Posted on July 14, 2015 by Trace

—  t u e s d a y   t u n e s  —
 D E V E N D R A  B A N H A R T     
with his Spanish serenade
 B R I N D O 

 The song from his 2009 ‘What Will We Be’ album sets the mood for love.

Devendra-en-Ana-3Get in the bathtub! Be together!” Those were the orders given to Devendra Banhart and his girlfriend…


…Rebecca Schwartz (at the time) for exclusive film,  the director’s cut of a new campaign for eyewear company Oliver Peoples shot by photographer Lisa Eisner.

In homage to French New Wave classics like Godard’sUne Femme Mariée‘,  Eisner was determined to cast a real-life couple with genuine chemistry,  to create “infatuated can’t-keep-your-hands-off-each-other moments.” (for a look at the black and white original inspiration,  of Lisa Eisner’s version for Oliver Peoples,  click the link above)

Devendra.kiss.oliverpeoples Psych-folk polyglot Banhart and his set designer paramour happily obliged,  their liaison unfolding on staircases and shag carpets in the ‘Rainbow House’,  architect John Lautner’s 1961 Los Angeles masterpiece.  (Above excerpt from Nowness)

Devendra is known for his bevy of delightful damsels. Before Rebecca Schwartz;  he famously dated Natalie Portman in 2008.
Currently he is engaged to stunner  
Ana Kraš  from Serbia, she is an Illustrator/Painter/Furniture Designer/Photographer/Model
–  the usual talented and beautiful ‘slash this and that’
*She’s wonderfully interesting,  check out the interview with Drop Magazine,   link above,  on her name.

Couple-Devendra-en-Ana-13The other things you need to know about Devendra are:
He is a Venezuelan American singer-songwriter and visual artist.

His given name is a synonym for Indra, the King of Gods (Hindu), which was suggested by Prem Rawat, an Indian religious leader whom Banhart’s parents followed.
Banhart’s middle name Obi was modeled after Obi-Wan Kenobi,  a Star Wars character.
Born in Houston,  Texas and was raised by his mother in Venezuela, until he moved to California as a teenager.
He began to study at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1998, but dropped out to perform folk-rock and tour with Sonic Youth.


ABOVE: with his current love, fiancée Ana Kraš

Pitchfork interviews Devendra Banhart about life & his new album in March 2013:

With his relatively subdued eighth album ‘Mala’,  the 31-year-old,  newly New York-based (and engaged) singer-songwriter is settling down in his own kind of way.  By Ryan Dombal 

When Devendra Banhart used to read interviews with his favorite bands as a teenager,   he’d scan the articles looking for one question: What are you listening to these days? “For me,  that was it,” he says,  sitting in his drawing studio, which overlooks Manhattan’s Lower East Side,  “I found out about so much music through them.”

dev-1 Dev-VV_5 devendraABOVE: The many faces of Devendra

He played a random stream of songs from his iPod stereo during our entire talk — often pausing the conversation to effuse about a certain track or musician — and dropped the names of his favorites and a quick clip,  including,  but not limited to:
Morrissey,  Nirvana,  avant-garde composer Harold Budd, Guns N’ Roses,  Kronos Quartet,  Oasis,  Yo La Tengo,  Blur,
The soundtrack to the 1959 Brazilian film Black Orpheus (“my number one soundtrack of all time”),
Helado Negro,  Robert Wyatt,  Pulp,  Julee Cruise,  Orange Juice,  Caetano Veloso,  Scott Walker,  Thurston Moore, John Cage,
and Grace Jones (“I saw her show recently;  she’s in her 60s, in a g-string,  and she says,  ‘I want to suck some dick tonight!’ — unbelievable”). 

And while ‘Mala’ is marked by songs about the aftermath of broken love,  the 31-year-old seems to have reached a newfound peace. He shares his artist’s studio with his fiancée,  Serbian photographer and designer Ana Kraš,  and several of her vibrant,  hand-strung lanterns are perched on a nearby table;  at one point,  in mid-conversation,  Banhart casually cuts out a foot-wide paper heart and sticks it to the front of Kraš’ computer screen.

