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14 Jun

All this is far removed from his image as a serious singer-songwriter and barefoot hippie dude who has been quietly bewitching the world of music for the past decade.The Texas-born, Venezuela-raised Banhart is part of a loosely-connected generation of singers – among them Sufjan Stevens, the harpist Joanna Newsom and torch singer Antony Hegarty – that have made unexpected inroads into the mainstream.And he jams together styles that don't quite seem to fit, juxtaposing low-key folk and rock 'n' roll with Brazilian samba and bossa nova music and augmenting everything with the koto.

His artwork has accompanied each album release, simultaneously minimal and intricate. Banhart’s creative roots, to a seldom-publicized relationship with the art community that embraced both him and his ability to create work of interdisciplinary merits, too. Banhart in New York as he celebrated the release of , a book compiling his visual artwork, recently published on Prestl Press.It's tough to do that the older you get," continues Banhart, 35, by phone from an Orlando tour stop."I had a hunger, and I was going to jump off this diving board called art.While his early albums have been credited for blazing a trail in 'freak folk', he prefers to classify what he does as "unpopular pop music".Of his contemporaries, Banhart is the most prolific and successful, his musical eclecticism and keening vibrato being fêted by the New Yorker as belonging "in a universe of its own".