of 13 when he first played in a wedding, until 1964 when he recorded his first solo album, 45 rpm.
The path to global recognition
When in February 1980 "God put a mark" and Nikos Xylouris passed away so early, Antonis was shocked. He would never be the same man again. Dedicated to music. From 1973, when he released his first full album until Nikos' death, he had made a total of four recordings. For the next two decades he is in a creative orgasm where he releases 13 records!
He first took part in an international festival in 1982 in Cologne, West Germany, hosted by the television channel WDR. Two years later he plays in Berlin at events for the 750th anniversary of the city's founding. In 1989 he participated in the "Journée des cinq continents" in Zurich and Amsterdam. In June 1999 again as a representative of Greece at the festival The Meeting of the Five Continents in Martini, Switzerland. And these are just a few of the internationally featured festivals.
The turn of the millennium finds Psarantonis the undisputed leader and representative of Cretan music around the world. In 2005 he played for 20 years at the World Music Institute in New York City Hall. In 2007 he appeared at the rock music festival "All tomorrow's Parties" in Meinhed, England and is the first Greek artist to achieve such a thing. In 2009 he appears for the second time at the same festival in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, which was curated by Nick Cave.
Psarantonis's lyre is on display today at the "World's first Global Musical Instrument Museum" in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, where a video is shown with Psarantonis playing the lyre.
The jokes about Psarantonis
Apart from music, however, especially in Crete, Psarantonis is known for his incredible humor. The stories that are heard and have him as the protagonist will make you keep your stomach from laughing.
Perhaps the most characteristic of these jokes are the following:
She was once a girl and goes to Psarantoni with the cigarette in his hand and says to him: - "Are you lighting me?" and he answers her: - "No, lyre player."
In Athens he found himself in a bookstore, looking at various books that interested him. Next to him stood someone holding his car key and scratching his ear for a while and then looking to see what he was getting out. After he had become disgusted until he left and, obviously annoyed, he turned and said to him: - "Oh my gosh, if you do not get a shower, let me push you!"
A group of men are in the cafe and talking, in their company is Psarantonis. Discussion is how you keep your wife from whining. The first says:
"I took her on a trip to France last year and this year I am thinking of taking her to Austria!"
The next one says… "I took her to New York and this year I will take her to Los Angeles!"
- You, mother Antonis?
- Psarantonis: "I took her to the mitato on the top of Psiloritis".
- And what about mother Antonis?
- "Ofetos, I say go get it !!!"
The journalist addresses a question to Psarantonis: - "Mr. Psarantonis, are you self-taught?" and he replies: - "Oh, I learned it alone"!
When at a party the famous Cretan lyre player Vassilis Skoulas received a bullet in the knee from a ball, his best man Psarantonis went to the hospital and visited him. So the following dialogue followed:
Psarantonis: Fortunately, Vassilis, it was you and it was not me.
Skoulas: Yanta, Antonis?
Psarantonis: Because if it were me I would eat it again (pointing to his doll, because of his quirky way of playing that bends so much when he plays the lyre, that his head almost rests on his knee)
Once in public toilets in Heraklion, Crete, Psarantonis went for his need and next to him was an elderly gentleman who, while urinating somewhere, released a slow to deaf ventilation. Listening to him from next door, Psarantonis tells him: - Syntekne, march for you will go out!