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Devendra Banhart: Rolling 'Down Thunder Canyon'

Devendra Banhart -– his first name means "king of gods" in an Indian myth –- was named by an Indian spiritual leader his parents followed. He was born in Houston but spent his childhood in Caracas, Venezuela. After moving to Los Angeles with his family, he began writing songs in his teens, and was granted a scholarship to the prestigious San Francisco Art Institute in '98, where he studied visual art. While in school, he began to perform music at smaller pubs and restaurants. In 2000, Banhart became disillusioned with his academic art studies and moved to Paris, where he took up more of a nomadic lifestyle, performing at small clubs and opening for indie bands.

During his musical career, Banhart has constantly added new instruments and nuances to his songs, playing with their sound and texture. Yet, if anything has remained unchanged, it's Banhart's distinct style and his unique voice, both of which are still present in his most recent album, Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon.

Copyright 2007 XPN

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David Dye is a longtime Philadelphia radio personality whose music enthusiasm has captivated listeners of World Cafe® since 1991. World Cafe is produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania.