Grammy winner Ani DiFranco will take the Strings stage in Steamboat
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Grammy winner Ani DiFranco will take the stage at Strings Music Pavilion on Sunday, Feb. 9, for a much-anticipated performance.
“She brings fire, fury, passion and humor to her shows,” said Greg Hamilton, Strings’ marketing director.
And Hamilton knows — he has seen her perform multiple times, from coast to coast, including at Red Rocks, a football stadium in Seattle and in grassy fields at summer music festivals.
“She can rock a big arena crowd, but she’s one of those rare performers whose studio work I also love,” Hamilton said. “She puts a lot of intelligence into her lyrics and can be very personal and put her heart right out there.”
DiFranco, who has been nominated for a handful of Grammys, is known for being strongly political and using her lyrics to bring awareness to contemporary social issues, such as racism, sexual abuse, homophobia and reproductive rights.
“She does talk a lot about the things that are going on in the world, but it’s heartening,” Hamilton said. “It’s like her music and her art is her way to process all the things that are wrong in the world and then move forward.”
Her music has been classified as both folk rock and alternative rock, but ever since her early albums, she has incorporated many different genres, including punk, funk, hip hop and jazz. She has released more that 20 albums, all on her own record label, Righteous Babe, which she founded in 1990, giving herself a significant amount of creative freedom.
After recording with DiFranco in 1999, now deceased singer Prince described the effects of that freedom saying, “We jammed for four hours, and she danced the whole time. We had to quit because she wore us out. After being with her, it dawned on me why she’s like that — she’s never had a ceiling over her.”
What: Ani DiFranco
When: Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; show starts at 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9
Where: Strings Music Festival, 900 Strings Road
Cost: Tickets start at $55; available at stringsmusicfestival.com
A passionate activist, she has been a big supporter of many political and social movements by performing at benefit concerts, recording for benefit albums and speaking at rallies. She has backed many grassroots cultural and political organizations through her foundation, supporting abortion rights and LGBTQ visibility.
Widely considered a feminist icon, she has won several awards aside from her Grammy, including the Woman of Courage Award from the National Organization for Women and the Artistic Achievement Award from the Winnipeg Folk Festival.
“She’s a perfect fit for what we do at Strings,” Hamilton said. “I think the community will get it and understand what she’s singing about.”
As a seasoned viewer himself, Hamilton recommends seeing her in a smaller space like Strings.
“She will be fantastic in this space,” he said. “You’ll be able to see sweat, spit, fingers on keys. I can imagine there will be laugh-out-loud moments, tears and spine tingles. I think everyone will walk away feeling like the show was for them. I can’t imagine a better place to see a performer who puts so much personal stuff into every lyric, every note.”
And as for DiFranco, she is looking forward to returning to Steamboat.
“It’s been too long, Steamboat,” she said. “Who’s more different now, you or me?”
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.
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