Banhart was born May 30, 1981 in Houston, Texas, to a Venezuelan mother, Maria Eugenia Risquez and an American father, Robert Gary Banhart.
If you don’t recognize his name, try this: The beloved songwriter and subcultural linchpin (who grew up skateboarding and writing graffiti in Caracas before moving to Encinal Canyon in Malibu as a teen) caught the zeitgeist back in the early 2000s as the cornerstone of the so-called Freak Folk movement in New York City.
MOST READ ENTERTAINMENT NEWS THIS HOUR"It's not an easy instrument to play, and it's humbling, and we thought, 'We'll just rent a koto,' and the person renting it to us (said,) 'Well, I could play on it.' 'No, no, we got it,'" says Banhart, who lives in Los Angeles.
"We hadn't prepared for the amount of time it took to tune and transcribe — everything had been written on the guitar, so to transcribe it and tune it for three people who didn't know how to play the koto at all was humbling."The album's unifying feeling is a hard-to-place sadness, perhaps owing to Banhart's personal tragedies in the past few years — his biological father and four friends died while he and his band were writing and recording songs. "Those things were never really explicitly addressed while making the record," he says.
It was during a bedbug scare, when his neighbors had thrown their beds away, and Banhart was a homeless teenage busker, finding busboy jobs to finish customers' uneaten food. " says Banhart, a singer-songwriter who has put out nine albums, from the cartoon-voiced, herky-jerky "Oh Me Oh My ..." to the soft and contemplative "Ape In Pink Marble," over the past 15 years."I'm lucky it happened when I was relatively young.
It's tough to do that the older you get," continues Banhart, 35, by phone from an Orlando tour stop.