A girl from Buffalo. A righteous girl from Buffalo. A righteous girl who blends punk and folk and fusion and politics with fire. Staccato babe. Staccato poetry weaving babe. She destroys her guitar but it stays alive. She can sing poems or chant poems as if . . . the rhythm is hers alone. As if . . . the rhythm is forced out from a Greenwich Village bar in the 1960s before she was born . . .
I recently finished writing a novel about the rise of a fictional coffee house goddess. Ani is in there. As herself and as a part of the fictional characters on display. As are singer/songwriters like Tori Amos, Dar Williams, The Indigo Girls, Sarah McLachlan, and Alanis Morissette. The music of the 90s. One of the great flowerings of female rockers, folkies, and punksters. There is something truly wonderful about the rise of political minorities, beating the hard odds, forging new artistic cultures and subcultures. There is something truly wonderful and inspirational when underdogs kick ass.
Ani DiFranco’s music is revolutionary. It’s varied and fused and blended and quiet and sadly leaves us wanting more. It’s blazingly soft and riotously serene at times . . . And then it isn’t. And then it shouts at us to wake up, tune in, open our ears! And she sings like an angel or an angry punk from a dirty lounge you fell into by mistake. But then you can’t . . . leave. You don’t want . . . to leave. You want to see what this beautiful mind comes up with next.
Listen to her tone and tones. Listen to the way she controls her voice, her breathing, her phrasing. You’re hearing, possibly without realizing it, one of the finest living jazz singers. One of the finest singers living today. Though it’s often understated, that. Understated, that is . . . as if she wants us to read her songs like graffiti on our bodies . . . and not listen to the technical mastery of notes, timing, hue, shading.
She makes me feel like joy is possible, like joy is here. As if joy spreads like late-night chocolate after a great date and a great movie. Like midnight peanut butter with your date and their review. Watch her spread her peanut butter here. Watch her barely contain the whirlwind inside her, and try not to smile!!
Ani is a righteous babe.