Hoe Billie Holiday se 'Strange Fruit' 'n lelike tydperk van Lynchings gekonfronteer het

Hoe Billie Holiday se 'Strange Fruit' 'n lelike tydperk van Lynchings gekonfronteer het


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Die spookagtige lirieke van 'Strange Fruit' skets 'n prentjie van 'n plattelandse Amerikaanse suide waar politieke en sielkundige terreur heers oor Afro -Amerikaanse gemeenskappe.

"Swart lywe wat in die suidelike briesie swaai," sing die blueslegende Billie Holiday in haar kragtige opname van die lied in 1939, "Vreemde vrugte wat aan die populierbome hang." Die lirieke van die liedjie beeld die daaglikse geweld uit wat swart mense toegedien het. En Holiday het dit gewaag om dit op te voer - voor swart en wit gehore.

'Sy wou 'n verklaring maak met die liedjie. Daar was iets daaroor om voor wit gehore te staan ​​en dapper genoeg te wees om die voortgesette misdaad van Amerika die hoof te bied, ”sê Loyola University Maryland, mede -professor in Afrika- en Afro -Amerikaanse studies, Karsonya (Kaye) Wise Whitehead. 'Die skryfwerk het nie net oor die verlede gegaan nie - dit het op daardie oomblik gebeur.

LEES MEER: 11 volksliedere van Black Pride and Protest Through American History

'Vreemde vrugte' het as 'n gedig begin

Meer as 4000 swart mense is tussen 1877 en 1950 in die openbaar in die Verenigde State vermoor, volgens die verslag van die Equal Justice Initiative in 2015, Lynching in Amerika. 'Vreemde vrugte' is gedurende 'n dekade geskryf toe aktivistiese organisasies soos die National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People die wetgewers aangespoor het om lynch tot 'n federale misdaad te maak. Maar die pogings van die NAACP is voortdurend in die wiele gery deur wit oppergesagters in die Demokratiese Party wat filibusters gebruik het om sulke rekeninge te verslaan.

Abel Meeropol, 'n Joodse Amerikaner wie se familie uit die Tsaristiese Rusland gevlug het, het 'Bitter Fruit' geskryf as 'n refleksie op die foto van 7 Augustus 1930 van die lynchings van J. Thomas Shipp en Abraham S. Smith in Marion, Indiana. Shipp (18), Smith (19) en die 16-jarige James Cameron is van roof, moord en verkragting beskuldig. Cameron kon die skare ontsnap, maar Shipp en Smith is uit hul tronkselle gesleep en doodgeslaan. Die foto toon die lyke van Shipp en Smith wat aan die toue hang terwyl 'n skare wit mense na hul liggame staar. Een man kyk terug na die kamera terwyl hy na die gruweldaad wys.

Onder die skuilnaam, Lewis Allan, het Meeropol sy gedig getoonset en 'Bitter Fruit' as 'n proteslied in die New York -omgewing saam met sy vrou Anne opgevoer. Hulle het dit selfs in Madison Square Garden saam met die blues -sanger Laura Duncan uitgevoer. Die liedjie, nou bekend as 'Strange Fruit', is laat in 1938 na Billie Holiday gebring, net soos sy 'n reeks vertonings bespreek het by Barney Josephson's Café Society, die eerste ras -geïntegreerde nagklub in New York.

Holiday se optredes het gehore stilgemaak

Nadat hy die onwilligheid om dit aan te pak, teëgekom het, het Holiday "Strange Fruit" haar handtekening gemaak. Terwyl haar stel tot 'n einde kom, sou kelners ophou bedien. Dan sou Holiday alleen op 'n stoel sit met slegs die mikrofoon en 'n speldjie op haar gesig terwyl sy sing. Na die laaste reëls: "Hier is 'n vrug vir die kraaie om te pluk/dat die reën opkom/dat die wind suig/dat die son kan vrot/dat die boom kan val/Hier is 'n vreemde en bitter gewas" - koue stilte het dikwels gevolg, en Holiday sou die verhoog verlaat.

'As die ligte weer aanskakel, sou sy weg wees, daar sou nie meer 'n hoek wees nie,' sê Whitehead. 'Sy sou van die verhoog af wees - dit was haar versoek - maar sy wou die liedjie net daar laat hang. En dit sou haar laaste stelling wees. En hulle praat gereeld oor hoe die blanke gehore ongemaklik sou wees om te klap. ”

Whitehead, wat ook stigter is van die The Karson Institute For Race, Peace & Social Justice, voeg by: 'Ons dink dikwels aan Billie Holiday as sanger. En ons dink op daardie tydstip aan swart vroue as net groot sangers, maar ek dink nie ons praat genoeg daaroor dat hulle hul platform gebruik om 'n standpunt te maak teen onreg nie, en dan die koste en die prys wat hulle betaal het om dit te doen.

A Tyd tydskrifkritikus was getuie van die optrede van Holiday en het 'n rubriek daaroor geskryf met foto's van Billie Holiday saam met die lirieke van die liedjie. 'Toe Billie verskyn in Tyd, wat haar so aansien gegee het, ”onthou Barney Josephson in sy boek Cafe Society: die verkeerde plek vir die regte mense. 'Dit het Billie 'n swart kunstenaar gemaak wat iets te sê gehad het en dit gesê het, die lus gehad het om dit te sê, om dit te sing.

'Vreemde vrugte' genoem lied van die eeu

Holiday het moontlik nie die impak daarvan voorspel nie Tyd tydskrifbeoordeling sou hê, maar sy het wel die krag van die liedjie verstaan. Holiday se stem- en improvisasievermoëns het Meeropol se poësiekrag en emosionele impak gegee.

"Die eerste keer dat ek dit sing, het ek gedink dit was 'n fout, en ek was tereg bang," skryf Holiday in haar outobiografie, Lady sing die blues. 'Daar was nie eens 'n toejuiging toe ek klaar was nie. Toe begin 'n eensame persoon senuweeagtig klap. Toe klap almal skielik. ”

Holiday het op 20 April 1939 'Strange Fruit' saam met die jazz -etiket van Commodore Records opgeneem.

Nie alle gehore het Holiday se uitvoering van die liedjie waardeer nie. Onder hulle was die direkteur van die Federale Buro vir Narkose, Harry Anslinger. Anslinger, wat openlik rassistiese standpunte ondersteun het, het gesorg dat Holiday, wat sukkel met dwelmgebruik, in 1947 geteiken, agtervolg en gearresteer word vir die besit van verdowingsmiddels. Sy is 'n jaar na die Alderson Federal Prison Camp in West Virginia gestuur. By haar vrylating is Holiday verbied om 'n kabaret -kunstenaarslisensie te kry.

Ondanks haar gesukkel het Holiday se uitvoering van "Strange Fruit" steeds aanklank gevind - en dit bly onder haar topverkoperopnames. In 1999, Tyd tydskrif het Holiday se weergawe van "Strange Fruit" die "Song of the Century" genoem.


Nul G -klank

Suidelike bome dra vreemde vrugte,
Bloed op die blare en bloed aan die wortel,
Swart lywe swaai in die suidelike bries,
Vreemde vrugte wat aan die populierbome hang.

Pastorale toneel van die galante suide,
Die bultende oë en die verdraaide mond,
Geur van magnolias, soet en vars,
Dan die skielike reuk van brandende vlees.

