Cretan Music travels across the world
A Family Affair is an inspirational film about the power of family and music, told through the lives and times of Greece’s most famous musical family. It is a story about the unique and little known musical tradition of Crete and the people who have chosen to carry it.Meet the Xylouris family: from 48-year-old lutenist Psarogiorgis to his father Psarantonis, credited with reinventing Cretan music, and to his teenage children growing up in Australia, the documentary follows these unique musicians, to discover the electrifying power of their music and the sacred bonds with their land.
The documentary travels across Crete, from the breathtaking peaks of Mount Psiloritis and the coast of Sfakia, to a myriad of villages scattered across the island, where music is performed and experienced as part of daily life. The film culminates in a concert tour in Australia, where the whole family performs together for the first time.
The history of Cretan Music
Cretan music is a product of ancient, Byzantine and western inspirations. The first recorded reference to the lyra comes from the 9th century by the Persian geographer Ibn Khurradadhbih, who cites it as a typical instrument of the Byzantines.
Following the Crusades, Franks, Venetians and Genoese dominated Crete and introduced new instruments and music. By the end of the 14th century, the mantinada fifteen-syllable couplet became popular.
The oldest transcription of folk songs in all of Greece dates to the 17th century, when songs were recorded by monks on Mount Athos.
The Xylouris family bears this unique tradition. Their relationship to music gives evidence of the active role still assumed by musicians in Crete: they are living ‘within’ history, experiencing and evolving an age-long tradition.
They are respectable village musicians, but at the same time, have become full-time professionals, passing on their homeland’s culture across the world.
The soundtrack of A Family Affair is released in December 2014. It includes a selection of traditional songs from live and studio performances by Psarantonis, Psarogiorgis and their extended family, which took place during three years of shooting the film in Greece and Australia. The soundtrack’s release is supported by a kickstarter campaign. It is accompanied by a teacher’s guide that will help students learning Greek across the world to connect with Greek culture and language. You may find the campaign by clicking here.
An Ambassador for Greece under the auspices of Greek National Tourism Organisation
A Family Affair is a positive film about the vibrancy of Greek culture. Crete is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, and this musical documentary explores a little known but unique facet of the island’s culture.
The film premieres on January 8 in Athens, and then travels to Crete, Thessaloniki and other Greek cities. In the end of January, it screens in competition at the FIPA Festival in Biarritz, France, while it is released across Australia by Palace Films in February –March 2015.
The film will also be screened at major international festivals, concerts and special events across the world, in collaboration with cultural organisations and trade fares within and without Greece.
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