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Devendra Banhart's footloose folk 

Wednesday, Apr 8 2009

Devendra Banhart would much rather play the wandering mystic than the outlaw rock star. That wanderlust spurs him in constantly shifting directions, though the changes in trajectory are more like the slow and purposeful tack of a sailboat, leaning into the wind just to bring it around to his aims. He has a particular fondness for the swirls and eddies of psychedelic folk music, and these days his material strikes a particularly harmonious chord with the gentle ethnic folkways of Cat Stevens. Banhart employs a wide range of traditional instruments and arrangements, alongside a handful of languages. With Yusuf Islam recently re-emergent, it would be a perfect time for a collaboration. If only Banhart had kept the beard.

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Nicholas Hall


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