Saturday 21 January 2017

Billie Holiday: Strange Fruit

Southern trees bear strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees

Pastoral scene of the gallant south
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop


Uploaded on Nov 25, 2006 by MonsieurBaudelaire
Rare Live Footage of one of the first anti-rascism songs ever.

Wikipedia: Strange Fruit
"Strange Fruit" is a song performed most famously by Billie Holiday, who first sang and recorded it in 1939. Written by teacher Abel Meeropol as a poem and published in 1937, it protested American racism, particularly the lynching of African Americans. Such lynchings had reached a peak in the South at the turn of the century, but continued there and in other regions of the United States. The lyrics are an extended metaphor linking a tree’s fruit with lynching victims.[4] Meeropol set it to music and, with his wife and the singer Laura Duncan, performed it as a protest song in New York City venues in the late 1930s, including Madison Square Garden.

In popular culture: Politics
British Singer Rebecca Ferguson, publicly declined an invitation from president-elect Donald Trump to sing at his inauguration saying that she would perform only if she could sing Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit.” The inaugural team felt that it was inappropriate, in so much as there hasn't been a lynching in America in over 50 years, and the tune is out of place at an inauguration.

Wikipedia: Billie Holiday
Eleanora Fagan (April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959), professionally known as Billie Holiday, was an American jazz musician and singer-songwriter with a career spanning nearly thirty years. Nicknamed "Lady Day" by her friend and music partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz music and pop singing. Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo. She was known for her vocal delivery and improvisational skills, which made up for her limited range and lack of formal music education. There were other jazz singers with equal talent, but Holiday had a voice that captured the attention of her audience.

YouTube: Billie Holiday-Strange fruit- HD - Uploaded on Dec 22, 2011 by prokoman1


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1 comment: said...

Surely one of the most heartbreaking songs ever. The first time I heard it I sat down and cried. Our capacity for brutality is frightening.