Righteous Mama Glow

Last night was a big night for me.

After listening to Ani DiFranco‘s music for over fifteen years last night I got to see her in concert for the first time.

Not just any concert, mind you. A small venue, as in– just a big room with a stage in one corner. And on it, just Ani with a guitar. No band, no distractions, fifteen feet away with only three heads between me and Ani DiFranco. I was giddy.

When I first walked in, I looked around in disbelief at the size of the room, and the small number of the assembled crowd, and had to ask the bartender to be sure I was in the right place.

No mistake. That’s New Orleans for you.

When Ani finally walked out onto the little stage, looking like a regular person more or less, like any good friend of mine, and then started singing in the voice so raw and familiar, I reeled. I glowed. I cried.

To be honest I haven’t kept up with Ani in years. Back in the day I had listened her early albums threadbare, knew every lyric to every song. I hadn’t been much into her later, more melancholy stuff. I always loved her music for it’s bared teeth–I am perfectly capable of being sad all on my own. But hearing her newest songs, and her little bits of stories between, I realized she had grown right through the melancholy. She’s come through all the fuck you’s and the fuck me’s, and out the other end.

What does this have to do with this blog? Am I turning music critic? Hardly.

The punchline is– Ani DiFranco is now both wife and mama.

Wow.

Most of you are wondering what the hell I’m talking about. It sounds an innocuous statement. Plenty of wives and mamas in the world. Let me fill you in. Ani has long been a top icon of the punk/hard-core/feminist/bi-dyke subculture. She’s famous for her snarl. She eats men for lunch, right? Not lunch with a man. Who she’s married to. And succumbed to– oh that most dreaded of chains!– a baby by?!

I feel so… proud. Proud of her, a true rengade, willing to bare the scorn even of her own entourage, and also proud to be one of her fans.

She’s a righteous babe, that much cannot be argued. But now she’s a righteous mama too.

Hell yeah.

6 thoughts on “Righteous Mama Glow

  1. Loving this post!

    Ani has been a hero for me as well, for every bit as long as fifteen years. Our youngest sat upfront in Bellingham, loving her show, just last year at this time.
    Feel proud in all directions. Proud of your choices, of Ani’s and towards those who are putting feminist parenting up front. It’s hard work.
    Being connected to kids-now-adults, smack in the middle of cultural change is tremendous payback for a parent, well worth the effort.

    Thanks for your writing, Mama

  2. yay first ani show! she’s lovely live, no? i’ve been listening to her for 15 years *also* – it’s always really interesting and inspiring to watch artists and musicians, writers and actresses, etc, evolve. and to see their evolving mirror yer own.
    i’m happy you got to go to that show.

  3. I am so incredibly envious. I adore Ani but only for the last three years since I discovered her. Part of my love for her is everything you mentioned knowing her as mixed in with being a Mum and songs like little bag of sugar. Man I hope one day I’m in your shoes watching her that close. <3

  4. I love Ani. I really, really want to see her live! My first Ani album was Living in Clip. Outside of Depeche Mode’s 101, its the *only* live album I can listen through, with no urges to turn it off and find a different album to listen to. And like you, I’ve also not kept up well with her newer music. I think I’m going to go rectify that issue right now and have an Ani-day today. :)

  5. I’m an Ani fan in the same vein. Mid 30’s mama who has the lyrics to the first albums memorized! Ah…I can sure sing me some ‘Both Hands’. Glad you got to see her as a mama and wife. I blogged about Ani right when my little one was born. It was sort of surreal coming to terms with both motherhood and Ani fandom.

    Saw Ani in NO too. Many moons ago… House of Blues…

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