Hier is vrugte vir die kraaie om te pluk,
Vir die reën om te versamel, vir die wind om te suig,
Vir die son om te vrot, om die bome te laat val,
Hier is 'n vreemde en bitter oes. "

Wat kan ons sê oor Billie Holiday wat nog nie voorheen gesê is nie? Sy het in die 1930's bekend geword waar sy in 1935 saam met die Teddy Wilson -orkes gespeel het, in 1936 solo gegaan het, in 1937 by Count Basie aangesluit en uiteindelik in 1938 by Artie Shaw, voordat sy uiteindelik weer op haar eie uitstap as een van die grootste jazz -sangers. wie ooit gelewe het! Daar is iets aan haar stem wat Lady Gady & 8221 onderskei van enige van haar tydgenote, of inderdaad iemand wat in haar reuse -voetspore probeer volg het. Miskien was dit haar moeilike opvoeding, wat in die klein kroeë van Harlem gespeel het (insluitend 'n betowering in 'n bordeel), wat haar spesiale angs, pyn en hartseer gegee het, 'n hunkering na iets of iemand beter in haar lewe.
"Vreemde vrugte"is 'n lied wat die bekendste uitgevoer is deur Billie Holiday, wat dit die eerste keer in 1939 gesing en opgeneem het. Dit is deur die onderwyser Abel Meeropol as 'n gedig geskryf, en het Amerikaanse rassisme blootgestel, veral die lynch van Afro -Amerikaners. Sulke lynchings het veral in die suide voorgekom maar ook in ander streke van die Verenigde State. Meeropol het dit getoonset en saam met sy vrou en die sangeres Laura Duncan dit as 'n proteslied opgevoer in New York -venues, waaronder Madison Square Garden.
Die liedjie is gedek deur kunstenaars, sowel as inspirerende romans, ander gedigte en ander kreatiewe werke. In 1978 is Holiday se weergawe van die lied in die Grammy Hall of Fame opgeneem. Dit is ook in die lys van Liedere van die eeu, deur die Recording Industry of America en die National Endowment for the Arts.

Barney Josephson, die stigter van Cafe Society in Greenwich Village, New York se eerste geïntegreerde nagklub, het die lied gehoor en dit aan Billie Holiday voorgestel. Ander berigte sê dat Robert Gordon, wat Billie Holiday se program by Cafe Society gelei het, die liedjie by Madison Square Garden gehoor het en dit aan haar voorgestel het. Holiday het die lied vir die eerste keer opgevoer by Cafe Society in 1939. Sy het gesê dat sing dit haar bang maak vir vergelding, maar omdat die beelde haar aan haar pa herinner het, het sy die stuk bly sing en dit 'n gereelde deel van haar lewendige optredes gemaak. Vanweë die treffendheid van die liedjie, het Josephson 'n paar reëls opgestel: Holiday sou dit afsluk, die kelners sou alle diens vooraf stop, die kamer sou in die duisternis wees, behalwe vir 'n kollig op Holiday se gesig en daar sou nie meer 'n koor wees nie. Tydens die musikale inleiding staan ​​Holiday met haar oë toe, asof sy 'n gebed oproep.
Holiday het haar opnamemaatskappy, Columbia, genader oor die liedjie, maar die maatskappy was bang vir die reaksie deur platehandelaars in die Suide, sowel as die negatiewe reaksie van affiliasies van sy mede-besit radionetwerk, CBS. Selfs John Hammond, die vervaardiger van Holiday, het geweier, en daarom het sy haar tot vriend Milt Gabler gewend, wie se Commodore -etiket alternatiewe jazz vervaardig. Holiday het vir hom 'n vreemde vrug 'a cappella gesing en hom tot trane laat beweeg. Columbia het vir Holiday 'n vrystelling van een sessie van haar kontrak toegelaat om dit op te neem, en die agt-stuk Cafe Society Band van Frankie Newton is vir die sessie gebruik. Omdat hy bekommerd was dat die liedjie te kort was, het Gabler die pianis Sonny White gevra om 'n inleiding te improviseer sodat Holiday eers na 70 sekondes begin sing. Gabler het 'n spesiale reëling met Vocalion Records uitgewerk om die liedjie op te neem en te versprei.
Sy het twee groot sessies by Commodore opgeneem, een in 1939 en een in 1944. Die liedjie was hoog aangeskryf en die rekord van 1939 het 'n miljoen eksemplare verkoop, en dit het mettertyd die grootste rekord van Holiday geword.
In haar outobiografie, "Lady Sings the Blues", stel Holiday voor dat sy, saam met Meeropol, haar begeleier Sonny White en verwerker Danny Mendelsohn, die gedig op musiek stel. Die skrywers David Margolick en Hilton Als verwerp die eis in hul werk, Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Song en skryf dat haar '' 'n rekord is wat 'n rekord kan stel vir die meeste verkeerde inligting per kolomduim '. Op 'n uitdaging sê Holiday - wie se outobiografie deur William Dufty geskryf is - "Ek het die boek nog nooit gelees nie."

Die samestelling "Strange Fruit" is in 1991 vrygestel en bevat opnames van 1933-1940.

01. I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues (Frankie Newton en sy orkes)
02. Fine And Mellow (Frankie Newton en sy orkes)
03. Gisters (Frankie Newton en sy orkes)
04. Vreemde vrugte (Frankie Newton en sy orkes)
05. Long Gone Blues (Billie Holiday en haar orkes)
06. Swaai! Broer, swaai! (Billie Holiday en haar orkes)
07. St. Louis Blues (Billie Holiday With Benny Carter & amp; His All Star Orchestra)
08. Dit is al wat ek van jou vra (Billie Holiday en haar orkes)
09. Kom ons roep die hele ding af (Billie Holiday en haar orkes)
10. Somertyd (Billie Holiday en haar orkes)
11. Nag en dag (Billie Holiday en haar orkes)
12. Hulle kan dit nie van my wegneem nie (Count Basie en sy orkes)
13. Jou ma se skoonseun (Benny Goodman en sy orkes)
14. Ek kan nie voorgee nie (Billie Holiday en haar orkes)
15. Droom Van Die Lewe (Billie Holiday en haar orkes)
16. 'n Ander lente (Billie Holiday en haar orkes)
17. Nou noem hulle dit Swing (Billie Holiday en haar orkes)
18. Ek hoor musiek (Billie Holiday en haar orkes)
19. Liggaam en siel (Billie Holiday en haar orkes)
20. Ek wens op die maan (Teddy Wilson en sy orkes)
21. Ghost Of Yesterdays (Billie Holiday en haar orkes)
22. Aan die sentimentele kant (Billie Holiday en haar orkes)
23. Die einste gedagte aan jou (Billie Holiday en haar orkes)
24. Jy gaan na my kop (Billie Holiday en haar orkes)

Billie Holiday - Strange Fruit (1933 - 1940)
(256 kbps, voorblad ingesluit)

3 kommentaar:

Billie Holiday sing! Wat 'n goeie manier om 'n nuwe jaar te begin.
Dankie en alles van die beste vir hierdie nuwe jaar 2017!

Dankie vir al die wonderlike musiek wat verlede jaar en vorige jare geplaas is en die emosionele hoogtepunte wat daaruit voortspruit. Soos vuoksenniska, kan ek nie 'n beter manier bedink om die nuwe jaar te begin as met die ongelooflike talent van Billie Holiday en, onder andere, haar weergawe van Abel Meeropol & quotStrange Fruit & quot. Die lied dien nie net vir my as 'n herinnering daaraan dat nostalgie vir die herstel van na bewering beter tye absurd is nie, maar dit laat my ook altyd die verhaal van sy ouers, Julius en Ethel Rosenberg, en die onreg van die doodstraf onthou. Ek sien baie uit na wat u hierdie jaar gaan plaas.

Ek moet regtig my musiekversameling verdeel in B. Z. en A. Z., voor en na Zero. U plaas konsekwent soveel wonderlik eklekties, moeilik om nêrens anders te vind nie, en in 'n verskeidenheid tale dat ek u nooit genoeg kan bedank vir die ongelooflike genot wat ek en my gesin daaruit put nie. Behalwe wat voorheen geplaas is, laai ek dit alles af. Omdat ek nie 'n musikant is nie of komposisie kan ontleed of selfs verstaan, kan ek net dankie sê vir wat my ore en darm verheug, want woorde en 'n beskrywende musikale woordeskat misluk my anders en ek wil nie die risiko loop om oorbodig en herhalend te word deur net te skryf nie Dankie#8221 in reaksie op die vele individuele plasings waarvan ek hou.

