“At his core, Banhart is an urban aesthete, an art-school kid and street skater influenced by the Incredible String Band, Tropicália, and the Fugs.” —Rolling Stone
The Walker and SPCO’s Liquid Music Series present two sold-out evenings of the exploration of the musical worlds of singer/songwriter/painter Devendra Banhart, Friday–Saturday, May 13–14, 8pm, in the William and Nadine McGuire Theater. The acid-folk/indie-rock leader is revered for his idiosyncratic career of defying expectations and inspiring musical trends. The program title is borrowed from Dom Sylvester Houédard’s 1974 poem “Wind Grove Mind Alone.”
Copresented with the SPCO’s Liquid Music Series.
Program A: Friday, May 13
Banhart performs a solo set of songs, followed with music by interactive experimenters Lucky Dragons; impressionistic folk-pop from Jessica Pratt, electronic music producer/singer Helado Negro; and sound artist/composer William Basinski.
Program B: Saturday, May 14
Banhart’s full touring band opens, followed by Brazilian singer-songwriter Rodrigo Amarante; LA art-pop duo Hecuba; and iconic ambient/minimal music pioneer Harold Budd.
About Devendra Banhart
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. 2002’s 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. – Artist bio by Jason MacNeil
Tickets to Devendra Banhart & Friends are $28 ($24); both shows $50 ($40) and are available at walkerart.org/tickets or by calling 612.375.7600
Walker Art Center Performing Arts Program History
A catalyst for the creative expression of artists and the active engagement of audiences, the Walker Art Center examines the questions that shape and inspire us as individuals, cultures, and communities. Established in 1927 as the Walker Art Gallery, in 1940 it adopted a new name and focused on modern and contemporary art exhibitions as well as screenings, performances and public programs. Today the Walker is one of the top-five most visited modern and contemporary art centers in the U.S. Multidisciplinary in focus, it is equally committed to advancing artistic innovation and interdisciplinary scholarship as it is with increasing access to lifelong learning in the arts. Led by Senior Curator Philip Bither since 1997, the Walker’s Performing Arts program under his tenure has been defined by its commitment to the increasingly blurred lines between artistic disciplines, including contemporary dance, new music-theatre, performance art, experimental theatre, avant-jazz, contemporary classical music, new global sounds and alternative rock and pop. In addition to animating its outstanding McGuire Theater, the Walker has also greatly expanded its placement of dance into gallery settings, in its sculpture garden, and beyond, to further encourage a conversation between forms. It has also continued it long-standing tradition of mounting work together with presenters, venues, community-based collaborators, and unique sites across the Twin Cities. Through its endeavors, the Walker has earned an international reputation as “one of America’s foremost experimental art spaces” (UK’s The Guardian).
About Liquid Music
The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series creates a space for innovative new projects and iconoclastic artists in unique presentation formats. Liquid Music performances invite adventurous audiences to discover the new and the fascinating within the flourishing landscape of contemporary chamber music. The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, now in its 57th season, is widely regarded as one of the finest chamber orchestras in the world. In collaboration with its group of artistic partners – Jeremy Denk, Martin Fröst, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Christian Zacharias and Thomas Zehetmair – the virtuoso musicians present more than 130 concerts and educational programs each year, and are regularly heard on public radio’s Performance Today which reaches 1.2 million listeners each week on 289 stations, and SymphonyCast reaching 240,000 listeners each week on 143 stations nationwide. The SPCO has released 67 recordings, commissioned 142 new works, and performed the world premiere of 49 additional compositions. The SPCO has earned the distinction of 17 ASCAP awards for adventurous programming.
The Walker Art Center’s performing arts programs are made possible by generous support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation through the Doris Duke Performing Arts Fund, the William and Nadine McGuire Commissioning Fund, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Performing Arts programs and commissions at the Walker are generously supported by members of the Producers’ Council: Nor Hall and Roger Hale; Kings’ Fountain/Barbara Watson Pillsbury and Henry Pillsbury; Emily Maltz; Dr. William W. and Nadine M. McGuire; Leni and David Moore, Jr./The David and Leni Moore Family Foundation; Mike and Elizabeth Sweeney; and Frances and Frank Wilkinson.
Special thanks to members of the Liquid Music Advisory Council for their generous advocacy and support:
Anne E. Carayon
LIQUID MUSIC 2015.16 SEASON SPONSORS
The Alice M. Ditson Fund
The American Composers Forum
The Augustine Foundation
The Aaron Copland Fund for Music
City of Saint Paul Cultural STAR Program
First & First
Intercontinental Saint Paul Riverfront
The Joyce Foundation
McNally Smith College of Music
LIQUID MUSIC 2015.16 SEASON PARTNERS
Amsterdam Bar & Hall
The Film Society of Minneapolis/Saint Paul
The Givens Foundation for African American Literature
Jayme Halbritter Photography
MPR Live Events
Walker Art Center