Devendra Banhart Announces New Album, Shares Video for New Song “Kantori Ongaku” | Under the Radar - Music Magazine

Devendra Banhart Announces New Album, Shares Video for New Song “Kantori Ongaku”

Ma Due Out September 13 via Nonesuch

Jun 18, 2019 Photography by Lauren Dukoff
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Devendra Banhart has announced a new album, Ma, and shared a video for its first single, "Kantori Ongaku." Ma is due out September 13 via Nonesuch. Check out the "Kantori Ongaku" video below, followed by the album's tracklist and cover art (a painting by Banhart), as well as Banhart's upcoming tour dates (which were announced last month).

Banhart's last album was 2016's Ape in Pink Marble. Since then he's stayed busy. In April he released two books: Vanishing Wave (a book of his ink drawings inspired by a trip to Japan) and Weeping Gang, Bliss Void, Yab Yum (his first book of poetry). Plus in March he released Fragments du Monde Flottant, a collection of various musicians' demos that he curated.

Ma began when Banhart and frequent collaborator Noah Georgeson were invited to record in an old temple in Kyoto, Japan, after an Asian tour. The album was then recorded in California at 64 Sound and Sea Horse Studios in Los Angeles and Anderson Canyon in Big Sur. Cate Le Bon contributes background vocals on "Now All Gone" and previous collaborator Vashti Bunyan duets with Banhart on "Will I See You Tonight."

"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," says Banhart in a press release.

This is how the press release describes the themes of Ma: "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 of the album's tracks are sung in Spanish and one is in Portuguese. Banhart spent his childhood in Venezuela and a press release says his decision to sing in Spanish was because he "has been profoundly affected by the poverty and despair he's witnessed there."

"My brother is in Venezuela, my cousins, my aunts and uncles. They are just holding their breath, in gridlock standstill," Banhart elaborates. "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."

Black Belt Eagle Scout is set to support many of the fall tour dates. Banhart has teamed up with PLUS1 for the tour and $1 from every ticket sold in the U.S. (except for Austin) will go to World Central Kitchen (WCK). A press release says WCK is "an organization founded by Chef José Andrés to fight hunger around the world. WCK has served more than eight million meals to victims of natural disasters and humanitarian crises, including Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, California wildfires, Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, and more. WCK is currently responding to the crisis on the Colombia-Venezuelan border and has served more than 350,000 meals to date." Find out more on the organization here

Read our review of Ape in Pink Marble.

Ma Tracklist:

01 Is This Nice?
02 Kantori Ongaku
03 Ami
04 Memorial
05 Carolina
06 Now All Gone
07 Love Song
08 Abre las Manos
09 Taking a Page
10 October 12
11 My Boyfriend's in the Band
12 The Lost Coast
13 Will I See You Tonight? (feat. Vashti Bunyan)

Devendra Banhart Tour Dates: 

09/27/19 - Dana Point, CA @ OHANA Festival
10/15/19 - Ventura, CA @ The Majestic Ventura Theater
10/16/19 - San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore
10/18/19 - Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
10/19/19 - Seattle, WA @ Moore Theatre
10/20/19 - Eugene, OR @ WOW Hall ^
10/22/19 - Berkeley, CA @ The UC Theatre
10/24/19 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Theatre at Ace Hotel
10/25/19 - Santa Ana, CA @ The Yost Theater
10/26/19 - San Diego, CA @ The Observatory North Park
10/27/19 - Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
10/30/19 - Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theater *
11/01/19 - Omaha, NE @ The Slowdown *
11/02/19 - Minneapolis, MN @ Varsity Theater  *
11/03/19 - Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall *
11/05/19 - Memphis, TN @ The Hi Tone *
11/07/19 - Austin, TX @ Stubbs (Levitation)
11/23/18 - Leon, Guanajuato Mx @ Tecate Bajio Festival
11/30/19 - Detroit, MI @ Museum of Contemporary Art *
12/01/19 - Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall *
12/03/19 - Montreal, QC @  The Olympia *
12/04/19 - Boston, MA @ The Wilbur *
12/05/19 - Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel *
12/07/19 - Washington, D.C. @ 930 Club *
12/08/19 - Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer *

* w/ Black Belt Eagle Scout
^ w/ Daniel Higgs

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