Devendra.Ana2Mala, which is Serbian for “my sweet dear thing,” is highlighted by a sly duet between the two called “Your Fine Petting Duck”,  where Kraš pines after a deadbeat ex,  played with knowing humility by Banhart: “If he doesn’t try his best,  please remember that I never tried at all,”  he advises her on the song.

True to form,  the two moved to New York City last year after Banhart read Tim Lawrence’s book about Arthur Russell and the downtown Manhattan scene,  ‘Hold Onto Your Dreams’. Turns out it’s something of a triumphant return to the city,  which didn’t treat the singer so well 10 years ago. “Back then,  I was living in an abandoned salsa club with fucking no electricity,  no water,  meth heads walking into my room in the middle of the night,  and a rat trying to eat through my wall,”  he remembers. “So I thought I should give New York another shot,  see what it’s like in a different place in my life.”

Banhart says he’s more excited about the art studio and his sturdy wooden desk than the new album (for which he once again drew the cover himself),  though when asked if he would rather do visuals or music for the rest of his life,  he’s more diplomatic: “I want to take both more seriously;  I don’t know if I like the music I make,  but I certainly love making it.”


Pitchfork: I read that you asked Ana to marry you the first day you met her.

DB: I did. It’s the first thing I said to her. It was not well-received,  it really pissed her off. We met because she was supposed to shoot the interior of my house for this magazine called Apartamento,  but she still hasn’t shot the fucking thing. As far as the proposal,  I thought,  “If she says yes,  this is going to be so cool if we do get married,  and if we don’t,  who cares?” But she doesn’t see how awesome and charming it is that we’re actually getting married.

Devendra.Ana3 Devendra-en-Ana-8Get the feeling these two lovebirds
can’t get enough of each other..

Pitchfork: Have you ever instantly proposed to someone like that before?

DB: [sarcastically] Yeah,  I say that every time. [laughs]

Pitchfork: Well,  why her then?

DB: I was just so shocked. I couldn’t believe this person was in my house. She’s quite stunning,  easy on the eyes. So it just kind of flopped out,  very casually. And I understand how it was a real turn off for her. I had to work hard to make up for that one. But she came to take the photos and she just stayed. We haven’t been apart since that day.

Pitchfork: Was there a more official proposal later on?

DB: Yes. I took her to this place called Pocono Palace. It’s frozen in time;  it’s still 1975 there. So horrifying. From the surrounding area,  it looks like the place where you’re either going to get raped or murdered,  or raped and murdered. So creepy. But when you open the door,  it’s another world! It’s so beautiful,  but also tacky and gaudy. Totally charming. There are heart-shaped hot tubs in every room,  giant champagne-glass hot tubs. There are comedians,  air hockey,  ping-pong,  mini-golf,  strip night– which is actually a strip steak night — and erotic bingo. There’s a big sign that says,  “Please,  no guns allowed in dining room.” It’s a place where your aunt and uncle would go to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary.


Pitchfork: Sonically,  this album is more pared down than your last few;  the overall presentation is more modest,  like your earlier albums.

I would like to make another me-and-a-guitar album someday,  though. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a friend tell me,  in this tender and discreet voice,  “It’s just you and me bro,  and I want to tell you the truth: make a record of you and an acoustic guitar. Please. That’s what everybody actually likes.”  That’s so funny to me.

Pitchfork: When you’re making music,  do you ever wish you weren’t into so many different things?

DB: No. I try to listen to as much as possible. I know some people really try to avoid music when they’re writing and recording,  but I am very inspired by so many different musicians,  and I need to learn. I sit around and try to play along to certain songs that I really love. It helps you explore new territory. I don’t think I listen to enough.

Excerpt of interview from Pitchfork,  read the full interview here

Couple-Devendra-en-Ana-7 First verse lyrics and translation of Brindo:

Brindo este amor
Un amor tan raro
Brindo este amor
Un amor tan claro
Brindo este amor
Un amor tan de repente, oh
Brindo este amor
Un amor tan differente, oh…

I offer this love
A love so rare
I offer this love
A love so clear
I offer this love
A love so suddenly, oh
I offer this love
A love so Different, oh….

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