Devendra Banhart To Tour U.S.
San Francisco-based ‘New Folk' singer/songwriter Devendra Banhart launches his
2004 U.S. tour at Berbati's Pan in Portland, Oregon on June 4th. The month-long
tour will include shows in Seattle, Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago, Detroit, New
York, Atlanta, Nashville, Memphis, Los Angeles and San Francisco. For the complete
itinerary, please head to the Young God Records site.
The critically acclaimed young artist will be joined by celebrated avant-garde
harpist Joanna Newsom (who is also keyboardist for retro-rock band The Pleased)
and the eerie and atmospheric San Francisco folk/rock band Vetiver (of which
Banhart is also a member).
Banhart, who Neumu Senior Writer Anthony Carew describes as the "poster-boy" of the "folk-revival revival," has been compared to '60s artists such as Tim Buckley and Marc Bolan (T. Rex). He possesses a unique, androgynous and provocative singing voice and songwriting style. Influences from a childhood spent in Venezuela, where he moved at the age of 2 with his mother following his parents' divorce, can be heard in the flamenco guitar and marimba he uses on some of the 16 songs of his just-released sophomore album, Rejoicing in the Hands.
Banhart moved back to the U.S .in 1998, enrolled in and quickly became disillusioned with art school, and decided to move to Paris in the summer of 2000 to hone his songwriting and guitar craft in bistros and small nightclubs. He returned to San Francisco in 2001 inspired, and began sending tapes to record labels. "Sending it to labels was the most absurd thing in the world," Banhart was quoted as saying in a recent interview with Performer magazine. "No one would want to release it, but Michael [Gira, owner of Young God Records] did…"
The charming and crude recordings became the sensational Oh Me Oh My, which The New York Times named Alternative Album of the Year for 2002. "The quaver of Mr.Banhart's voice is as shaky as his songs' connection to everyday reality," the Times said of that album. "His songs and fragments ponder animals, apparitions, logical leaps and childlike certainties, all with credible eccentricity."
Rejoicing in the Hands is a significant departure from his first, literally homemade CD. The new record was created over a 10-day period in Georgia with the professional support of Gira, Lynn Bridges and Jimmy Johnson (Muscle Shoals, Bob Dylan, The Band). Already, the album is receiving much critical praise. Neumu's Jason Korenkiewicz wrote in a review of the album, "Leaving his four-track behind for a real studio and making use of some musician friends and associates to flesh out his compositions, Banhart has crafted an album worthy of the hype that surrounded his uneven but highly regarded debut. The trickery and oddball musical pieces that marred Oh Me Oh My some of the album was recorded on friends' answering machines have been replaced by a more mature and developed old-time folk soundtrack that contains both the feel of traveling vaudeville shows and the spirit of Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath." Nicole Cohen [Thursday, May 13, 2004]