At Perachori district of Anogia you can see the humble house of Nikos Xylouris, the most famous singer and lyra player of Crete (lyra is the Cretan traditional musical instrument). The house - museum is basically a small room where there are relics and photographs of the legendary Xylouris and which have been formed by his sister Zouboulia, who passed away in 2016. This house has been visited by thousands of Greeks that loved Xilouris, who is a symbol of freedom and morality. Between them, was the Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras .
Who Was Xylouris?
Nikos Xylouris was born on July 7, 1936 at Anogia and faced very soon the brutality of war, when the Germans razed the village (1941) and all Anogians were forced to abandon it. After liberation of Greece, the family returned to Anogia, built again the house, and lived very poorly years.
When Nikos grew up he left Anogia and moved to Heraklion for attending the school, but soon left the school and loved music. At the age of 10 he got its first lyra and started playing at the side of Leonidas Klados, one of the greatest masters of Cretan music, and soon started playing in feasts throughout the island.
In 1957 he fell in love with Ourania Melambianaki, coming from a rich family of Heraklion and in 1958 they got married secretly. This marriage brought two children, George and Irene.
His music course all this time was rising and in 1958 he recorded his first album with the company Odeon for very little money. The important step was done, as the disc faced success and the Cretan music stepped out of the borders of Crete. Soon, more successful records followed and Xylouris, famous throughout the island, managed to survive with that money.
In 1966 Xylouris took part in an international competition of folk music in San Remo, Italy, where he got the first prize for playing Sirtaki (Greek traditional song) with lyra. Xylouris was then known throughout Greece and the road of glory opened.
In 1971 he started cooperating with Yannis Markopoulos, one of the most famous Greek composers, at the boîte Ledra in Athens and his voice soon became a symbol of resistance against the junta of 1967. He collaborated during those years with the Thracian songwriter Thanassis Gaifyllias at boîtes at Plaka district of Athens and in concerts throughout Greece. In the summer of 1973 she sang for the play "Our Big Circus" starring Kostas Kazakos and Tzeni Karezi, one of the most legendary performances ever played in modern Greek theater.
At the peak of his fame, Xylouris death came to silence the most legendary voice of Crete. Nikos died after a long battle with cancer on February 8, 1980 and a vast sea of people attended his funeral.
Throughout this career, Xylouris remained humble, low-profile, real and very close to the people. It’s not rare to see young people that never met Xylouris to cry in his house at Anogia.
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