Ross Daly pic by Manolis Mathioudakis

Ross Daly is a musician and multi-instrumentalist of Irish descent living in Greece. His main instrument is the Cretan lyra, although he has mastered a great number of other instruments. Ross Daly has been living on the island of Crete for several decades now and is regarded as one of the leading musicians of the international world music scene.
The son of Irish parents, Ross Daly was born on 29 September 1952 in King's Lynn, England. Due to his father’s work as a computer specialist, Ross Daly spent his childhood in various places around the world, including Canada, Japan and the USA. Encouraged by his mother, he began learning to play cello at a young age and then guitar at the age of 11. As a young adult, Ross Daly came into contact with Asian music for the first time while in Los Angeles during the 1960s. He then studied sitar and worked with Ravi Shankar, among others. His passion for music traditions led to journeys in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent, where he studied various types of local music traditions. At the beginning of the 1970s, he travelled to Crete for the first time and there studied the Cretan lyra with Kostas Mountakis. He has been living permanently on Crete since 1975. In 1982, in Houdetsi near Heraklion, he established the Labyrinth musical workshop, an institution which still exists today, dedicated to the education of musicians in traditional music. More than 250 instruments that Ross Daly collected during his travels are on display there. Since 2002 seminars and master classes have been conducted every year with some of the greatest teachers of traditional music from around the world. It is a meeting point for musicians and students and today is considered the leading institution in Greece in the field of education in modal and traditional music.
In 1990 Ross Daly designed a new type of Cretan lyra. The instrument incorporates elements of the lyraki (the Byzantine lyra) and the Indian sarangi. The result was a lyra with three 29cm-long playing strings (like the Cretan lyra) and 18 sympathetic strings, which resonate on Indian-styled bridges (the number of sympathetic strings was later increased to 22).
Ross Daly has released more than 35 albums with his own compositions and his own arrangements of traditional melodies and compositions. This entailed a number of collaborations with musicians from around the world, including the likes of Stelios Petrakis, Trio Chemirani, Bakalas Sissakos, Zohar Fresco, Kelly Thoma, Spyridoula Toutoudaki, Evgenia Damavoliti-Toli and many others. A large part of his discography is available for free on his website (
Daly has performed at countless festivals for traditional music and world music. His performances have taken him around the globe. During the Olympic Games in the summer of 2004, he was music director of the programme ‘Crete, Music Crossroads’, organising 15 concerts in which 300 international musicians performed. These included Jordi Savall, Eduardo Niebla, Huun-Huur-Tu, Habil Aliev, the Dhoad Gypsies of Rajasthan, Mohammad Rahim Khushnawaz, the Trio Chemirani and Adel Selameh.
Ross Daly coined the term contemporary modal music. This term refers to contemporary compositional works which draw their influences and inspiration from the world of modal music traditions found primarily (but not exclusively) in the vast geographical region between Western Africa and Western China. Composers of New Modal Music initially study these various traditions intensively, going on to compose new works in which they freely integrate influences and elements from these idioms into their work. The Labyrinth musical workshop has been very active in promoting and supporting this type of composition as it crosses ethnic and other borders, and also stresses contemporary creative work in musical idioms that are normally regarded as "traditional", with their "creative centre" thus being in the past. Ross Daly himself disputes this idea, believing instead that the epithet "traditional" implies above all an element of timelessness in which contributions of the past, present and future are equally important and relevant for the creative process.


1982 Oneirou Topi
1984 Lavyrinthos
1986 Ross Daly
1987 Anadysi
1989 Elefthero Simio
1998 7 songs and 1 Semai (with Spyridoula Toutoudaki)
1989 Kriti 1 (with Manolis Manassakis)
1990 Pnoe (with Vassilis Soukas)
1990 Hori
1990 the Circle at the Crossroads
Kriti 2 (with Babis Chairetis aka “Vourgias”)
1991 Selected Works
1991 An Ki (with Djamchid Chemirani)
1992 Mıtos
1994 Cross Current (with Djamchid Chemirani & Irshad Khan)
1998 Naghma (with Paul Grant, Bijan Chemirani & Nayan Ghosh)
1998 At The Cafe Aman
1998 Synavgia
2001 Beyond The Horizon
2001 Gulistan (with Bijan Chemirani)
2002 Kin Kin
2002 Music Of Crete
2003 Iris
2003 Mıcrokosmos
2004 Echo Of Time
2004 Spyrıdoula Toutoudaki - Ross Daly / Me Ti Fevga Tou Kerou
2005 Live At Theatre De La Vılle / Avec Le Trio Chemıranı
2008 White Dragon
2014 The Other Side
2015 Tin Anixi Perimenes (with Vassilis Stavrakakis, Giorgos Manolakis)
2016 Osi Hara’Houn ta Poulia (with Evgenia Damavoliti-Toli)
2017 Lunar (with Kelly Thoma)


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