Benjamin Lazar Davis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Benjamin Lazar Davis
Born1986 (age 32–33) (abt)
New York
GenresPop music, indie music, bluegrass
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, vocal music, producer
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, piano, percussion
Years active2005–present
LabelsSignature Sounds Recordings, ATO Records, Northern Spy Records, Reveal Records
Associated actsCuddle Magic Okkervil River, BBgun, Joan As Police Woman

Benjamin Lazar Davis is a New York City–born American multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, arranger, composer and producer. He is a member of several bands including Okkervil River and Cuddle Magic.[1] Davis attended New England Conservatory of Music.[2]

Early life[edit]

Davis's father Peter started being a musician at the age of five.[3] Peter toured nationally and internationally with several groups, including a brief time with the Mamas and Papas. Like his son, Peter can play a variety of instruments ranging from banjo to clarinet to trombone. Davis's interest in Africa came through his father who spent 3 years in Malawi as a school music director.[4]

Davis has a brother and two sisters. He collaborates with his brother Tim on songs.

Bands and collaborations[edit]

In 2006 while students at The New England Conservatory of Music Davis, Alec Spiegelman, Christopher McDonald, Kristin Slipp, Cole Kamen-Green, and David Flaherty founded Cuddle Magic in 2006.[5] The band is known for collaborations with many artists including Fred Frith, Ran Blake, the David Wax Museum, Larkin Grimm, Mike & Ruthy (formerly of the Mammals), Phyllis Chen, Joy Kills Sorrow. Individuals from Cuddle Magic have also performed with Bridget Kearney, Railbird, Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, Baby States, Ronald Reagan, Bird Fly Yellow, Margaret Glaspy, The People's Champs, Girls Guns and Glory, Lake Street Dive, Petal Shield, Split Red, Yapp! and The Superpowers Horns.[6]

Davis went to West Africa in 2009 and 2014 to study music. "The first time I went ...., I was studying awa drumming, which is like drum ensemble music for a bunch of different instruments."[7] Davis is referring to a music tradition involving the djembe and dunun style of drums. In his first visit he heard of northern Ghanaian tradition of music called Bawa. In 2014 Davis traveled to Ghana with Bridget Kearney of Lake Street Dive and a former member of Cuddle Magic. They spent just over two weeks in the capital Accra, studying the traditional music of Northwest Ghana with master gyil player Aaron Bebe. They subsequently co-released an EP, BAWA, incorporating gyil music as source material.[8] After leaving Ghana, Davis came down with Typhoid and was very sick.[9]

When Davis and Joan Wasser (Joan As Police Woman) met in 2013, they found they both had an interest in Central African Republic Pygmy music.[10] Davis co-wrote, recorded, co-produced and toured for the album Let It Be You[11] (Reveal Records 2016) with Wasser.[12]


With Cuddle Magic[edit]

  • Cuddle Magic (2008)
  • Picture (2010)
  • Info Nympho (2012, FYO Records)
  • Ashes/Axis (2017, Northern Spy Records)

With Cuddle Magic and Phyllis Chen[edit]

  • Cuddle Magic & Phyllis Chen (2014)

With Bridget Kearney and Bbgun[edit]

  • BAWA (2015, Signature Sounds)

With Joan As Police Woman[edit]

  • Let It Be You (2016, Reveal Records)

With Okkervil River[edit]

  • Away (2016, ATO Records)
  • In the Rainbow Rain (2018, ATO Records)


  1. ^ Chattman, Jon (September 14, 2016). "A-Sides with Jon Chattman: Joan As Police Woman & Benjamin Lazar Davis Team Up for "Let It Be You"". Huffington Post.
  2. ^ Signature Sounds BAWA
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Biography in Annie and the Hedonists
  5. ^ Howling Wuelf Media Biography
  6. ^ Kennedy Center Biography for performance of August 13, 2013
  7. ^ Clocktower interview 11/3/14
  8. ^ "Songs We Love: Bridget Kearney & Ben Davis, 'Slow Rider'". National Public Radio. September 10, 2015.
  9. ^ Clocktower interview 11/3/14
  10. ^ When Joan Met Benjamin
  11. ^ "". Retrieved October 20, 2016.
  12. ^ Davies, Hannah J. (October 20, 2016). "Joan As Policewoman & Benjamin Lazar Davis: Let It Be You review – alt-pop experiment goes off script". The Guardian.

External links[edit]