Venezuelan American singer-songwriter Devendra Banhart recently released a calming acoustic cover of Washington, D.C.-based alternative/indie electro-pop singer Ioanna Gika’s “Swan.” The track “Swan” was released last year off Gika’s full length debut studio album, Thalassa, via Sargent House. According to a press release, “To commemorate the album’s anniversary, she has shared a Devendra Banhart cover of her song ‘Swan.’ The cover is available exclusively on Ioanna’s Bandcamp page and Devendra’s YouTube with all proceeds going to the Los Angeles Downtown Women’s Center.”
The harrowing cover Banhart presents with his latest version of Gika’s single “Swan” is a hauntingly beautiful rendition. The track’s skeletal production permeates the listeners ears as the acoustic strings pair well with the soothing melodic vocals provided by Banhart. The warm and calming vocals give this version a beautifully melancholic balladry aesthetic that parallels quite well with its more ethereal electro pop original counterpart. Gika’s initial “Swan” track has a more robust production with its lush synth instrumentation that fits well with Gika’s angelic vocals. Banhart is able to take Gika’s beautiful sentiments and alter it to fit his more minimal instrumentation signature sound to stellar results.
Speaking in regards to the respect and admiration for Gika’s music, Banhart highlighted her contributions to the music industry by saying:
“I admire and respect Ioanna immensely, one of the great singers, poets, composers & performers of our time, really an otherworldly kind of creature/being, I love her and I love this song so much, It’s so very rare to meet someone you aren’t quite convinced is from this planet…. There I was, listening for the first time, totally drawn into this twilight crystal moon world that her voice immediately evokes, and the chorus comes in: ‘Let me hear the swan sing / Melody of mourning / Sweeter than the silent / Exit without warning’ My heart broke hearing that …. What a beautiful stanza, endless knot of longing, wow…… it was an honor to totally ruin this amazing song!”
Her sentiments were mutual as Gika too sung praises on behalf of Banhart’s artistry, saying:
“It is a pleasure to hear the song through Devendra’s distinct voice and vision. He is not only a prodigious artist, but one whom I have always appreciated for the way that he fosters community. Together, we have decided that we would like all proceeds from this cover to go to the Downtown Women’s Center in Los Angeles. Providing housing, healthcare, and assistance, the DWC is an important organization and one that is meaningful to us both.”
To listen to Devandra Banhart’s “Swan” (Ioanna Gika Cover), stream below via YouTube.