Devendra Banhart’s new track is love song to troubled homeland

Singer/songwriter Devendra Banhart has released a tribute to his native Venezuela during the country’s worst political crisis in history.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido have brought the nation to its knees as they battle for supremacy, and Banhart fears for his brother and other family members, who are trying to survive amid the chaos.
His new track, Abre Las Manos (Open Your Hands), was released on Thursday (11Jul19) and is accompanied by a “visual slideshow of amateur photographs” of Caracas and El Avila National Park in Venezuela.
“My brother is in Venezuela, my cousins, my aunts and uncles,” he tells WENN. “They are just holding their breath, in gridlock standstill.”
And he admits his home country has been on his mind as he created the tracks for his upcoming album, Ma.
“Maybe there is more Spanish writing on Ma because of the helplessness I’m feeling; it’s on my mind more than ever. I was thinking about the sorrow of having to put a child up for adoption, loving that child but not being with them, for whatever reason. That child is out in the world and you have to love them from afar. And that is exactly how I have felt observing the situation in Venezuela.
“There’s this helplessness, this place that has been a mother to you, that you’re a mother to as well, and it’s suffering so much. There is nothing you can do but send out love and remain in that sorrowful state.”
Political negotiations among Venezuela’s leaders, which began on Monday, ended late on Wednesday with no immediate signs of progress. It’s unclear if talks will resume in the coming days.
Meanwhile, international aid is pouring into the country via the Colombian-Venezuelan border as thousands seek food and help.