Pop Quiz: Devendra Banhart


Aidin Vaziri | Since dropping out of the San Francisco Art Institute to start his career as a wandering folk singer, Devendra Banhart has rarely stayed still. Having put in time in Northern California and Los Angeles, the 31-year-old songwriter recently moved to New York with his fiancee, Ana Kras. Musically, he has also been all over the map, coloring his low-key tunes with touches of samba, rockabilly and ska. His eighth studio album, “Mala,” was released this year on Nonesuch. Banhart performs May 21 at the Regency Ballroom.

Q: I’m worried you’re going to run out of cities if you keep moving every two years. How did you end up in New York?

A: Well, because I like New York.

Q: Is it better than Los Angeles?

A: I had a good answer for this the other day, but I can’t remember it now.

Q: That’s not very helpful today. But you recorded “Mala” in Los Angeles?

A: The minute we finished tracking it, I moved to New York. You know how Television’s “Marquee Moon” immediately makes you think of New York in 1977? This album makes you think of nowhere at no time.

Q: It’s also an album of breakup songs made after you got engaged.

A: I guess. Yeah. I got engaged, and these are all breakup songs. It’s just a lot more fun to sing about that than about being engaged.

Q: You met your fiancee when she came to take pictures of your house for a magazine, and you proposed on the spot. How come that never happened all the times I came to your house?

A: Well, the night is young. I was saving the best for last.


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