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Rejoicing In The Hands

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

When Michael Gira's Young God label issued Devendra Banhart's glorious home-recorded debut, Oh Me Oh My, on an unsuspecting world, its gorgeous yet sparse primitivism, complete outsider lyric sensibilities, and infectious melodies grabbed hold of listeners all over the world. It offered them a bona fide fissure between popular and underground American culture. Banhart's aesthetic is no pose; his iconoclastic songwriting could not be farther away from officially sanctioned "alternative" music. However, given the unanticipated coverage and success of the album (by modest indie standards, folks, not those dictated by the biz), a quandary was presented in how to follow it up. Should his new songs -- and there were many -- be recorded in exactly the same way to preserve the notion of "authenticity?" Or should he not be penalized by having to adhere to the same economic realities, and be nurtured as the developing artist he is? Wisely, Gira and Banhart saw through the smokescreen what a word like "authentic" implies. Banhart's songs are the authentic outsider article even if he were to record them in Barry White's studio, so why punish for the sake of a media construct? Gira and Banhart chose a simple but very effective recording studio in engineer Lynn Bridges' house on the Georgia/Alabama border as their location, getting down 57 songs(!) and choosing 32 for two different albums from the treasure trove. Rejoicing in the Hands is the first of these albums -- another will be issued in the fall of 2004. Simply stated, it is a stunner, form start to finish. Banhart's Muse may be furiously active, but she is tender all the same. The sonic ambience on this disc is breathtaking. Gira and Banhart brought the master tapes back to Brooklyn for some minimal and tasteful overdubbing -- a guitar track here, a cello or trumpet there, a piano ghosting through the mix in another place, some spare drumming, hand percussion or vibes somewhere else. Over it all, though, is Banhart's reedy tenor and edgy, angular guitar playing with its hypnotic insistence carrying the tunes from deep in the interior of his image and sound world to the fore, where listeners can encounter and engage with them. Elements of blues, ragtime, Appalachian rural styles, country music, European and Celtic folk songs: all weave in and out of one another in a seamless yet crackling whole, each of them serving their role in articulating Banhart's sublimely prismatic, loopy vision. Singling out tracks or quoting from his words would amount to nothing more than sacrilege. This music is simply rendered, to be sure, but unspeakably profound and mercurial; it's funny, warm, heartbreaking, and evocative of another place and time. There are glimpses here of Greil Marcus' "old weird America," the all-but-visible inner terrain that informed certain spiritual, social, and aesthetic elements in our culture. Banhart's music is utterly unselfconscious and poetic. Rejoicing in the Hands is a whole -- each song an inseparable part of an offering for listeners to be, quite literally, enchanted and even awed by. ~ Thom Jurek, Rovi
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 1, 2016)
  • Original Release Date: April 1, 2016
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: YOUNG GOD
  • ASIN: B00020W0ME
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,064 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I didn't think I'd be into this, but it turns out I was wrong. At first glance he seems kinda gimmicky in that precious, indie kinda way, but once I actually listened to Devendra Banhart...well his music is really amazing. His lyrics are sometimes playful, sometimes sad and always surreal, and his voice is one of a kind. The songs are simple, short and mostly recorded solo with acoustic guitar, though electric guitar, percussion and the occasional understated horn or string is thrown into the mix perfectly. Devendra Banhart released another album, Nino Rojo, within a few months of this one. Both albums are very similar in sound and style (they come from the same recording session) and both have a uniform good-to-great song quality. I reccomend you buy them both and if you're not won over immediately just relax, keep listening and don't analyze things so much.
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Format: Audio CD
My friend got this to me as a gift... As I've been wanting it since hearing it in full at a listening station at Virgin... What caught my ears at first (and heart) is his similarities to Marc Bolan (his solo acoustic music)... His nuances and inflections in his singing style and guitar playing more than remind me of Marc... The way he structures his songs as well... This is a good thing, because I believe Marc as well as Devendra to be a musical genius... So if you're a fan of Marc Bolan's, you'll enjoy his music as well... Also, I believe that fans of old style acoustic blues will enjoy it as well, seeing as he incorporates old style acoustic blues into his playing, with modernistic touches... As well as anti-folk fans will enjoy...

So all in all, if you're a fan of anti-folk, old style acoustic blues or Marc Bolan solo acoustic music, I highly recommend you to pick up this cd and rejoice in his music - Savannah Skye aka DJ Dakini-NYC...
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Format: Audio CD
Devendra Banhart is still new to the world, which finds most people comparing him to a surplus of other musicians. However, Banhart has quickly proven that, contrary to comparison, he possesses his very own unique style that easily sets him apart from any singer/songwriter on the planet (past or present). His voice is so unique that he will find himself in a similar league with some of music's all-time great distinctive voices.
His ability to create charming images of a surreal world with his abstract lyrics, abnormal time signatures, and inimitable vocals is like no other current artist today. On his previous albums, this was heard through his ghostly recordings on four track recorders and answering machine messages. These were songs never meant for public consumption until his friends convinced him that it'd be a good idea to let them loose. So, Michael Gira (Swans and Angels of Light) took control of these recordings and released them "as is" on his self-managed Young God label. Accolades have been strewn about Banhart's feet since.
One of the principal qualities that made these early recordings of Banhart's so unique is how they effortlessly sounded like they came from another era. If you didn't know they were recorded within the last five years, you'd swear they were the lost tapes of Robert Johnson's next-door neighbor. But with the release of Rejoicing in the Hands, Banhart entered an official studio to record fifty-some songs. There is a decidedly cleaner sound than on the lo-fi recordings of before. Some of the new songs will appear here and the rest will make it on to a separate album or EP to be released in the next year.
Banhart certainly is prolific at what he does. He's also very dedicated to making his art as perfect as possible, regardless of how bizarre it may appear.
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Format: Audio CD
Aspiring male musicians take note: the measure of a man is not by his record sales but by the size of his female following.

The easiest way to score your own legion of rabid groupies is to adopt a well-recognized persona. Undoubtedly, the definitive standby is the brooding-rocker image perfected by Jim Morrison. But if you're not sure you can pull off the "young lion" look, rest assured and consider the old-school way of making fans: if you have exceptional talent and loads of charisma, it doesn't take much to impress the womenfolk. Devendra Banhart in his live shows looks like Charles Manson in gypsy dresses, and he's still greeted with squeals of estrogen-pumped adoration rather than horror.

The 23-year-old hipster and graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute, whose 2002 release of his debut album "Oh Me Oh My...The Way the Day Goes by the Sun is Setting Dogs Are Dreaming Lovesongs of the Christmas Spirit" was conceived from bits and pieces sung on a friend's answering machine and produced on a four-track recorder, has many critics touting his penchant for simple yet sensuous imagery and deceptively skillful guitar work as the marked emergence of yet another subgenre that has been recently sought out by indie media, called "neo-folk." Trilling lines about split lips and crab cake, Banhart's delicate voice harkens back to the high-tension ululating of Tim Buckley and the gentle murmuring of Nick Drake that made them indelible, albeit modest, impressions on the music scene in the early 70s.

Highlights from the album include the lyrically understated but dulcet tracks "Will is My Friend" and "This Beard is for Siobhán." On "Todo Los Dolores," Banhart shakily starts to coo in passable Spanish before giggling into a second, and much smoother, attempt.
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