Ek waardeer veral die implisiete politieke konteks en die betekenis van baie van die poste. In hierdie tyd van reaksionêre nasionalisme, onverdraagsaamheid en grootpratery in die weste van baie lande, luister na Pete Seeger, Barbara Dane en ander wat ewe moeilike tye beleef het, en inspireer en motiveer 'n mens om te organiseer en te werk vir verandering, eerder as om te wankel in hopeloosheid en traagheid. . Ek verlaat dit net met die dankbaarheid vir die tyd en moeite wat u en ander spandeer om 'n uitstekende blog te bied. Die beste in die komende jaar vir u en almal wat u help om hierdie blog moontlik te maak

Baie dankie aan julle albei vir julle opbouende kommentaar. U beskryf die wonderlike krag van musiek: dit kan ons inspirasie en motivering gee, en dit kan help teen die gevoel van hopeloosheid in hierdie vreemde tye. Daarom wil ek u dankie sê aan al die wonderlike vroue en mans wat wonderlike musiek skryf en speel. Soos Leonard Cohen geskryf het: & quot. maar ons het die musiek & quot.


Strange and Bitter: A Billie Holiday Performance

Verkoel. Spook. Ontstellend. Dit is die woorde wat dikwels gebruik word om Billie Holiday se kragtige, maar onheilspellende weergawe van "Strange Fruit" te beskryf. 'Strange Fruit', wat geskryf is en gereël is deur Abel Meeropol, 'n Joodse hoërskoolonderwyser, ondersoek die Amerikaanse rassisme opdringerig. In die besonder bied Holiday se lewendige uitvoering van die lied 'n skerp analise van die behandeling van Afro -Amerikaners, gebaseer op 'n ryk artistieke uitdrukking om die bewussyn van die Amerikaanse volk aan te val.

Holiday se eerste uitvoering van die liedjie het in die vroeë veertigerjare plaasgevind by die Café Society, 'n nagklub in Greenwich Village. Haar sielvolle weergawe het die klub se gehoor in 'n verstomde stilte gelaat. Dit was na die eerste optrede dat die bestuurder van die klub 'n paar basiese reëls vir "Strange Fruit" opgestel het. [1] Terwyl die stuk begin, word die huis se ligte dowwer, met slegs 'n enkele stroom lig wat Holiday se gesig verlig. Die bedieningspersoneel sou ophou bedien gedurende die hele stuk. En 'Strange Fruit' sou die laaste liedjie van die nag wees, sonder enige encore.

Suidelike bome dra vreemde vrugte/Bloed op die blare en bloed aan die wortel/Swart lywe swaai in die suidelike bries/Vreemde vrugte wat aan die populierbome hang.

Pastorale toneel van die galante suide/Die bultende oë en die verdraaide mond/Geur van magnolias, soet en vars/Dan die skielike reuk van brandende vlees.

Hier is vrugte vir die kraaie om te pluk/Vir die reën om te versamel, vir die wind om te suig/Vir die son om te verrot, om die bome te laat val/Hier is 'n vreemde en bitter oes.

Dit is duidelik dat hierdie riglyne 'n direkte invloed op die uitvoering gehad het, wat die weg gebaan het vir so 'n moeilike en ontstellende lied. Die lirieke skets 'n vreedsame toneel wat ontwrig word deur 'n gewelddadige en sinistere vrug wat aan die bome hang. Die woorde is moeilik en donker, veral omdat die metafoor vir lynch duidelik word. In kombinasie met die uitvoering van Holiday, roep die lied egter 'n dieper reaksie op.

Sy staan ​​stil. Die eenvoudige mineurtoon van die klavier bied die enigste begeleiding. Haar byna leë staar bly vorentoe en afwaarts, wat dui op 'n gevoel van hartseer en angs oor die vreemde vrugte wat geoes word. Die beperkte bewegings beklemtoon die erns en erns van die onderwerp van die liedjie, en hou die gehoor gefokus op die grusame lirieke.

Die gesigsuitdrukkings van Holiday maak ook baie deel uit van die uitvoering. Sy gebruik dramatiese en oordrewe uitdrukkings om die gruwel en die ontstellende aard van die toneel wat beskryf word volledig uit te beeld. Net so roep sy 'n onrusbarende, en amper harde, vokalisering op. Deur hierdie diep en byna skurende buigings te gebruik, weerspieël frases soos "vreemde vrugte wat aan die populierbome hang" en "bultende oë" die angs en hartseer van die onderwerp.

Dit is interessant om die lewendige beeldmateriaal van Holiday sing "Strange Fruit" te vergelyk met dié van haar ander stemopnames. Byvoorbeeld, in baie van die opnames word Holiday vergesel van bykomende instrumentale stukke. Verder ontbreek hulle dikwels die dramatiese en sterk vokalisering van die lewendige uitvoering. Alhoewel hierdie stemopnames beslis 'n hartseer gevoel wek, lyk dit asof hulle nie die gevoel van pyn en onreg wat die lewende uitvoering veroorsaak, ontbreek nie. Die sang van die opnames het 'n byna mooi kwaliteit, aangesien dit nie so ontstellend is as die lewendige uitvoering nie.

Ongeag of dit die lewendige uitvoering of stemopnames is, die lirieke het 'n krag op sigself. Miskien is een van die eerste protesliedjies, "Vreemde vrugte", die verhaal van ras, politieke ideologie en kuns. Die liedjie is vinnig aangeneem as die volkslied vir die anti-lynch-beweging.

'Strange Fruit' was een van die eerste liedjies wat artistieke uitdrukking en optrede gebruik het, tesame met 'n protesagenda om die gewete van 'n land te konfronteer. David Margolick, skrywer van Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday, Café Society, en 'n vroeë uitroep om burgerregte, beskryf dit: 'Dit is te kunstig om volksmusiek te wees, te eksplisiet polities en polemies om jazz te wees. Geen enkele liedjie in die Amerikaanse geskiedenis was ooit so gewaarborg om 'n gehoor stil te maak of sulke ongemak te veroorsaak nie. [2] En dit het. Dit het 'n gehoor stilgemaak en 'n nasie uitgedaag.

[1] Pellegrinelli, Lara, "Evolusie van 'n lied: 'Vreemde vrugte'," NPR, 22 Junie 2009, besoek op 9 Februarie 2014, http://www.npr.org/2009/06/22/105699329/evolution-of-a-song-strange-fruit.

[2] Margolick, David, Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday, Café Society en 'n vroeë uitroep om burgerregte (Philadelphia: Running Press, 2002).


Geskep op 23 Junie 2009 | Opgedateer op 19 Maart 2013

Wat van die lyk oorgebly het, is deur die skare na Marianna gebring, waar dit nou aan 'n boom op die noordoostelike hoek van die hofplein hang.

Fotograwe sê dat hulle binnekort foto's van die liggaam vir 50 sent elk sal hê. Vingers en tone van Neal se liggaam word hier vryelik op die straathoeke uitgestal.

- 'n deel van 'n verslag uit Birmingham, Alabama oor die lynch van 'n swart man met die naam Claude Neal in 1934

In die jare na die Amerikaanse burgeroorlog is swartes soos beeste, soos diere, afgerond en doodgemaak. Dit was 1939 en slegs 'n paar dosyn swartes is elke jaar met 'n lyn geslaan. Die ergste skare was weg. Dit was 'n goeie tyd. Daardie jaar het 'n ietwat onduidelike Afro-Amerikaanse sangeres met die naam Billie Holiday, wat rondspring in die klubs in New York (ver van die Klansmen en die kwaadwilligheid van rassisme in die Suide, maar vasgesteek binne dieselfde wrede siklus van rassisme en diskriminasie), 'n gedig wat haar lewe verander het.

