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Ani DiFranco (pronounced
/ˈɑːniː/) (born Angela Maria
DiFranco on September 23, 1970) is a
songwriter. She is known as a prolific
artist (having released over twenty albums)
and is widely celebrated as a
DiFranco was born in
Buffalo, New York to mother Elizabeth
and father Dante, both graduates of the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
She started playing
Beatles covers at local bars and
busking with her guitar teacher, Michael
at the age of nine.
In 1989, DiFranco started her
own record company, "Righteous Records"
Righteous Babe Records in 1994).
 Prior to the renaming of
Righteous Records to Righteous Babe Records,
DiFranco worked with manager Dale Anderson,
a writer for the
Buffalo News, who later started
another record label called Hot Wings
Records when the two parted ways. Hot Wings
released the work of Buffalo area female
musical performers with styles similar to
that of DiFranco. Early releases of her CDs
produced prior to 1994 are labeled with the
original Righteous Records label. Her
self-titled debut album was issued on
the label in the winter of 1990. Later, she
New York City, where she took
poetry classes at
The New School and
DiFranco identifies herself as
and has written songs about love and sex
with both genders. She addressed the
controversy about her sexuality with the
song "In or Out." In 1998, she married
sound engineer Andrew Gilchrist in a
Unitarian Universalist service in
Canada, overseen by U.U. minister
Utah Phillips. Numerous media sources
reported that her fans felt betrayed by her
union with a man.
DiFranco and Gilchrist divorced five years
In 1998, DiFranco's drummer,
Andy Stochansky, left the band to pursue
a solo career as a singer-songwriter. Their
rapport during live shows is showcased on
the 1997 album
Living In Clip.
DiFranco's father died early
in the summer of 2005. In July of that year,
tendinitis and took a hiatus from
touring. (DiFranco had toured almost
continuously in the preceding fifteen years,
only taking brief breaks to record studio
albums.) Her 2005 tour concluded with an
appearance at the
World Music and Genre
Crossover festival in
Floyd, Virginia. DiFranco returned to
touring in late April 2006, including a
performance at the
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on
April 28 and a performance at the renowned
Calgary Folk Music Festival on July 30,
DiFranco gave birth to a
daughter, Petah Lucia DiFranco Napolitano
, at her Buffalo home on
January 20, 2007. The child's father is
DiFranco's boyfriend Mike Napolitano,
the co-producer of DiFranco's 2006 release
Reprieve. Essentially a full-time
resident of New Orleans, DiFranco's recent
music is heavily influenced by the city's
She has continued touring into
2008 with a backing band consisting of Todd
Sickafoose on upright bass, Allison Miller
on drums, and
Mike Dillon on percussion and vibes.
DiFranco returned to the Calgary Folk Music
Festival in July 2008.
On July 21, 2006, DiFranco
"Woman of Courage Award"
National Organization for Women (NOW)
Conference and Young Feminist Summit in
Albany, New York. Past winners have
included singer and actress
Barbra Streisand and Sen.
DiFranco is one of the first musicians to
receive the award, given each year to a
woman who has set herself apart by her
contributions to the feminist movement.
DiFranco has been toasted by
the Buffalo News as the "Buffalo's
leading lady of rock music." The News
further said: "Through the Righteous Babe
Foundation, DiFranco has backed various
grassroots cultural and political
organizations, supporting causes ranging
abortion rights to
Since 2003, DiFranco has been
nominated four consecutive times for
Best Recording Package at the
Grammy Awards, one of which she won, in
style and the "folk" label
DiFranco's guitar playing is
often characterized by a signature
fingerpicking and many alternate
tunings. She delivers many of her lines in a
speaking style notable for its rhythmic
variation. Her lyrics, which often include
word play and a more or less gentle
irony, have also received praise for
Although DiFranco's music has
been classified as both
folk rock and
alternative rock, she has reached across
genres since her earliest albums. DiFranco
has collaborated with a wide range of
Prince, folk musician and social
Utah Phillips (on "The Past Didn't Go
Anywhere" in 1996 and "Fellow Workers" in
soul jazz musician
Maceo Parker and
Corey Parker. She has used a variety of
instruments and styles:
brass instrumentation was prevalent in
Little Plastic Castle, a simple
walking bass in her 1997 cover of
Hal David and
Wishin' and Hopin',
strings on the 1997 live album
Living in Clip and 2004's
Knuckle Down, and electronics and
synthesisers in 1999's
To the Teeth and in 2006's
DiFranco herself noted that
"folk music is not an acoustic guitar —
that's not where the heart of it is. I use
the word 'folk' in reference to punk music
and rap music. It's an attitude, it's an
awareness of one's heritage, and it's a
community. It's subcorporate music that
gives voice to different communities and
their struggle against authority."
politics and religion
Although much of DiFranco's
material is autobiographical, it is often
also strongly political. Many of her songs
are concerned with contemporary social
issues such as
war. The combination of personal and
political is partially responsible for
DiFranco's early popularity among
politically active college students, some of
whom set up fan pages on the
web to document DiFranco's career as
early as 1994. DiFranco's rapid rise in
popularity in the mid-1990s was fuelled
mostly by personal contact and word of mouth
DiFranco has expressed
political views outside of her music. During
2000 U.S. presidential election, she
encouraged voting for
Ralph Nader. She supported
Dennis Kucinich in the 2004 and 2008
primaries. Kucinich appeared with her at
a number of concerts across the country
during the 2004 and 2008 primary seasons.
