Bands to Watch: Devendra Banhart

WRITTEN BY
Caryn Ganz

Devendra Banhart's musical journey began 11 years ago with agrand deception. "We were at karaoke, singing 'HotelCalifornia,' and my brother told me it was my family playingthe instruments–that's your grandmother ondrums,'" he says. "I was like, I have a musicalfamily–I have to play! But it was the fucking Eagles."

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Click here for photos from Devendra's live in-house performance at Spin!

Named by an Indian mystic whom his parents admired, the22-year-old Texas born singer/songwriter grew up in Venezuela, where heremembers "not being able to go to school because there'd been a coup."A serene, deliberate thinker who is partial to wearing dresses andgoing barefoot onstage, Banhart attracts "New Age yoga moms, divorcedhealth-food fanatics, and wheatgrass enthusiasts" to his shows. They'relikely to appreciate the folky, lo-fi vibe of his second album, Rejoicing in the Hands, which features 16 tracks of Banhart warbling about dancing teeth and his beard over graceful finger-picked acoustic guitar.

Down the line, Banhart would like to make "listenable recordsthat would get people to dance. I'd like to be an A&R rep forMichael Jordan Records, make all my friends a million bucks, and turnpeople on," he says, laughing. "Put acid in the record sleeve."

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