Die Lynching

Dit was 1930 in Marion, Indiana. Twee wit adolessente - een seuntjie, een meisie - het in 'n geparkeerde motor langs die Mississinewa -rivier gesit. Dit was 'n warm Augustus -aand. Die jong man ondersoek die voordele van die plaaslike 'lover's lane' saam met sy vriendin.

Intussen het drie jong swart mans langs 'n Ford Roadster in 1926 langs dieselfde rivier gery. Dit was 'n klein motor, miskien 'n goeie pas vir drie tienerseuns. Die 18-jarige bestuurder, Tom Shipp, en sy vriend Abram Smith het 'n rit huis toe aangebied aan 'n jonger vriend, die 16-jarige James Cameron. Hulle ry 'n geruime tyd voordat hulle die geparkeerde motor van die twee blanke minnaars langs die Mississinewa raakloop. Die Roadster rol tot stilstand. Shipp het Cameron geskrik deur 'n geweer te vervaardig en die jong man beveel om die kwesbare wit egpaar te beroof. Cameron stem huiwerig in, trek sy hoed af en klim uit die motor. Hy kom stadig na die ander motor, swaai dan sy deur oop en skree 'Hou hulle vas!'

Maar hy herken die jong blanke. Dit was. Claude Deeter. Cameron blink soms sy skoene. Hy was 'n gawe man. Miskien selfs 'n vriend. Deeter het gereeld na Cameron se familie gevra. Met die vuurwapen het Deeter en sy vriendin Mary Ball uit die motor geklim, onbewus van die identiteit van hul aanvaller.

Nee. Cameron draai om en gee die geweer terug aan sy metgeselle. 'Hier, ek gaan niks met julle te doen hê nie,' het hy gesê. Hy het gehardloop. Hy hardloop en bly hardloop, selfs nadat hy die geweerskote gehoor het wat van die rivier af gelui het. Hy het gehardloop totdat hy tuis was.

Laat die aand, nadat die lyk van Claude Deeter gevind is, is al drie die seuns deur die polisie afgerond en na die gevangenis geneem. Hulle staan ​​tereg op aanklagte van moord en verkragting. Die polisie het hulle daar geslaan. Elkeen in afsonderlike selle, het elkeen 'n ellendige nag alleen deurgebring. Hulle word wakker in die skemer deur die geluid van 'n groot menigte wat buite soos 'n karnaval klink. 'Wend hulle verdomde negers na ons toe', skreeu sommige onder hulle wit kappies, 'Ons weet hoe om hulle te behandel!' Hulle gooi klippe na die vensters. Toe die skare sy kookpunt bereik, het die polisie die skare aangemoedig om die seuns te neem en instruksies aan die leiers van die skare gegee. Die skare het die tronk binnegedring en deure met slee -hamers afgebreek. Maak al die negers dood. Maak al die negers dood. Hulle het eers Shipp verwyder. Hulle slaan, klits, skop en spoeg op hom. Toe hulle klaar was, het hulle 'n stewige tou om sy nek vasgemaak en hom aan 'n kroeg aan een van die vensters van die gevangenis gehang. Smith is die volgende - wreedaardig en daarna aan die tak van 'n esdoornboom gehang.

Laastens het hulle vir Cameron gekom. Die polisie het 'n pad uit die tronk na die nabygeleë hofplein skoongemaak. Hulle het hom deur die skare gesleep, terwyl almal daar naby hom met knuppels geslaan het, op hom gespoeg het, hom geskop en op hom geskree het. Maak al die negers dood. Maak al die negers dood. Hulle stoot sy rug teen dieselfde esdoornboom waaruit Smith swaai en maak die strop om sy nek. Deur die trane en bloed in sy oë herken hy baie van die gesigte van sy beskuldigers en smeek hulle om hulp, smeek om hulp, net om 'n ontfermende smaad te sien, die leë blik van die laksman.

"Vat hierdie seuntjie terug!" Skielik roep 'n stem bo die geskreeu uit: 'Hy het niks te doen met verkragting of moord nie!'

Op een of ander manier, wonderbaarlik, was die woedende skare tevrede met hierdie bewering en het hy hom ontferm. Cameron het met sy lewe ontsnap en teruggekeer na die tronk. Toe sy saak teregstaan, het Mary Ball die stad verstom deur te ontken dat sy verkrag is. Blykbaar het die nabyheid van drie jong swart mans aan 'n jong blanke vrou veroorsaak dat die polisie bloot aanvaar het dat 'n verkragting plaasgevind het.

Die gedig

In die vroeë 1900's was dit nie ongewoon dat mense aandenkingsfoto's of poskaarte van lynch -slagoffers versprei nie. Soms is lynchings vertraag sodat 'n fotograaf kon opdaag. Mense het gereeld saam met die lewelose lyke poseer en hierdie beelde na vriende en familielede gestuur. Die lynchings van Abram Smith en Tom Shipp is afgeneem, en een eksemplaar van die foto beland in die hande van 'n Joodse onderwyser in New York met die naam Abel Meeropol. Die beeld van Shipp en Smith, klere wat met hul eie bloed geskeur en bevlek is, wat op geboë nekke van die esdoorn geswaai het, het Meeropol dae lank agtervolg. Die wit gesigte in die skare daaronder, tevrede en onbeskaamd, was miskien nog stiller.

As 'n uitlaatklep het Meeropol 'n gedig oor lyntjie onder die skuilnaam 1 'Lewis Allan' geskryf en dit laat publiseer.

Die lied

In 1938 het 'n man met die naam Barney Josephson 'n nagklub genaamd Cafe Society in die Greenwich Village -woonbuurt in New York geopen. Ongewoon vir die tyd, het dit wit en swart kliënte toegelaat en gelyk behandel. Josephson het eenkeer gesê: 'Dit sou 'n klub wees waar daar geen segregasie, geen rassevooroordeel sou wees nie.' Die klub self was 'n parodie op die vervaag van die hoë samelewing. Voetgangers geklee in lappe begroet kliënte by die deur. Speelse, lewendige muurskilderye het die mure versier.

Terwyl die Cafe Society -klub aan die gang was, het Meeropol sy gedig op die spel gebring en die liedjie in die stad versprei. Die liedjie word opgevoer in 'n paar links-skuins hoeke van die stad. Een swart sangeres met die naam Laura Duncan het die liedjie vir haarself geneem. 'N Promotor het die liedjie na Josephson gebring toe hy die weergawe van Duncan gehoor het. Hy het vinnig besef dat hierdie gedig as 'n goeie voertuig vir een van sy gereelde kunstenaars gebruik kan word - 'n redelik onbekende swart sanger met 'n kragtige stem genaamd Billie Holiday.

