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ITHAKA ON THE HORIZON: A Greek-American Journey



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16 September 2007



I like to listen to Xylouris in the car on the way to play football to psyche myself up. Anogia is twinned with the occupied Cypriot village of Yialousa.

Nikos Xylouris’ brother, Antonis – known as Psarantonis – is also a brilliant Cretan musician. Psarantonis plays idiosyncratically and with religious intensity. There’s a profile of him here –
where it’s revealed that ‘the prefix “Psara” that the Xylourides use in front of their first names (Psarantonis, Psaronikos, Psaroyiannis) originates from their grandfather, who is said to have killed Turks as if they were fish.’

There are good clips of Psarantonis on Youtube, like this one
of Psarantonis singing with his daughter, Niki Xylouris.

Ti oraio na’sai ellinas. Oi xenoi den ehoun idea.


I had no idea Yialousa and Anogia were sisters. What a coincidence. I have heard Psarantonis before but failed to make the connection.

Ehe yia patrida

susan bournelis

My husband remembers Xylouris from his youth.
This was a nice listening experience for us.
Thank you!


My mother and father never stopped playing Xylouris, Theodorakis and Kaloyiannis in Saturdays and Sundays as we were cleaning the house or relaxed in the afternoon. I have gone on to listen to Xylouris and Theodorakis myself. Kaloyiannis is too sugary.

The Xylouris song on Antipolemika, which I think is called "1944" is absolutely incredible. I still play it every few months.


Susan and Hermes,

I'm really glad you liked this post. There is a lot more at YouTube. I am curious about your opinion of Ano Kato though.

susan bournelis

My husband really likes Rebetika. He thought the first song, by a non-greek group was very good.
There is a group up in Seattle that we went to see. They sang rebetika also. They even wrote a song they sang in English. It was funny!
The group was called Pasatebos.


What a great name, it translates more or less to "munchies."

Tony Brown

As an Englishman who is positive he has lived in Greece in one of his previous lives, or maybe in a later one, I was stopped in my tracks the first time I heard Xylouris. I was waiting for the ferry to Kassos from Pigadia, Karpathos around 5 am and his voice came into my head from a cassette I'd been given by a man in that town. I'm on that quayside every time I play that music.
Stavros, this is a brilliant site. Thank you.
Tony Brown



Thanks so much. Isn't it funny how a particular tune can immediately summon one's memory of a time and place where they first heard it. I was also impressed with your site, so I decided to link to it.

Tony Brown

Thank you Stavros,
Yes, I agree. I know many people think it's corny but even after all these years, whenever I hear the opening bars of Zorba's Theme, I get a lump in my throat. And to hear Anestos Delias (Artemis), it's 1995 and immediately I am in Crete parked in my VW camper, "The Villa Zorbus", in Melambes.
I'll add your link to my site immediately...the ever-widening circle...


Antoni mou,

It appears that you like me are a refugee from the decade of the 1960s. Only people like us can appreciate a VW enough to christen it "Villa Zorbus." Thank you for the link, I intend to read more of your writing and impressions of Greece. The ever widening circle indeed.

Gia hara.

Tony Brown

Yes my friend,
If you look at my website on the page 'about me' you will see I was running wild with all the influences of that magic decade. I used to think my home town of Liverpool was the centre of the universe. Tell me, is that you in the photo of the little boy? And are you from Ithaka? I was there two years ago and have some photos I can send you if you want. Let me know.

I'm listening to that 1920's hit, "Manolis O Hashixlis" by Kostas Nouros. I think it was composed by the famous violinist, Johannis Drahatsis - forgive my memory and I'm not sure of the spelling.
One day we must sit under the same roof and maybe have a little drink.
Have fun,


Yes, that photo was taken when I was much better looking, at the age of nine. I'm not from Ithaka but I am fond of Cavafy's poem.

Sounds like you have found your own Ithaka. My personal Ithaka is a small mountain village named Politsani which I have written about. We have a more than a few things in common although we both come from different backgrounds, we both love Greece and things Greek, particularly Rembetika.
When I am in Greece during the summer I avoid roofs like the plague. I think we should sit outside preferably with the sea lapping at our feet and drink the nectar of the Gods. Na se kala, file.

Carson Park Ranger

Nikos Xylouris has a rich, intoxicating voice. I first heard him on a German LP from the '70s.
His voice and the haunting melodies have stayed with me since then.



You can find more Xylouris songs on YouTube and a blog called Hellenic Antidote on its Radio Akritas:


Stavros, you have created a Treasure Chest of jewels for those of us whose hearts were born in Greece and will live there eternally.

Your site has opened up a whole new exciting world to explore for this Kritikopoula!...Bravo! Efharisto...Yia sou Stavros....O Theos mazi sou...



Na se kala.

Tony Brown

Stavros Ya!

It's Tony once again and after all this time. I have just finished writing my second book, Zorbus to the Sun, and I wondered if you would like me to send you a PDF copy for you to download and print or to read on screen. It's up to you.
If you'd like one send me an email at and I will email you the file as a gesture of brotherhood.
I wish you and yours happiness.


Thank You Tony, I certainly will do so. Nase kala pantote.

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