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Xylouris Go anywhere in Greece, and they know the name Xylouris. But go to Crete, the home of this musical dynasty, and they call them by other names too: Psarantonis, the great singer and lyra player; his lute-playing brother, Psaroyiannis; and their late sibling Psaranikos, aka the singer and lyra player Nikos Xylouris, a figurehead for the movement that brought down the military junta in 1973. There’s also George Xylouris, singer, lauto player and Psarantonis’ son; George’s oud-playing brother, Lambis; and sister and singer Nicki. Then there’s George’s three Greek

Australian kids, and George’s current project Xylouris White, a duo with Dirty Three drummer Jim White. Music in the DNA? Obviously. JC + Recommended Album:

George Xylouris

Psarantonis & the Ensemble Xylouris, Mountain Rebels (Network, 2008)

Youssou N’Dour The best-known African singer in the world, thanks largely to his collaborations with Peter Gabriel, Sting, and Neneh Cherry for the international 1994 megahit ‘7 Seconds’, Youssou’s celebrity eventually led to him becoming a Senegalese MP. But political office remains secondary to his supple, soulful tenor voice and the thrilling dance style known as mbalax, which he pioneered and has elevated him to the role of globally-feted ambassador not only for Senegalese music but for African culture in general. NW + Recommended Album:

Youssou N’Dour, The Guide (Wommat) (Sony, 1994)

Zimbabwe Zimbabwe’s transition from white colonial rule to independent republic may have soured in recent years, but its music has provided an indestructible backbeat through good times and bad. The jit jive of the Bhundu Boys made them one of the best-known African acts of the late 80s and the singer and guitarist Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi remains an iconic figure. But the undisputed ‘Lion of Zimbabwe’ is Thomas Mapfumo, who adopted traditional mbira (thumb piano) into a contemporary style and soundtracked the liberation war with his militant chimurenga music. He then became a critic of the Mugabe regime and went into exile in the

US, but his music remains as potent as ever. NW + Recommended

Album: Thomas Mapfumo, The Chimurenga Singles 1976-1980 (Shanachie, 1984)

M a n o l i s

M a t h i o u d a k i s ; Y o u r i L e n q u e t t e songlines.co.uk

India – The Assam Musical Adventure Specialist music and cultural tour 8th-17th April 2016

Highlights include: ● Performances of the monastic Sattriya Dance as well as Lokogeet (Local folk music) ● Stay at Banyan Grove heritage hotel ● Jeep safari through Kaziranga

National Park ● Local party in honour of the festival of Bihu “This is an incredible tour. We had the privilege of meeting musicians in their own homes and villages, and listening to their music was an experience of a lifetime that I will never forget” Tiki Kyte, Rajasthan Musical Expedition, India, 2014

Information & reser vations +44 (0)20 7501 6375/6741

tours@mastertravel.co.uk www.songlinesmusictravel.com

The best music of 2015 13

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