Holiday begryp vinnig die krag van die liedjie en werk daaraan om dit haar eie te maak. 'Ek het soos die duiwel daaraan gewerk', het sy later geskryf, 'want ek was nooit seker of ek dit kon oordra of dat ek dit vir 'n sagte nagklubpubliek kon oordra nie.' Sy het dit die eerste keer in 1939 by Cafe Society opgevoer. Later het sy geskryf dat 'ek gedink het 'n fout was toe sy klaar was. Daar was nie eens 'n toejuiging toe ek klaar was nie. Toe begin 'n eensame persoon senuweeagtig klap. Toe klap almal skielik. ' Een persoon het die reaksie van 'n ander gehoor opgemerk, 'daar was nie 'n siel in daardie gehoor nie, swart of wit, wat nie half verwurg gevoel het nie. 'N Oomblik van onderdrukkende swaar stilte volg, en dan 'n soort ritselgeluid wat ek nog nooit gehoor het nie. Dit was die geluid van byna tweeduisend mense wat sug. '

Dit was haar eerste politieke liedjie, 'n oënskynlike eienaardigheid in haar repertoire van eenvoudige liefdesliedjies 2 en onstuimige, seksuele deuntjies. Haar platemaatskappy, Columbia, het haar oor die algemeen eenvoudige afwykings van liefde uit die geute van Tin Pan Alley gegee om op te neem. Hierdie gebrek aan respek vir haar vermoë was in weinig te danke aan haar ras. Trouens, sy het haar hele lewe lank baie rassisme teëgekom terwyl sy deur die land getoer het, hetsy by middagete, hotelle of openbare badkamers. 'Dit het tot die punt gekom', het sy in haar outobiografie 3 geskryf, 'waar ek amper nooit geëet, geslaap of badkamer toe gegaan het sonder 'n groot NAACP-tipe produksie'. Sy sou onthou dat haar pa oorlede is omdat 'n geskeide hospitaal geweier het om hom behoorlik te behandel weens 'n siekte. Billie Holiday was 'n kwaai slagoffer van dieselfde wrede rassisme wat ontelbare Afro -Amerikaners die afgelope eeu gesien het.

Vandag word 'n film gebaseer op haar lewe genoem Lady sing die blues bevat 'n toneel waar Holiday (gespeel deur Diana Ross) 'n lynch -swart man van die bome sien swaai. Maar Holiday het self nooit so 'n toneel gesien nie. Sy kon nogtans die diep onderstroom van rassisme benut wat die lewens van alle Afro-Amerikaners deurdring het om 'Strange Fruit' emosioneel en kragtig op te voer. Sy noem die liedjie haar 'persoonlike protes' teen rassisme. Sy was al bekend as 'n emosionele sanger, en sy sou eenvoudig die 'vreemde vrug' uitoefen - en nooit twee keer dieselfde nie. Dit kan bitter en skokkend wees. Haar intensiteit kan haar gehoor skrik en selfs ontstel. Dit was bekend dat sy gehuil het tydens 'n paar uitvoerings van die liedjie. Sy kan mense, swart en wit, ongemaklik maak.

Daar was gemengde reaksies op die liedjie toe sy dit op die nagklubbaan uitvoer. Kliënte het gereeld tydens die optrede uitgestap. Een vrou, wat self 'n lynch gesien het, het Holiday backstage gekonfronteer na 'n optrede en skree vir haar om nooit weer 'Strange Fruit' te sing nie. In plaas daarvan het sy voortgegaan om die lied te verhef totdat dit 'n sentrale plek in haar optredes inneem.

Columbia het eers geweier om 'Strange Fruit' op te neem, uit vrees dat hulle boikotte sou ondervind. Ondanks advies van vriende dat dit 'n aaklige loopbaanbeweeg sou wees om hierdie liedjie vry te stel, het Holiday Columbia gevra totdat hulle ingestem het om 'n ander platemaatskappy dit te laat vrystel. Daar was 'n paar twispunte oor die vrystelling daarvan, wat hom gehelp het om nommer 16 op die kaarte in 1939 te bereik. Sommige radiostasies het geweier om dit te speel en baie kritici het dit afgesaag - Time Magazine noem dit 'n stuk 'propaganda' 4. Verrassend genoeg het die liedjie vir Holiday die eerste voorsmakie gegee van die kommersiële sukses waarna sy lank gesmag het. Dit word ook erken dat dit 'n beweging in swart protesmusiek begin het - wat dieselfde soort energie opwek wat in die 1970's tydens die burgerregtebeweging gevind kon word. Sy het die liedjie gesing selfs nadat die skok van die beeld verby was. Sy het 'Strange Fruit' gesing selfs deur die McCarthy -era, toe burgerregte -aktiviste aangeneem het dat hulle in verbinding was met kommuniste (Meeropol is een keer deur 'n regeringskomitee gevra of die Kommunistiese Party hom die opdrag gegee het om die liedjie te skryf). Esteties bly Holiday se uitvoering van die lied kragtig en spookagtig, ongeag die historiese betekenis daarvan.

'Vreemde vrugte' kon net suksesvol gewees het toe dit groter emosies veroorsaak het. Dit het veral geraak aan diegene wat die aaklige hangmense en bloeddorstige skares gesien het - die swart man wat met petrol gestamp is, aan die brand gesteek en aan 'n brug gehang het vir dieselfde oortreding wat 'n wit man onskuldig kon pleeg. 'Strange Fruit' het geslaag vanweë die woede en skuld van soveel Amerikaners oor die betreurenswaardige sosiale onreg in hul land, en die relevansie daarvan bly vandag voort vanweë dieselfde gevoelens.

Miskien is die blywendste bewys van die onuitwisbaarheid van 'Strange Fruit' afkomstig van 'n verhaal aan die einde van Abel Meeropol se lewe. Hy het deur die jare honderde komposisies, gedigte en liedjies geskryf as een van die gewilde 'Tin Pan Alley' -komponiste. Hy het laat in sy lewe Alzheimer opgedoen en het na 'n ouetehuis in New York verhuis. Hy was verheug oor die feit dat sy werke soms in 'n versamelbundel van swart komponiste geplaas is. Sy kinders 5 het geglo dat die laaste ding wat hy blykbaar herken het nadat die siekte sy greep gekry het, sy trotsste prestasie was.


Billie Holiday het 'n rowwe begin in die lewe gehad

The story of Billie Holiday's early childhood is cloudy, with a variety of sources differing on some basic details including her birth name — such as Eleanora Fagan Gough and Elinore Harris. What's clear, in almost all accounts, is that she was born April 7, 1915, in Philadelphia to teenager Sadie Harris. Her father was musician Clarence Holiday. She spent her formative years in jazz-soaked Baltimore where, living in poverty, she dropped out of school by the fifth grade and took jobs scrubbing floors and running errands for a neighborhood brothel.

At age 10, she served her first of two stints at the Baltimore House of the Good Shepherd for Colored Girls, a Catholic reformatory school, according to NPR. Her first time there was for truancy, while her next stay came after being abducted and assaulted by a 40-year-old neighbor. At the reformatory school, Holiday found her singing voice but also endured horrific treatment. Holiday recalled in her autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues, that while there she wasn't permitted to sleep in the dormitory with the other girls and, at one point, was locked in a room with a dead girl.

By the late 1920s, both Billie and her mother turned to a life of prostitution in Harlem.


Strange Fruit

“Strange Fruit” is a song performed most famously by Billie Holiday, who first sang and recorded it in 1939. Written by a white, Jewish high school teacher from the Bronx and a member of the Communist Party, Abel Meeropol wrote it as a protest poem, exposing American racism, particularly the lynching of African Americans. Such lynchings had occurred chiefly in the South but also in other regions of the United States. Meeropol set it to music and with his wife and the singer Laura Duncan, performed it as a protest song in New York venues, including at Madison Square Garden.

In 1978 Holiday’s version of the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.[4] It was also included in the list of Songs of the Century, by the Recording Industry of America and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Meeropol had seen Lawrence Beitler’s photograph of the 1930 lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in Marion, Indiana. He published the poem under the title “Bitter Fruit” in 1937 in The New York Teacher, a union magazine. Though he had often asked others (notably Earl Robinson) to set his poems to music, he set “Strange Fruit” to music himself and the piece gained a certain success as a protest song in and around New York.

Barney Josephson, the founder of Cafe Society in Greenwich Village, New York’s first integrated nightclub, heard the song and introduced it to Billie Holiday. Other reports say that Robert Gordon, who was directing Billie Holiday’s show at Cafe Society, heard the song at Madison Square Garden and introduced it to her. Holiday first performed the song at Cafe Society in 1939. She said that singing it made her fearful of retaliation but, because its imagery reminded her of her father, she continued to sing the piece making it a regular part of her live performances. Because of the poignancy of the song, Josephson drew up some rules: Holiday would close with it the waiters would stop all service in advance the room would be in darkness except for a spotlight on Holiday’s face and there would be no encore. During the musical introduction, Holiday would stand with her eyes closed, as if she were evoking a prayer.

