Devendra Banhart performs live for The Current

Devendra Banhart
Devendra Banhart (OSK)
Interview: Devendra Banhart
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| 00:11:16
  • Interview: Devendra Banhart 11:16
  • Devendra Banhart - Theme for a Taiwanese Woman in Lime Green (Live for The Current) 04:17
  • Devendra Banhart - Middles Names (Live for The Current) 03:23
  • Devendra Banhart - Good Time Charlie (Live for The Current) 01:58
  • Devendra Banhart - Linda (Live for The Current) 04:49

Describing Devendra Banhart's repertoire could bring your imagination almost anywhere. On his new album, Ape in Pink Marble, the music and lyrics bring you to a lobby of a hotel in a less-traveled and melancholy area of Tokyo.

This is the place that musicians Noah Georgeson and Josiah Steinbrick imagined with Banhart when recording his ninth studio album.

"Once we arrived at a place that was pretty vivid in our imaginations, then we had the space where we could ask ourselves, would this song — whatever song we were working on at that moment — would it be played in the lobby of this imaginary hotel?"

If Banhart and his collaborators felt a song couldn't be heard in the imagined hotel lobby, then the song didn't make it onto the album. Two Spanish songs didn't make the cut, in fact. (As a result, a fothcoming album entirely in Spanish is being demoed.)

Even with an impressive discography and more to come, Banhart has trouble seeing solace in songwriting.

"I don't think I've written a good love song, and honestly I don't think I've written a good song. I'm not saying that they're terrible, but I still haven't gotten to that place where I'm totally satisfied with any of the work, any of the songs," said Banhart.

"With art in general, there's no destination. It's just a practice."

Songs Performed

"Theme for a Taiwanese Woman in Lime Green"
"Middle Names"
"Good Time Charlie"

All songs off Devendra Banhart's album Ape in Pink Marble, out now on Nonesuch Records.

Hosted by David Safar
Recorded in the Village Studios
Web feature by Leah Garaas

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  • First Listen: Devendra Banhart, 'Mala' For a guy who gets tagged with a lot of limiting descriptors—"freak folk," "hippie" and so forth—Devendra Banhart doesn't like to let his music sit in any spot for long. His catalog, which now includes seven official albums, has taken him through warmly intimate ballads, raw and unselfconsciously strange home recordings, songs in several languages (Banhart spent much of his childhood in Venezuela), a lot of smoothly strummy folk-pop and the occasional low-key anthem about free-spiritedness.