 DiFranco went on to perform
2008 Democratic National Convention.
On the subject of religion,
DiFranco has stated:
"Well, I'm not a religious
person myself. I'm an
atheist. I think religion serves a
lot of different purposes in people's
lives, and I can recognize the value of
that, you know, the value of ceremony,
the value of community, or even just
having a forum to get together and talk
about ideas, about morals — that's a
cool concept. But then, of course,
institutional religions are so
Righteous Babe Records allows DiFranco a
great deal of artistic freedom. For example,
on her 2004 album
Educated Guess, DiFranco played all
of the instruments, provided all of the
vocals, and recorded the album by herself at
her home on an analog 8-track
reel to reel. She was also involved in
much of the artwork and design for the
packaging. The only other person involved in
the record's musical production was Greg
Calbi, who mastered it.
References to her independence
from major labels appear occasionally in
DiFranco's songs, including "The Million You
Never Made" (Not
A Pretty Girl), which discusses the
act of turning down a lucrative contract,
"The Next Big Thing" (Not
So Soft), which describes an
imagined meeting with a label head-hunter
who evaluates the singer based on her looks,
and "Napoleon" (Dilate),
which sympathizes sarcastically with an
unnamed friend who did sign with a label. A
long standing rumor, apparently begun by
Spin Magazine in 1997, suggests that
the friend addressed in "Napoleon" is the
Suzanne Vega; both DiFranco and Vega
have denied this.
DiFranco has occasionally
Prince in discussing publicly the
problems associated with major record
companies. Righteous Babe Records employs a
number of people in her hometown of Buffalo.
In a 1997 open letter to
she expressed displeasure that what she
considers a way to ensure her own artistic
freedom was seen by others solely in terms
of its financial success.
Steve Albini at
The New Yorker festival
in September 2005.
DiFranco contributed vocals
and vibes to "Girl on a Road" on
Ferron's CD Boulder 2008.
On September 11, 2007, she
released the first retrospective of her
Canon and for the first time, a
collection of poetry in a book titled
Reprieve was released on August 8,
2006. It was previously leaked on
iTunes for several hours around July 1,
2006, due to an error saying it was released
 DiFranco performed with
Cyndi Lauper on "Sisters of Avalon", a
track from Lauper's 2005 collection
The Body Acoustic.
She also collaborated with
fellow folk singer
Dar Williams on "Comfortably Numb", a
Pink Floyd cover song from Williams'
My Better Self.
In 2002 her rendition of
Greg Brown's "The Poet Game" appeared on
Going Driftless: An Artists' Tribute to
In April 2008, DiFranco
commented on the status of her new album,
Red Letter Year stating:
I’m really excited. I have
a new band I’m working with, and they’re
all over it. Actually, there are a lot
of people. I have more guests and
friends and other artists involved this
time around than I have in a long time.
It’s fuckin’ sprawling, this record.
I’ve been working on it for a while now,
taking a little bit more time because
I’m on baby time now. My pace is a
little bit slower, which I think is
great in terms of making records. I
think it will benefit the end result.
Evolve Wins the 2004 Grammy Award
for Best Recording Package
b Gene Stout
(August 21, 2006). "DiFranco
makes time for radical sabbatical:
Indie rocker records new album and
prepares for motherhood". The
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Retrieved on 2008-01-02.
Daily Texan (September 17,
2002). Retrieved on 2008-01-02.
^ Lori Leibovich (March 27,
Who Think: Hey hey, ho ho, the
matriarchy's got to go".
Salon. Retrieved on 2008-01-02.
hasn't changed the way DiFranco
works: Independently". The
Sacramento Bee (April 14, 2000).
Retrieved on 2008-01-02.
Ani DiFranco Biography -
Discography, Music, Lyrics, Album,
CD, Career, Famous Works, and Awards
Notes on the album Open Ended
Ani DiFranco, Folksinger and
Entrepreneur by Kris Scott
Marti, November 28, 2004
 by Achy Obejas, The
Advocate, Dec 9, 1997
Biography of Ani DiFranco on
"Introducing Petah Lucia DiFranco
Napolitano" Celebrity Baby Blog.
July 3, 2007.
^ Dowd, Kathy Ehrich.
"Singer Ani DiFranco Welcomes a
January 23, 2007.
^ Huff, Quentin B.
Ani DiFranco: Red Letter Year.
Accessed 18 December 2008.
^ Farley, Christopher, John.
A life in Song. Wall Street
Journal, December 5, 2008.
Accessed 18 December 2008.
Rolling Stone news
^ Hearey, Owen (2006-07-22). "'Righteous
Babe' announces she is pregnant",
Buffalo News, pp. D1.
Retrieved on 11 May 2008.
Facts about Ani
Ani DiFranco, Living in Clip by Jon
Rock Troubadours by Jeffrey
^ Brian Orloff (September 16,
Rolling Stone. Retrieved on
^ Lauren Gitlin (August 27,
Willie Support Kucinich".
Rolling Stone. Retrieved on
^ Rothschild, Matthew (2000-05-09).
DiFranco — folk singer — Interview",
Retrieved on 10 April 2008.
Educated guess article
Interview with Ms. Magazine
I-tunes Mislabeled Release Date as
The Santa Barbara Independent Ani
DiFranco Talks Past, Present, and
Retrieved on 06-06-07