Holiday approached her recording label, Columbia, about the song, but the company feared reaction by record retailers in the South, as well as negative reaction from affiliates of its co-owned radio network, CBS. Even John Hammond, Holiday’s producer, refused. So she turned to friend Milt Gabler, whose Commodore label produced alternative jazz. Holiday sang “Strange Fruit” for him a cappella, and moved him to tears. Columbia allowed Holiday a one-session release from her contract in order to record it and Frankie Newton’s eight-piece Cafe Society Band was used for the session.

Because he was worried that the song was too short, Gabler asked pianist Sonny White to improvise an introduction so that Holiday only starts singing after 70 seconds. Gabler worked out a special arrangement with Vocalion Records to record and distribute the song.

The song was highly regarded and the 1939 record sold a million copies, in time becoming Holiday’s biggest-selling record.

In her autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues, Holiday suggested that she, together with Meeropol, her accompanist Sonny White, and arranger Danny Mendelsohn, set the poem to music. The writers David Margolick and Hilton Als dismissed that claim in their work, Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Song writing that hers was “an account that may set a record for most misinformation per column inch”. When challenged, Holiday—whose autobiography had been ghostwritten by William Dufty—claimed, “I ain’t never read that book.”

Numerous other singers have performed the work. In October 1939, Samuel Grafton of The New York Post described “Strange Fruit”: “If the anger of the exploited ever mounts high enough in the South, it now has its ‘Marseillaise’.”

1999, Time magazine called it the song of the century.

2002, the Library of Congress honored the song as one of 50 recordings chosen that year to be added to the National Recording Registry.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution listed the song as Number One on � Songs of the South”.

Bob Dylan cited “Strange Fruit” as an influence in the 2005 documentary No Direction Home.

Serbian rock musician, journalist and writer Dejan Cukić wrote about “Strange Fruit” as among 45 songs that changed the history of popular music in his book 45 obrtaja: Priče o Pesmama.

In 2010, the New Statesman listed it as one of the “Top 20 Political Songs”.


Christel Prestidge, « “Strange Fruit”, Billie Holiday »

Billie Holiday performing “Strange Fruit” at Café Society in 1939.

In the year of 1938, the music scene was shaken when jazz singer Billie Holiday performed at a New York City nighclub called Cafe Society. The song she sang that evening was unlike any other that had come before it. “Strange Fruit” was its title, and the lyrics, described the lynching of African-Americans in Southern America. The song was originally a poem, written by Abel Meeropol, a Jewish School teacher from the Bronx. Billie Holiday&rsquos voice and performance brought the song to national fame.

Holiday&rsquos performances sparked conflict and controversy wherever she went. The lyrics stood as a powerful protest against racism in America becoming the most popular protest song of our time. Between 1881 and 1968, 3,446[1] Black Americans died at the hands of lynch mobs. Among the most unsettling realities of lynchings is the degree to which white Americans embraced the brutal murders as a wholesome celebration. This is the shocking reality that inspired Abel Meeropol to write a powerful poem that motivated Americans to fight for change.

Was “Strange Fruit” primarily a cry for civil rights or was it a reflection of Billie Holiday&rsquos tortured soul, the soul of an african-American who was consumed but survived the racism of that era ? Or did she ?

“Strange Fruit” – Lyrics

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

The Story Behind “Strange Fruit”. The Lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith

Lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, 1930, Marion Indian.

The night of August 7, 1930, Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, two young African-Americans were arrested for allegedly murdering a white factory worker, Claude Deeter and raping his companion, Mary Ball[2], in Marion, Indiana. A third African-American suspect, 16-year-old James Cameron, was also arrested for participating in the crime. When Deeter died at the hospital, the police removed his bloody shirt and hung it from the flagpole of police headquarters for the entire city to see. The “bloody shirt was like waving a red flag in front of a bull”[3] said Cameron. The news that two whites had been attacked by three black youths spread quickly. Over the next 24 hours, thousands of people driven by rage and excitement, flooded into Marion. The jail was stormed by a mob of 10,000 people. The police were unable to control the inflamed mob. They were armed with sledgehammers and crowbars. They broke into the jail and took Thomas Shipp from his cell and beat him. He was dead before he reached the tree in the county courthouse square. The mob then went back into the jail to get Abram Smith, dragging him a block and a half to the courthouse square. Smith was alive throughout the entire ordeal. They put a noose around his neck and as he was being lifted, Abram tried to grab the rope to prevent himself from choking. They lowered him down and broke his arms. The third suspect, James Cameron barely escaped being lynched himself. As they were tying the noose around his neck, a woman intervened saying he had nothing to do with the rape and murder.[4] The town photographer, Lawrence Beitler, set up his equipment and took a picture of the scene which looked like a gathering at the County Fair. The tree had blossomed its “Strange Fruit”.

After the picture was taken, the mob took strips of Thomas and Abram&rsquos clothes as souvenirs. One person took home a shoe to display on their mantle. The most prized souvenir was a piece of the rope. When the coroner arrived to take the bodies down, the crowd refused. They wanted the bodies to hang as a warning to the blacks.

A few years later, in 1937, Abel Meeropol, who may be better recognized under his alias, Lewis Allan, came across the grotesque photograph of the double hanging. Haunted by this image, Meeropol wrote a poem entitled “Bitter Fruit.” The poem was published in the union-run New York Teacher magazine in 1937, the same time that African-Americans in the South were being lynched by white supremacist groups. After setting the words to music, the song was performed by black singer Laura Duncan at Madison Square Garden. Although she was the first to sing “Strange Fruit”, it did not take on the same aura as when Billie Holiday interpreted it. The song was introduced to Holiday by Barney Josephson, the owner of Café Society in Greenwich Village, New York&rsquos first integrated nightclub, a place catering to progressive types with open minds.

Who was Billie Holiday ?

Billie Holiday was born Eleanora Fagan in 1915 in Philadelphia. Her father, a jazz musician, abandoned the family when she was a young girl, leaving Billie and her mother Sadie to struggle alone. Billie was often left in the care of abusive relatives while her mother was working to make ends meet. She spent most of her childhood running errands in a Baltimore brothel, “just about the only place where black and white folks could meet in a natural way”[5]. This is where she discovered her love for jazz. At age 10, Holiday was raped and sent to a Catholic reform school for allegedly “seducing her attacker”[6]. Shortly after her release, she followed her mother to New York, where she turned to prostitution and was arrested for solicitation when she was just a teen. In the early 1930s, she began singing in Harlem jazz clubs, where she caught the eye of producer John Hammond. She adopted the stage name Billie Holiday, a combination of Billie Dove, a popular film star from the 1920s and her father&rsquos surname. Before long, Billie Holiday became one of the most influential jazz singers of all time.

Billie Holiday&rsquos performance of Strange Fruit

In the beginning, Holiday did not feel completely comfortable with the song, she was fearful of retaliation given the song&rsquos charged content. However she eventually agreed to perform the song as it touched a chord in her. She also was subjected to racism throughout her life. The song helped her express her sentiments. At the age of 23 in 1938, Billie Holiday sang “Strange Fruit” for the first time at Café Society. The song was so powerful that certain rules were set by the owner of the Café. The waiters would stop all service during the performance of the song. The room would be in darkness except for a bright spotlight on Holiday&rsquos face. “Strange Fruit” would be the last song of the evening and there would be no encore.

