Xylouris White Halifax Music Co-Cop, Halifax NS, May 27

Xylouris White Halifax Music Co-Cop, Halifax NS, May 27
Photo: Steve Louie

10
Drummer Jim White is a marvel to observe. Known to most as the drummer for Australian instrumentalists Dirty Three, here he is paired with Greek singer/laouto player George Xylouris to both sublime and explosive effect. The duo has been acquainted for a couple of decades, but have only been performing regularly together for about four years, though in that time they have obviously developed a deep, almost psychic, musical bond. Xylouris brings a deep and rich musical heritage, channeled through his traditional lute-like instrument and vocal approach. White's role is both to find and reinforce these classical structures and to push them outwards into moments of eruption, both physical and emotional. In those moments the duo create new forms hinting at progressive rock fused to fiery, jazz-inspired leaps of faith. The performance had no shortage of cacophonous peaks and placid valleys, often within a single piece, that held the seated crowd rapt, leaning forward for the next surprise or furiously bobbing their heads to the ecstatic interplay. It is a potent partnership, with Xylouris's deep cultural ties and obvious love for performance plus White's seemingly boundless musicality and inventiveness that transforms the drum kit into much more than a time-keeping device. Masterful.