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©Yannis Fagras
©Yannis Fagras
©Kleo Xirou
©Yannis Fagras
©Yannis Fagras

Kleo Xirou

Kleo Xirou Percussion instrument maker
Contact
Greek, English
Hours:
By appointment only
Phone:
+30 6972025115
©Yannis Fagras

The master of drums

  • • Kleo uses woodworking and metalworking techniques
  • • Her specialisation is mounting drumskins
  • • She sources goatskins from local tanneries

Kleo Xirou is a drum artisan and a musician herself. Prior to opening her workshop in May 1999, she worked as a luthier's apprentice in Athens. With no formal training in drum making available, she developed valuable skills through her hands-on training and guidance from fellow craftspeople, musicians, fine artists and scientists. Kleo makes a wide range of percussion instruments using locally sourced natural goat skins and beechwood "not out of necessity but as a consequence of personal commitment”. Her greatest challenge is preserving the regional character of each drum while offering advances in construction, finishing and tuning capabilities.

Read the full interview

Works

  • ©Kleo Xirou
  • ©Kleo Xirou
  • ©Kleo Xirou
  • ©Kleo Xirou
  • ©Kleo Xirou
Photo: ©Kleo Xirou
Traditional Tambourine

This traditional wooden tambourine with a matt finish, is made from natural goatskin and features six sets of assorted hammered bronze zils. This size is typical of the Epirus region of Greece but is also preferred by players of historic music and folk music from around the world.

Height 7.5 cm
Diameter 35 cm

Kleo Xirou Percussion instrument maker
Photo: ©Kleo Xirou
Deep Shell Tunable Bendir Drum

Deep shell bendirs are increasingly popular with musicians that play in lap position, a modern style that synthesises percussion techniques from diverse musical idioms. Unlike upright position, where one or both hands support the weight of the drum, lap style leaves both hands free, allowing for more elaborate strokes. Kleo Xirou made the frame with three layers of steamed beechwood and chose a medium-thick natural goatskin for balanced harmonics and a stable sound.

Height 40 cm
Diameter 14 cm

Kleo Xirou Percussion instrument maker
Photo: ©Kleo Xirou
Medieval Rope Drum

This rope tension drum with custom bronze hardware, hemp rope and leather tugs for tuning, is built from planks of solid beechwood with internal concentric reinforcement rings. Kleo Xirou made this drum for harpist Mie Ito who performs Medieval and other historical music.

Height 40 cm
Diameter 35 cm

Kleo Xirou Percussion instrument maker
Photo: ©Kleo Xirou
Tunable Tympano (Bendir)

A staple of Mediterranean musical and spiritual traditions from antiquity, the tympano is today known in Greece by its Arabic and Persian names, bendir and dahares. This shallow, single-membrane hand drum, customarily used to accompany melodic instruments, has evolved into a solo instrument. To fabricate a body that is both resilient and resonant, Kleo Xirou uses a solid wood three-layer lamination process, then pairs each drum with local goatskins.

Height 8.5 cm
Diameter 45 cm

Kleo Xirou Percussion instrument maker
Photo: ©Kleo Xirou
Small Davul Drum

This small rope tension drum traditional to the Aegean is played over the shoulder or on the lap with two playing sticks. Also called “daoulaki”, it accompanies the island bagpipes and lyras. The drum body and flesh-hoops are made from beechwood and finished with a walnut matt stain. Two goatskins of different thicknesses offer a range of sound further enhanced by the tuning capability offered by the rope tension system.

Height 20 cm
Diameter 35 cm

Kleo Xirou Percussion instrument maker

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