The lyrics and music convey the heavy truth of lynchings in America and haunt you even when the song is over. The impact of the song lies in the subtle, yet, intense performance and delivery by Billie Holiday. The juxtaposition of the beautiful landscape, the scents of flowers and fruits, with the blood and broken bones of human beings brutally beaten gives a powerful and poignant feeling to the song. During the musical introduction, Holiday would stand with her eyes closed as if she were evoking a prayer. The introduction begins on the piano in the key of B-flat minor, known for creating a darker sound. When Holiday begins singing, the instruments fade into the background, leaving her voice and the lyrics to dominate and become the listener&rsquos focus. The song was sung in a low-range, emphasizing the seriousness of the lyrics and creating a gloomy atmosphere. Holiday&rsquos articulation accentuates the meaning of the words. As Billie sings the last line “here is a strange and bitter crop”, it leaves the listener disturbed. With the final note of the song, the spotlight would go out and when the lights came back on, Holiday would be gone from the stage. Customers either clapped until their hands hurt, or walked out in disgust. It was the first time a black artist had sung such controversial lyrics. On the last day of 1999, Time magazine named her first studio version, “the song of the century.”[7]

The impact of “Strange Fruit”

“Strange Fruit” was not by any means the first protest song nevertheless, it was the first to express an explicit political message into the scene of entertainment. The jazz writer Leonard Feather considered “Strange Fruit” to be “the first significant protest in words and music, the first unmuted cry against racism.”[8] The song was unquestionably the first significant protest song and the first direct musical attack upon lynchings in the South. The song helped move the tragedy of lynching from the black press and into the white consciousness.

“Strange Fruit” gained popularity in the Civil Rights Movement when Nina Simone covered the song giving it a more dramatizing slant. Simone called “Strange Fruit”: “The ugliest song I have ever heard. Ugly in the sense that it is violent and tears at the guts of what white people have done to my people in this country.”[9] The song exposed racial hatred at a time when protest music was unknown. Ahmet Ertegun, the legendary record producer, called « Strange Fruit, » which Holiday first sang sixteen years before Rosa Parks refused to yield her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus, « a declaration of war […] the beginning of the civil rights movement. »[10] Although many artists went on to record the song, they have never come close to Holiday&rsquos interpretation.

Holiday&rsquos relationship with the song

Billie Holiday sang “Strange Fruit” each time she performed. She even went to the extreme to write it into her contracts that she had the choice to use it in her repertoire as some club owners prefered that she exclude it. This is because racist customers would walk out. Eventually, after years of performing “Strange Fruit”, she began to decline physically. Her voice became raspy. Her body became ravaged. Eyes bulging and mouth twisted as she interpreted her biggest hit. Some say, she became the song, embodied. In Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Song, the author, David Margolick wrote: “she had grown oddly, sadly suited to capture the full grotesqueness of the song. Now, she not only sang of bulging eyes and twisted mouths. She embodied them. » It was as if the song, having lived inside her for so long, had finally warped its host.”

“Strange Fruit” became the most famous protest song of its era However it is unclear as to what extent it succeeded in heightening the awareness of racism in America. It was a strong cry for civil rights. Who ever heard the song never forgot the lyrics. They were engraved in their memories. Billie Holiday became the first musical interpreter to support civil rights through the most evocative lyrics of all time. Sadly, the song haunted Holiday for the rest of her life. Her manager was said to say it robbed her of her lightness. The racism she was fighting against through “Strange Fruit” poisoned her life just as it poisoned the life of every black American.

“Strange fruit” opened the door between the relationship of politics and music for decades to come.

Christel Prestidge (Master 1 Anglais)

[1] According to the Tuskegee Institute. However, all lynchings were not accounted for.

[2] Mary Ball later testified she had not been raped. Cameron admitted that Shipp and Smith had shot and killed Claude Deeter.

[3] Cameron discussed these events in his memoir, A time of Terror (1982).

[4] In A Time of Terror by James Cameron.

[5] Lynskey Dorian, “Strange Fruit: The first great protest song”, Die voog. February 15, 2011.

[6] In Billie&rsquos Blues: Biography of Billie Holiday by John Chilton.

[7] McNally Owen (March 30, 2000). “&rsquoSong of the century&rsquo chilling: Graphic lyrics of &lsquothe first unmuted cry against racism&rsquo are making a comeback.” Ottawa Citizen.

[8] “Review: Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday, Café Society and an Early Cry for Civil Rights”, Die New York Times, 2000.

[9] In Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Song by David Margolick.

[10] Lynskey Dorian, “Strange Fruit: The first great protest song”, Die voog. February 15, 2011.

– Margolick David. Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Song. Ecco. 2001.

– Clarke Donald. Billie Holiday: Wishing On the Moon. Da Capo Press. 2002.

– Margolick David. Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday, Café Society, and an Early Cry for Civil Rights. Running Press. 2000.

– Chilton John. Billie&rsquos Blues: Biography of Billie Holiday. Quartet Books. 1975.

– Moore Edwin. “Strange Fruit is still a song for today”. The September 18, 2010.

Bass Erin Z. “The Strange Life of Strange Fruit”. Deep South Magazine. December 12, 2012

– Crystal Billie. 700 Sundays. Grand Central Publishing. 2006.

– Ayre Maggie, “Strange Fruit: A protest song with endurance relevance”, BBC News. November 25, 2013.


‘Strange Fruit’: Billie Holiday and Nina Simone Transform A Haunting Poem

‘Strange Fruit,’ covered countless times, has become an influential rallying cry passed down through generations.

Many decades after it was first recorded by Billie Holiday, “Strange Fruit” continues to be terrifyingly resonant. The song, which verbalizes the horrors of racism in the American South, has been covered countless times by artists across genres, from Tori Amos to Andra Day. But two renditions of the song continue to stand out above all others: Billie Holiday’s unforgettable original and Nina Simone’s profound, straightforward take.

While Holiday’s interpretation may lead listeners to believe it’s an original composition, “Strange Fruit” was initially a poem set to music written by Jewish-American writer Abel Meeropol in 1937. It serves as a disturbing allegory between fruit on trees and Black lynching victims throughout American history, penned in response to a 1930 photo of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, two Black lynching victims. (The photograph reportedly “haunted [Meeropol] for days.”) Under the pen name Lewis Allan, Meeropol’s poem was published in The New York Teacher later that year.

Billie Holiday and Strange Fruit

Billie Holiday first performed “Strange Fruit” in 1939 at Café Society, New York City’s first integrated jazz club, after reportedly being introduced to the song by the club’s founder. In her autobiography Lady Sings The Blues, she geskryf het that the lyrics reminded her of her father, who died at the age of 39 after being denied medical treatment at a “whites only” hospital in Texas. (“Twenty years after Pop died, the things that killed him are still happening in the South.”)

While she was apprehensive to sing it due to fear of retaliation by white listeners, Holiday eventually made the song an integral part of her live performances.

Even with a jazz piano accompanying her, Holiday’s version, recorded in 1939, is incredibly macabre, resulting in a sonic dichotomy just as bone-chilling as its lyrics. Through jazzy coos, she describes “pastoral scene(s) of the gallant South” such as the scent of magnolia flowers filling the atmosphere, a serene setting later interrupted by the “smell of burning flesh” and the haunting image of “Black bodies swinging in the Southern breeze.”

The NAACP estimates the number of Black lynching victims rose in the late 19th century after the Civil War. The number of free Black people in the Southern United States created anger among white people, resulting in retaliatory, unwarranted hangings as a result of these social changes. Lynching isn’t just premeditated murder – it’s a way to limit social, political and economic progress for Black Americans through fear and intimidation. Civil unrest and strict social laws in the 1950s and 60s also restricted advancement for people of color, creating limited progress for Blacks based on unresolved racial tension, despite a decrease in lynchings across the country. In short, not much had changed.

