28 February 2008

babe-alicious ani difranco is on tour - get to know her...

artists who "rock" for human rights, dignity and freedom just jumpstart my whirlybird (i have no idea what that means but it flowed right out)...

and there's noone more, well just more, than ani difranco...and as is usually the case ani has opened the doors to amnesty international and other ngos to table, share information, and offer action to take to her hive of fans...

so if somehow this amazing human being has missed your radar here's a bio on her...and check out her shows my peeps...
peace out <3

Ani's bio...

Since releasing her first recording in 1990, Ani DiFranco has established herself as one of the most influential and inspirational artists of the modern era. DiFranco’s innovative guitar style, signature percussive fingerpicking, expressive vocals and incisive lyrics—along with a constitutional inability to be anything less than totally real—have earned her a loyal, dedicated fan base and ongoing critical acclaim. The empowering spirit of this one-of-a-kind singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer is evident in songs that tackle barbed political and sexual issues with uncommon insight and compassion. With DiFranco, what you see and hear is what you get—the act of making music is inseparable from the process of living her life.

In recent months, while taking time off from the road following the January 20 birth of her first child, daughter Petah Lucia, Ani has been handpicking the songs for her first-ever studio career retrospective, Canon, to be released September 11 on her Righteous Babe label. The two-CD set contains three-dozen songs spanning the years 1990-2006, as well as five re-recorded tracks. Until now, 1997’s Living in Clip, a live recording containing songs chosen by Ani from throughout her career, had served as the default overview of this prolific artist’s body of work. Essential though Living in Clip remains (Addicted to Noise called it “a profound collaboration with her audience—the essence of the rock & roll ideal”), the DiFranco oeuvre has been begging for a treatment that takes a healthy bite out of the whole enchilada. That makes this expansive new collection as welcome as it is definitive.

In conjunction with the release of Canon, Seven Stories Press will publish Verses, DiFranco’s first book of poetry. The volume, which will be illustrated with her artwork, will also be available September 11.

It turns out that Ani is as dedicated to her community as she is to her art. For the last several years, she and her manager Scot Fisher have been renovating a long-neglected landmark building in their hometown of Buffalo, N.Y., saving it from the wrecking ball. Newly rechristened Babeville, it’s now a state-of-the-art performance space and contemporary arts center, as well as the headquarters of Righteous Babe. “Changing the world becomes plausible if you just focus on your immediate surroundings; your home life, your relationships, your workplace, your community,” she once said; Babeville is a physical manifestation of that assertion.

Ani began her recording career in quintessential lo-fi/DIY fashion by pressing up 500 cassettes to sell at her shows; it was the first of a steady outpouring of artful and boldly personal recordings, marking her as perhaps the most prolific artist of her generation. Altogether, her 19 official albums have sold more than 4 million copies—and she’s done it in classic troubadour fashion, one fan at a time, via word of mouth and sheer charisma, rather than through radio play or marketing campaigns.

Everything Ani has released, from that self-titled cassette 17 years ago to her most recent album, 2006’s Reprieve, has drawn critical accolades. Over the years, Rolling Stone has described her as “breathtakingly talented,” “fiercely independent,” “iconic” and “one of the few artists around who can really paint the rainbows.” Entertainment Weekly called Reprieve “beautifully committed music—the kind that’s as essential now as it has ever been.” Fittingly, though, it’s DiFranco’s fans who have the most illuminating things to say about her. “One of the things I love so much about Ani,” one wrote on Amazon.com, “is that she puts every single part of herself into her music: love, hate, fear, angst and, famously, views on every social and political issue you could think of. She doesn’t have a line she won’t cross, she truly puts herself out there in a way that artists rarely do today.” No, DiFranco is not the kind of artist anyone can be indifferent about—her music demands, and gets, the full attention of everyone who’s exposed to it.

As impressive as her recorded output may be, there’s no substitute for a DiFranco live performance. As relevant and compelling today as the young firebrand was when she first burst on the scene, this self-described “little folksinger” continues to galvanize audiences, packing joints like Carnegie Hall and amphitheaters around the world, though she has the knack of making each venue she plays feel as cozy as a living room and as sweaty as a neighborhood dive.
Ani has been stunning and delighting listeners ever since she was a teenager in Buffalo, playing bars she wasn’t old enough to legally enter, armed with her emotive guitar playing and soaring vocals that slide effortlessly from a whisper to a roar and back again. During her high school years she studied dance, began to paint and wrote poems (many of which later became song lyrics) before choosing music as her primary medium of expression. Right from the start, people identified with her deeply personal songs about the dynamics of romance, the politics of family life, the choices she watched her friends make and the state of things from her neighborhood to the planet as a whole. After just about every one of her funny, outspoken, intimate performances, she’d head off to the next gig in her battered VW, leaving behind a fresh batch of converts eager to spread the word to everyone they knew.

The early 1990s brought a temporary relocation to New York and classes in poetry and politics at the New School, but her real education still happened on the road. Ani was a live performer first and foremost, but that didn’t stop her from putting out albums any time she’d gathered up enough new material to warrant one. Realizing that the mainstream record business had nothing to offer that she couldn't provide herself, Ani went ahead and created Righteous Babe Records right in her hometown, turning down one offer after another since making that characteristically bold move. Over the next decade, she performed solo, with one or two other musicians, and with a full band, then returned to the more stripped-down sound of one woman and one guitar for a while. At the same time, she began to learn her way around the recording studio, gradually developing her own unique means to convey the spontaneity, intensity and wit of her live concerts on disc.

Righteous Babe is home to all of DiFranco’s albums, along with recordings from an eclectic handpicked roster of artists whose music is as unclassifiable and unpredictable as her own. Ani has collaborated with Prince, Cyndi Lauper, Dar Williams, the Twilight Singers, Jeff Klein, Bruce Cockburn, John Gorka and Maceo Parker on their albums; she has produced recordings by Hamell on Trial, Dan Bern, Utah Phillips, Janis Ian, Michael Meldrum and others; she’s performed orchestral versions of her music with the Buffalo Philharmonic and had her songs covered by the likes of Dave Matthews and Chuck D. Along the way, she has inspired countless other musicians to rewrite the rules of the recording industry by striving for self-sufficiency and refusing to allow art to be subsumed by commerce.

Small wonder, then, that Ani made CMJ’s list of the 25 most influential artists of the last 25 years, taking her place alongside U2, Nirvana, the Pixies and Radiohead. And in 2006, she became the first musician to be honored with the National Organization of Women’s “Woman of Courage Award,” presented each year to an individual who has set herself apart by her contributions to the feminist movement.

“Overlap,” the re-recording of which closes the second disc of Canon, contains what might be interpreted as the covenant between Ani and each member of her legion:

i build each one of my songs
out of glass
so you can see me inside the
i suppose
or you could just leave the image of me
in the background, i guess
and watch your own reflection

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