Saturday, November 19, 2011


In approximately 1998 I was introduced to an artist who ostensibly changed my life, cliche I know but nonetheless true: Ani DiFranco. I quickly bought up most of her albums and they each had a quintessential story: coming of age...coming out...finding my political truths...I've always loved her for the music you feel deep in the cavities of your chest.

I'm pretty sure the first song I heard was "Untouchable Face"

I remember sitting in my "all-women's" college one spring day and feeling like suddenly my life made sense. This poetic voice with more truth than I could imagine. Words that for the next few years were such strong truths that I couldn't imagine disagreeing.

I remember seeing Ani at a speaking engagement in Nov. 2007 and being so excited - I had lost touch with her music, but recalled a sentimentalism regarding her politics. I was excited because there was a question and answer portion of the event and I wanted to ask so, so many important questions. I was never called on...and I recall leaving feeling very disappointed. We were at a pinnacle point in our history - or herstory depending on how you call it. I had seen Ani perform more times that I could count at this point, and I always loved her politics. It wasn't that she was a quote, unquote feminist or that she had this huge lesbian following - it was that she spoke a real truth. She channeled artists like Woody Guthrie who knew what the f*ck was going on. But on this occasion. the chance for her to speak about the monumentous election that was before us, I was pissed that the vast majority of the questions posed by the audience had to do with Ani's thoughts on motherhood. Now, don't get me wrong - I get it - this is an important event in a woman's life, but given her past, all that she stood for over the years, and many times a single voice for women - why this?!? Why not talk about the upcoming election? political engagement? the ability to influence an election? to not have a recount? to oust Bush in a major way? BUT no, the questions were about motherhood. As someone who has dedicated her life to civic engagement, I was pissed.

Tonight, I hadn't seen Ani perform in concert in many, many years. The last time I saw her live was that speaking engagement in 2007. I'm glad I came out tonight. I heard many of her new songs for the first time and old songs that were such a part of my past. It was nice to sing along. To connect. It was nice to hear those songs from so many years ago and to still connect.

Thank you Ani.

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