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- 1Is This Nice?02:54
- 2Kantori Ongaku03:41
- 6Now All Gone03:37
- 7Love Song04:22
- 8Abre Las Manos03:34
- 9Taking a Page03:36
- 10October 1203:12
- 11My Boyfriend's in the Band03:30
- 12The Lost Coast03:10
- 13Will I See You Tonight? (feat. Vashti Bunyan)03:23
Info for Ma
Devendra Banhart's new album, Ma, is due September 13, 2019, on Nonesuch Records. This is Banhart's first album since 2016's Ape in Pink Marble. Ma, bursting with tender, autobiographical vignettes, displays a shift from the sonic experimentation of his previous albums to an intricate, captivating story-telling and emotional intimacy. Banhart favors organic sounds to accompany his voice and guitar, the arrangements bolstered by strings, woodwinds, brass, and keyboards.
The simply titled Ma is Devendra Banhart's third album for Nonesuch, one that addresses—often in a beguilingly oblique way—the unconditional nature of maternal love, the desire to nurture, the passing down of wisdom, the longing to establish the relationship of mother to child, and the consequences of that bond being broken. Banhart doesn't approach the album's maternal theme in a literal way; rather, by contemplating it, alluding to it, regarding the concept of motherhood from different angles, he has fashioned an album of multiple, intertwining narratives. Its concerns are both personal and global, with subtly autobiographical looks at life and death and ruminations about the precarious state of the world. The many lighthearted moments of Ma are balanced by deeply melancholic, even somber ones. Three tracks are in Spanish, the language that is as much Banhart's native tongue as English, and one in Portuguese.
Banhart, who spent his childhood in Venezuela, has been profoundly affected by the poverty and despair he's witnessed there. His concern over the dire situation in his motherland drew him back to the Spanish language: "My brother is in Venezuela, my cousins, my aunts and uncles. They are just holding their breath, in gridlock standstill.There's this helplessness. This place that has been a mother to you, that you're a mother to as well, and it's suffering so much. There is nothing you can do but send out love and remain in that sorrowful state."
Working with Grammy Award–winning producer-musician and longtime musical compadre Noah Georgeson, the two started this particular musical journey when they were invited to record in a special room at a venerable old temple in Kyoto, after a short Asian tour. That served as a musical and spiritual prelude to what was to come. Back in California, they recorded at 64 Sound and Sea Horse Studios in Los Angeles and Anderson Canyon in Big Sur. Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon contributes background vocals on "Now All Gone" and Banhart's mentor, muse, and dear friend, the folk legend Vashti Bunyan, duets with him on "Will I See You Tonight." Notes Banhart, "Vashti is the archetype of the mother, one of the most important people in my life. It was so beautiful to sing this duet with her."
Banhart recently announced a twenty-four city North American tour for autumn 2019, beginning October 15 in Ventura, CA. This will be his first tour of North America since 2017. Banhart has partnered with PLUS1 so that $1 from every US ticket sold (excluding Austin) will go to World Central Kitchen, an organization founded by José Andrés to fight hunger around the world. With every ticket bought in Canada, $1 will go to support Rainbow Railroad to help LGBTI people around the world escape persecution and violence.
Growing up in Caracas, Venezuela and Los Angeles, Devendra Banhart was always playing music and drawing. But it wasn't until his brief stay at the San Francisco Art Institute that the disciplines became his constant companions. With the encouragement of poet and SFAI professor Bill Berskon, Banhart began experimenting with all kinds of art. He also began recording songs around that same time, usually on shoddy, hand-me-down four-track machines. Brief, half-finished, or written in stream-of-consciousness form, the recordings weren't initially intended for release. But friends encouraged Banhart, and he sent out a few tentative demos. He also left SFAI in favor of busking and wandering, and his travels led him from the Bay Area to Paris and eventually back to L.A. By now he was performing regularly, but he hadn't recorded or released anything officially. That changed when Michael Gira (Swans) issued the first Banhart material on his Young God imprint in October 2002. Oh Me Oh My... was an immediate critical hit, and comparisons to legends of songwriting, eclecticism, and tragedy were frequent (Tim Buckley, Syd Barrett, Marc Bolan, et al.). The Black Babies EP arrived in 2003, followed by Banhart's first full-length, Rejoicing in the Hands, in April 2004. Young God released its companion, Niño Rojo, in September. Acclaim for both was nearly unanimous, and Banhart's audience continued to expand. He jumped to XL for September 2005's Cripple Crow, an ambitious set and his most sonically expansive album up to that point. Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon continued in that vein, recorded at Banhart's new home studio in Topanga Canyon. A jump to Warner Bros. brought a more straightforward set (relatively speaking), What Will We Be, in 2009. Released in 2013, Mala organized some of the overstuffed elements of Banhart's multifaceted muse into a more cohesive set of songs than on his previous few albums. A trend he continued with on his 2016 album, Ape in Pink Marble. (Rovi)