Both Born to the Form, a Couple of Continents and Major Traditions Apart
Xylouris White, the duo of Jim White and George Xylouris
When the lute player George Xylouris was a teenager — growing up in a mountain village on Crete, not far from the Ideon Cave, where Zeus worshipers have been making pilgrimages since the end of Minoan civilization — he was working as accompanist to his father, the folkloric singer and lyrist Antonis Xylouris. When the Australian drummer Jim White was a teenager, he was playing in a Melbourne noise band called the People With Chairs Up Their Noses.
It’s good that they’ve ended up together. Both are extraordinary musicians. From a distance, in market terms, one is a traditional artist and the other a nontraditional one. (Mr. Xylouris has mostly stayed within the music of his culture and family; since the early 1990s, Mr. White has been the drummer for the great instrumental trio Dirty Three.) But up close, during a set at Union Pool in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on Thursday night, the difference was negligible. Onstage, as Xylouris White, they look and play like brothers.
…It’s intense, joyous, rugged music…