Announcement Framedrums, tambourines, davuls, doumbeks , udus, sistrums and more handmade by Kleo Xirou in her Athens workshop. Locally produced materials including natural goat skins. Custom orders encouraged! Worldwide shipping.
Framedrums, tambourines, davuls, doumbeks , udus, sistrums and more handmade by Kleo Xirou in her Athens workshop. Locally produced materials including natural goat skins. Custom orders encouraged! Worldwide shipping.
mmechanic on Jan 13, 2017
Kleo was amazing to work with. She made a custom frame drum for me and although there were issues with the postal system delivering the item quickly over the holidays and other issues with my travel schedule and not bring home to receive it, Kleo was so helpful, patient and kind and did everything in her power to keep Me informed about the shipment status. Thank you Kleo!
morrind7 on Dec 27, 2016
This is a beautiful instrument, even better than I had expected if that's possible, holding it in your hand is so much better than a picture! It is beautifully made and carries a really powerful energy, you can feel the care and attention that has gone into it. I'm so happy to welcome it into my world, everyone who has seen it so far loves it too! Thanks Kleo
Ondrej Soukup on Dec 23, 2016
Items are working very well so far and they were sent immediately as requested, so I'm very pleased overall!
An artisan from Brooklyn that makes percussion instruments!
Dimokratia News, 05.01.2014
article by Gerasimos Kontos
photos by Christos Zenas
Kleo Xirou transforms skins and clay into musical instruments in her "magical" basement in Nea Smyrni. Her clients, noted musicians and lots of museums.
She unravels the skin on her metal workbench, measures its thickness with absolute precision and marks the surface with a yellow crayon. Using a scissor she cuts out a round piece, soaks it in water in a metal basin and a few minutes later starts the sewing.
"The skin requires great care and patience. You have to make sure it's a good match, check for holes, attach it correctly, it's the most difficult stage of construction," explains Kleo Xirou, who for nearly 15 years has been making handcrafted frame-drums, davuls, defis, toumbis, bedirs, udus, doumbeks and other traditional percussion instruments in a small basement in Nea Smyrni.
There is no sign at the entrance. Only a small poster with the KleoDrums logo in the green iron window. "Signs are for passers-by and I.. don't want them in my hair. Not that I'm antisocial, quite the opposite! But I prefer to work alone" she says laughing. Born in Brooklyn, New York she fell in love with music at an early age and several years later, as a philosophy student, started playing percussion with friends. "Money was scarce, so most of our instruments were borrowed or used and needed repairs. That's how my friend Morgan and I started experimenting with skins, wood and other materials."
She traveled to Greece often. "Mostly on account of my Greek descent and because I had relatives here. But I wasn't particularly close with the Greek element until.. I discovered Greece's musical traditions via Ross Daly's albums". When she finally moved to Greece, she burrowed into the workshop of a luthier friend who also made percussion instruments and was initiated into the secrets of instrument making. "I had the opportunity to work, to evolve, to meet many artisans, musicians like Ross Daly and Sudanese (percussionist) Amin Alagambou, as well as now acclaimed artists such as Pericles Papapetropoulos and Zacharias Spiridakis who were then just starting out. These people buy my instruments today.. it's magical the way things turned out."
Her clients list includes big names in the Greek music scene like Stamatis Kraounakis, The Museum of Greek Folk Instruments in Plaka, shops in Exarcheia and Nafplio as well as professional and amateur musicians from Europe, China, Australia and Japan. Orders are made online or by appointment in her shop. A small space lined by wooden and metal shelves "loaded" with ready to ship and half-finished instruments, goat skins, metal hoops, pliers, screwdrivers, wrenches, paints, cords and sailing rope. In her basement "kingdom" 43 year old Kleo, mother of two, breathes life into clay and wood, experiments with new sounds and emerging materials and repairs most everything including ancient harps and lyres.
"I'm a real handyman! Many people don't know about the repair side of my business, I fix anything that has a skin." The materials she uses are almost exclusively locally produced. "Beechwood, Chalkida clay, 95% of my materials are Greek. I want to achieve the best results. If I can do that using Greek goat skins, for example, than I'll prefer them to imports," she says while tightening the clamps on a wooden frame.
"This one still needs a lot of work. The body needs to be finished, then sanded, stained and varnished, then the skins go on with the hoops and finally it is ready to tune. My profession is considered a man's job because of all the hard work. Others think it's easy. Of those who tried it, however, few succeeded."
In addition to her davuls, framedrums and clay instruments, Kleo Xirou also designs jewelry using "eccentric" materials, like gambling chips and cinematic film. "I make rings, earrings and bracelets working primarily with old materials that had some other usage. For example, I've made earrings with Bingo balls, which are pieces from a numbers game played in the U.S. I combine standard materials like silver and gold with alternative ones like cinematic film and poker chips. Jewelry is more of a hobby for me," she notes. Her designs are sold in museums shops, galleries and selected boutiques.
Kleo Xirou was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1970. She studied Philosophy at Syracuse University. Founder of the Athens based KleoDrums workshop, she has gained international acclaim for her handcrafted ceramic and wooden percussion instruments.
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