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Vashti Bunyan's 'Day' Has Come Again

The reissue of her 1970 album reawakened Vashti Bunyan, who released her second CD in 2005.
The reissue of her 1970 album reawakened Vashti Bunyan, who released her second CD in 2005. (By Jason Evans)

She guested on albums by folk and experimental artists, including anti-folk icon Devendra Banhart, who had years earlier tracked down Bunyan by mail. She had encouraged him to keep following his own eccentric path; he invited her to sing on a track on his 2004 "Rejoicing in the Hands" album. Bunyan also offered a three-song performance at a 2003 Stephen Malkmus-curated concert in London -- her first public appearance in more than three decades.

Two years ago, Bunyan teamed with Scottish musician and composer Max Richter to record "Lookaftering," a soft-spun chamber-folk sequel to "Diamond Day," with help from Banhart, Adem, harpist Joanna Newsom and original collaborator Robert Kirby, who added trumpet and fluegelhorn to several tracks. Melancholy meditations such as "Here Before," "Same but Different" and "Turning Backs" address choices made, including domesticity and retreat from the world.

"The first album was all optimism, dreams and imagination," Bunyan says. "The second one was looking back over what had actually happened. The 'Diamond Day' songs were very much descriptive of the outside of my life and the landscape I was experiencing. The second album was more about the internal landscape. One looking forward, one looking back -- they're like bookends."

Thirty-five years apart?

"I know," she sighs. "I still can't quite get to grips with that."

Vashti Bunyan with Vetiver and Vandaveer

Appearing Friday at the Rock and Roll Hotel

Sounds like: A more innocent time. For her Washington date, part of her first American tour, Bunyan will be accompanied by Jo Mango (piano, flute, kalimba, concertina), guitarists Gareth Dickson and Kevin Barker, cellist Helena Espvall (of Espers) and violinist Kat Hernandez.

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