Ani DiFranco encourages voting in the 2020 election in the new single “Do or Die.”
Directed by Zoë Boekbinder, the accompanying video opens with DiFranco getting out of bed. “Do you ever just want to give up?” she sings. “Well, me too.” She shaves her head in her bathroom and embarks on a bike ride in New Orleans — where she encounters the local organizations Dancing Grounds and the New Orleans Dance Collective. They make a sign that says “Vote them out,” as DiFranco sings in jazzy splendor: “We can do this/If we try/If we do this/Like it’s do or die.”
“Nothing will stem the tide of suffering from Covid-19, economic crisis, police brutality, mass incarceration, endemic poverty, entrenched white supremacy and misogyny, deportation and detainment, gun violence, fire, flood, disease, pollution, irradiation, exploitation, forced reproduction, gender and sexualit -based violence and oppression, disinformation, propaganda, corruption, and greed…short of a functioning democracy!” DiFranco said in a statement. “Let’s harness our outrage and vote.”
DiFranco came out of isolation to record the track, which she recorded in a strip mall in Durham, North Carolina. She wore her mask, except when singing in front of a microphone. “The group was put together by Brad Cook and included his brother Phil Cook on keys, Yan Westerlund on drums, Brevan Hampden on percussion and Matt Douglas on flute,” she said. “Later, my touring compadre Terence Higgins overdubbed some more percussion, and a string quartet called Delgani was added in Eugene, Oregon, arranged by my other touring companion, Todd Sickafoose. Pandemic productions!”
DiFranco and Boekbinder recently collaborated on Long Time Gone, an album that told the stories of inmates at New Folsom Prison in Folsom, California. She released her memoir, No Walls and the Recurring Dream, last year.