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Niño Rojo Enhanced

4.1 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

As was promised upon the release of Rejoicing in the Hands in the spring of 2004, Ni o Rojo is a companion piece. It was assembled from the same recording sessions at Lynn Bridges' Atlanta home that produced 57 tracks. Thirty-two were chosen for the two albums. Some were overdubbed minimally in New York by Young God label boss Michael Gira and Devendra Banhart adding a nip of keyboard or harmonica here, and tucked in horn, backing vocal, or electric guitar there. What these songs showcase is that Banhart is a songwriter of guileless vision. His unaffected aesthetic is etched in the ether of mysterious traditional and psychedelic folk musics from the British Isle and in an America that disappeared the first time in the '30s with the Dust Bowl and for the second time in the grimness of mid-'70s determinism in the shadows of post-Vietnam shame and malaise. Banhart's songs don't hearken back so much as remind us of what we no longer possess as a culture. His songs are spiritual, terminally unhip, with labyrinthine grown-up melodies and the keen unsullied wisdom of children. These 16 songs include the mysterious minor key cipher that is "A Ribbon," with its eerie guitars, a beautifully etched chorus, and an all but hidden keyboard underscoring the quietly insistent vocal. His cover of Ella Jenkins' "Little Sparrow," opens the album; accompanied only by his acoustic guitar, Banhart transfers the song from the universe of its origin as childhood ballad to a bluesy exhortation to spiritual awakening. A slow, easy major chord stroll, "We All Know," with its delightfully ridiculous lyric ("...we belong to the floating hand that was made by animals/we dance so, we let go/we'll remove clothes and we'll trade lobes...."). Seamlessly it shifts and walks the edge of a vaudeville rag that comes complete with accompanying trombones in the chorus at the end. And speaking of rags, there's the nocturnal spiritual guitar blues of "My Ships" that recalls the Rev. Gary Davis illustrating the point that Banhart confines himself to no one terrain, no single point of origin or destination. For Banhart, writing a song is one discovery -- give a listen to "At the Hop" written with Andy Cabic with its bright, canny, gorgeously impure love poetry -- and recording is another. Combining them is yet a third for both performer and listener. Like its companion recording, Ni o Rojo is about the shared delight of new encounters with music and language and is an adventure in the hearing. ~ Thom Jurek, Rovi
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 1, 2016)
  • Original Release Date: April 1, 2016
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Enhanced
  • Label: Young God Records
  • ASIN: B0002NRRB0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,905 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kevin Satterwhite on November 6, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I cannot comprehend anyone saying "Rejoicing In The Hands" is a better album than "Nino Rojo". A couple going so far to say this is Devendra's "least spectacular". I guess it's respectable that they still perceive it as "spectacular". But don't be fooled, because this is without a doubt his best album yet.

I've been listening to Devendra for a little less than a month now. I first fell in love with his collaborative band Vetiver. After hearing that album, I decided to look more into the individuals involved. And individually, Devendra seems the more accomplished. So I started with "Rejoicing In The Hands".

I love "Rejoicing...", but without going into too much comparing and contrasting, I prefer "Nino Rojo" immensely more. While "Rejoicing..." has my two favorite Devendra songs in "A Sight To Behold" & "Fall", "Nino Rojo" is much more consistently interesting from the first to last song. For one thing, Devendra's guitar playing is much more engaging on this album.

Someone stated the album starts off "simple" with "Wake Up, Little Sparrow". It's folk, as much as I love folk: it's simple music. I wonder if he means simple as in it being just Devendra and his guitar? A lot of folk is like that, whatever. I, however, enjoy this song. My favorite song however is the wonderful "We All Know"; this is songwriting at its best. "Sister" is another amazing song. "Noah" starts off with Devendra (with the help of female vocals) singing "Not everyone can relate/ to what you and I appreciate", which I consider to be a testament to Devendra's ghostly sound. "Be Kind" is good and reminds me of "Fall" from "Rejoicing...", though not nearly as good. "Ribbon", "My Ships", "Yellow Little Spider", "Owl Eyes" & "Horseheadedfleshwizard" are other great songs on this album.

Overall, again, I prefer this album to "Rejoicing In The Hands", but you really cannot go wrong with either.
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Format: Audio CD
His tale is already becoming the type of twisted, mystical, mythical saga that is built by whispers and passed on by the followers, building upon the truth until it becomes THE TRUTH. A homeless vagabond, dropping out of a prestigious art school and scholarship to wander the streets of San Francisco, records songs onto his friend's answering machine and plays wherever he is able (not yet of age, he is snuck into drinking establishments as part of the road crew). He took up songwriting through self-initiated epiphany- all he had to do was realize he could do it, and was instrumental in beginning a new genre of music, neo-psych/hippie folk.

Resembling Jesus, Banhart is perhaps the product of an overeager indie press conglomerate playing hypocrite. Isn't "music over image" supposed to be the creed of the underground and independent community? But then again, how could you pass on a Christ-like twenty-one year old homeless man child with a voice that exists beyond time and a guitar that plucks easily and confidently?

At the forefront of his own genre, there is little flash or dazzle about the simple pluckings and wavering quiver of Banhart's easy folk music. His voice stands out as the main instrument- here a high pitched warble, there a whimsical whispering sneer. Recorded at the same session as his debut from earlier this year ("Rejoicing in the Hands"), these are sixteen more of some 50 odd tunes in his collection that he recorded over the span of ten days after being "discovered" by the label head of Young God records.

The tunes are generally plaintive and simple, occasionally a piano or brass was added just for variety.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Devendra starts this CD with a brilliant version of "Wake up, little sparrow", it's beautiful! The third song is "We all know" another great, followed by his twisted but gorgeous "little yellow spider" then "A ribbon" This was my introduction to Devendra Banhart and an immediate favorite! You can't go wrong, if you even have a little curiosity about Devendra's music. Just let it play you'll be shaking your head in amazement at the talent of this young man!
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By Marc Ayres on October 28, 2004
Format: Audio CD
While Devendra continues to release impressive album after album, I find Nino Rojo the least spectacular. But, I wonder if we've all been spoiled by such a talent, you know? I wonder if our reasons for not being as snuggly with the record reside in the fact that the guy has been releasing disk after disk and we've become spoiled by his magnificence.

Regardless, it's not that Nino Rojo isn't another fantastic album, but I think it would be borderline great if this wasn't the 2nd album released in 6 months. Devendra's work, regardless of when or where it came from, is timeless. But are we spoiled?

"At The Hop" is a ridiculously wonderful tune, I wish he worked with Andy Cabic more often. Check out Vetiver, great album.

If you like his previous efforts, you'll most certainly enjoy this one!
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Format: Audio CD
For nearly a year now, I have struggled to formulate some sort of opinion of Devendra Banhart. Having acquired both burned copies of Nino Rojo, and Rejoicing in the Hands from a loyal fan and friend of mine, I have to admit: I've neglected to really give either of these albums an attentive and real listen. To be honest, I have almost tried to avoid both. Therefore, this isn't an attempt to persuade newcomers to buy, or ignore this album. It can't be. I cannot fairly judge it at this point. So if this review provides you no help or advice what so ever, I apologize.

Let's face it; in reviewing Devendra, one has little to work with: A man, his voice, his insipid guitar, and occasionally a squawking parakeet. But from what I can gather, the man has a very unique way of going about his business.

“Hey there Mr. Happy Squid.. You move so psychedelically…”
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