SO MUCH Shouting, So Much Laughter is the new live album by US alternative folk singer Ani DiFranco. It is a great introduction to her music. Since her first album in 1990, she has toured almost constantly, building up a devoted following in the US and internationally. She is a fantastic live performer.
Her songs are political, punchy and often funny, and cover subjects from unrequited love to the death penalty, from Palestine to bisexuality. Ani DiFranco was a supporter of Green candidate Ralph Nader in the US presidential elections in 2000, playing at rallies in his support. She is also a staunch opponent of the 'war on terror'.
In a new poem set to music called 'Self Evident', written and developed while touring, she speaks with compassion about those who died in the World Trade Centre on 11 September. She goes on to attack the war propaganda that followed. She talks with anger about the illegitimacy of the presidential election: 'And we hold these truths to be self evident/Number one - George W Bush is not president/Number two - America is not a true democracy/Number three - the media is not fooling me.'
The album would almost be worth it for the nine minutes of 'Self Evident' alone. But it contains over two hours of music spanning her 12-year career. Other highlights include 'To the Teeth', about the murderous effects of the power of the US gun lobby, and 'My IQ', about how children are constrained by the way they are taught.
This album gives you a taste of a voice of US protest that refuses to be drowned out amid the clamour for war.