SO many tags: singer, songwriter, DIY Pioneer, activist... Ani DiFranco tours to the Queens Hall this evening in support of her new album Binary, released last month via Righteous Babe and Aveline Records.
Widely considered a feminist icon, Grammy winner DiFranco is the mother of the DIY movement, being one of the first artists to create her own record label in 1990.
While she has been known as the ‘Little Folksinger’, her music has embraced punk, funk, hip hop, jazz, soul, electronica and even more distant sounds.
Her collaborators have included everyone from Utah Phillips to legendary R&B saxophonist Maceo Parker to Prince.
She has shared stages with Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Seeger, Kris Kristofferson, Greg Brown, Billy Bragg, Michael Franti, Chuck D, and many more. Impressive.
With Binary, the singer returns to territory that brought her to the world’s attention more than 25 years ago.
One of the first artists to create her own label, she has been recognised among the feminist pantheon for her entrepreneurship, social activism and outspoken political lyrics.
At a time of global chaos and confusion, DiFranco is kicking ass and taking names, with a set of songs offering a wide range of perspective and musical scope.
Written prior to the 2016 election, the songs on Binary are prescient of the current political situation in America, tackling the challenge and necessity of teaching non-violence with Pacifist’s Lament and the need for empathy in Terrifying Sight.
Play God, a rallying cry for reproductive rights, is currently playing out in Congress. And on the title track, DiFranco reveals the larger meaning of the album.
“This binary principle is echoed throughout our bodies,” she notes. “With one ear, we ‘hear’ but only with two ears can we perceive the full spectrum of depth and position.
“This idea that refuses now to let me go; that nothing can truly exist except in relationship with something else is where this song & album are coming from.”
Queens Hall, Clerk Street, tonight, 7pm, £24.50, 0131-668 2019