Ani DiFranco Honored at John Lennon Benefit Show

FILE – In this May 6, 2012 file photo, Ani DiFranco performs with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans. DiFranco is the winner and will perform at the 41st Annual John Lennon Tribute Concert in December in New York City. DiFranco shares a drive for social activism with the late Beatle, a point noted in a statement from his widow Yoko Ono. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — When she was 9, singer Ani DiFranco’s guitar teacher gave her a collection of Beatles songs. She is now right to consult him again.

A group hosting a John Lennon benefit concert has selected DiFranco for its John Lennon Real Love Award, and she will perform his music at the tribute Dec. 10 in New York City.

DiFranco and his teacher, Michael Meldrum, used the book to learn the songs together.

“It’s a very dear and fond memory for me,” DiFranco said. “It has been a long road since then. It’s cool to come full circle around a John Lennon tribute, to be tasked with learning a few John Lennon songs.

She shares a drive for social activism with Lennon, a point his widow, Yoko Ono, made in a statement announcing the award. Past winners include Natalie Merchant, Rosanne Cash, Patti Smith and Donovan.

One song DiFranco has thrown around lately — not in the songbook — is “Woman” from John and Yoko’s 1980 album “Double Fantasy.” shamelessly at a time when many media criticized their relationship.

“I listen to a song like ‘Woman’ and I could cry for my man to write me such a song,” she said.

She’s also learned the Beatles’ plaintive plea “Help” and is open to suggestions for her setlist. The concert will take place at Symphony Space, with tickets on sale Friday. Run by the non-profit organization Theater Within, the show benefits from a free songwriting program for public schools and workshops for people with cancer and their family members.

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