Ani DiFranco in the spotlight at the John Lennon benefit show
When she was 9 years old, 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 selected DiFranco for their John Lennon Real Love Award, and she will perform his music at the tribute on December 10 in Manhattan.
DiFranco and his teacher, Michael Meldrum, would use the book to learn the songs together.
“It’s a very good memory for me,” said DiFranco, 50. “It’s been a long way since then. It’s cool to come full circle with a tribute to John Lennon, to be tasked with learning a few songs from John Lennon.”
She shares a drive towards social activism with Lennon, a point her widow, Yoko Ono, made in a statement announcing the award. Previous winners include Natalie Merchant, Rosanne Cash, Patti Smith and Donovan.
One song DiFranco has been playing lately – not in the songbook – is “Woman” from John and Yoko’s “Double Fantasy” album in 1980. She is in awe of her bravery in writing the song. shameless love at a time when many media were critical of their relationship.
“I listen to a song like ‘Woman’ and I could cry with desire for my man to write me such a song,” she said.
She has also learned the Beatles’ plaintive “Help” plea and is open to suggestions for her set list. The concert will take place at the Symphony Space, with tickets on sale now. Managed by the non-profit Theater Within, the show benefits from a free songwriting program for public schools and workshops for people with cancer and their families.