Nina Simone and Strange Fruit

With this in mind, “Strange Fruit” was a perfect song for Nina Simone to cover. She often brought attention to deeper social issues through her recordings and performances. “[‘Strange Fruit’] is about the ugliest song I have ever heard,” Simone once said. “Ugly in the sense that it is violent and tears at the guts of what white people have done to my people in this country.”

Featured on her 1965 album Pastel Blues, Miss Simone’s take on “Strange Fruit” finds her utilizing solemn, piano instrumentation (one of the sonic hallmarks of the project) in order to throw a thematic, emotional gut punch that still reverberates to this day. Her transformative version employs a minimalist sound palette rather than a jazzy one, forcing you to sit with the heavy imagery and her tangible, grief-filled tone.

Simone is performing as not an artist, but as a human with a visceral connection to the subject at hand. As she plinks away at the keys, she cries out on behalf of her race. Her emotionally-strained voice shudders as she describes a deceased Black body rotting in the sun. As she sings of the body being removed, she wails to the sky, begging for the violence to stop without saying it outright.

“If you look at all the suffering that Black folks went through…we all wanted to say [something about racial injustice], she said it,” entertainer and activist Dick Gregory says of Simone’s fearlessness in the 2015 documentary What Happened, Miss Simone? Elsewhere in the documentary, Simone’s daughter Lisa Simone Kelly adds that “anger is what sustained” her mother, and that she felt most fulfilled fighting and singing for a bigger and deeper purpose.

The legacy of Strange Fruit

“Strange Fruit” continues to serve as a call to arms for those fighting racial inequality in the United States. Countless artists across genres have covered or sampled the track – a testament to how the song continues to hit a nerve for both Black artists and allies alike. Diana Ross, Jeff Buckley, Annie Lennox, and Kanye West recorded some of the more popular iterations. In 2002, the song was added to the National Recording Registry, which recognizes “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important” American recordings.

One of the reasons that “Strange Fruit” continues to be covered and sampled is that its true meaning – which draws attention to the horrors of racial violence – highlights an issue that has always been present, but has yet to be rectified. The ongoing, unjust treatment of Black people in the United States confirms there is still “blood at the root” of our country’s social, racial, and moral foundation, and there is still work to be done in order to make long-lasting change.

In February 2020, the Emmett Till Antilynching Act – named after the 14-year-old whose lynching death in 1955 sparked outrage – was passed by the House of Representatives. Yet, despite radical changes being implemented in the 81 years since the recording of “Strange Fruit,” the song’s underlying theme continues to resonate with 21st century racial and social issues. The death of George Floyd at the hands of police in May 2020, as well as the suspicious lynchings of many Black Americans which made headlines over the same summer, ignited fury across America.

“Strange Fruit” was in no way the first anti-racism song, but it was one of the first to force listeners of all races to stew in the taboo topic and confront it head-on. Holiday’s startling rendition captures audiences to this day. Her courage in verbalizing such a horrifying and deeply personal tale is unfathomable. Simone’s stirring cover solidified her position as an artist who could accurately depict what her community was feeling. It was punctuated by emotion that transcends genre and generation. Given the track record of America, “Strange Fruit” will remain frustratingly resonant for future generations. However, there is hope in our hearts that change is possible, and that its historical and social relevancy won’t ring nearly as loudly as it does today.

Purchase Nina Simone’s Pastel Blues here.


Strange Fruit: the first great protest song

I t is a clear, fresh New York night in March 1939. You're on a date and you've decided to investigate a new club in a former speakeasy on West 4th Street: Cafe Society, which calls itself "The Wrong Place for the Right People". Even if you don't get the gag on the way in – the doormen wear tattered clothes – then the penny drops when you enter the L-shaped, 200-capacity basement and see the satirical murals spoofing Manhattan's high-society swells. Unusually for a New York nightclub, black patrons are not just welcomed but privileged with the best seats in the house.

You've heard the buzz about the resident singer, a 23-year-old black woman called Billie Holiday who made her name up in Harlem with Count Basie's band. She has golden-brown, almost Polynesian skin, a ripe figure and a single gardenia in her hair. She has a way of owning the room, but she's not flashy. Her voice is plump and pleasure-seeking, prodding and caressing a song until it yields more delights than its author had intended, bringing a spark of vivacity and a measure of cool to even the hokier material.

And then it happens. The house lights go down, leaving Holiday illuminated by the hard, white beam of a single spotlight.

She begins her final number.

"Southern trees bear a strange fruit." This, you think, isn't your usual lovey-dovey stuff. "Blood on the leaves and blood at the root." Wat is hierdie? "Black bodies swinging in the Southern breeze." Lynching? It's a song about lynching? The chatter from the tables dries up. Every eye in the room is on the singer, every ear on the song. After the last word – a long, abruptly severed cry of "crop" – the whole room snaps to black. When the house lights go up, she's gone.

Do you applaud, awed by the courage and intensity of the performance, stunned by the grisly poetry of the lyrics, sensing history moving through the room? Or do you shift awkwardly in your seat, shudder at the strange vibrations in the air, and think to yourself: call this entertainment?

This is the question that will throb at the heart of the vexed relationship between politics and pop for decades to come, and this is the first time it has demanded to be asked.

Written by a Jewish communist called Abel Meeropol, Strange Fruit was not by any means the first protest song, but it was the first to shoulder an explicit political message into the arena of entertainment. Unlike the robust workers' anthems of the union movement, it did not stir the blood it chilled it. "That is about the ugliest song I have ever heard," Nina Simone would later marvel. "Ugly in the sense that it is violent and tears at the guts of what white people have done to my people in this country." For all these reasons, it was something entirely new. Up to this point, protest songs functioned as propaganda, but Strange Fruit proved they could be art.

It is a song so good that dozens of singers have since tried to put their stamp on it, and Holiday's performance is so strong that none of them have come close to outclassing her – in 1999, Time magazine named her first studio version the "song of the century".

Although lynching was already on the decline by the time of Strange Fruit – the grotesque photograph of a double hanging which moved Meeropol to pick up his pen had been taken in Indiana in 1930 – it remained the most vivid symbol of American racism, a stand-in for all the more subtle forms of discrimination affecting the black population. Perhaps only the visceral horror that lynching inspired gave Meeropol the necessary conviction to write a song with no precedent, one that required a new songwriting vocabulary.

Meeropol, who taught at a high school in the Bronx and churned out reams of topical songs, poems and plays under the gentle alias Lewis Allan, published a poem under the title Bitter Fruit in the union-run New York Teacher magazine in 1937. The later name change was inspired. "Bitter" is too baldly judgmental. "Strange", however, evokes a haunting sense of something out of joint. It puts the listener in the shoes of a curious observer spying the hanging shapes from afar and moving closer towards a sickening realisation.

Meeropol worked out a tune and Strange Fruit quickly became a fixture at leftwing gatherings during 1938, sung by his wife and various friends. It even made it to Madison Square Garden, via black singer Laura Duncan. In the crowd was one Robert Gordon, who had recently taken on a job at Cafe Society, directing the headlining show by Billie Holiday. The club was the brainchild of New Jersey shoe salesman Barney Josephson: a pithy antidote to the snooty, often racist elitism of other New York nightspots. Opening the night before New Year's Eve 1938, it owed much of its instant success to Holiday.

In her 23 years, Holiday had already seen plenty, although her notoriously unreliable autobiography Lady Sings the Blues obscures as much as it reveals. Born in Philadelphia, she spent some time running errands in a Baltimore whorehouse, "just about the only place where black and white folks could meet in any natural way", where she first discovered jazz. After she accused a neighbour of attempting to rape her, the 10-year-old Holiday, an incorrigible truant, was sent to a Catholic reform school until her mother secured her release. Moving with her mother to New York, she worked in another brothel, this time doing more than errands, and was jailed for solicitation. Upon her release she began singing in Harlem jazz clubs, where she caught the eye of producer John Hammond, who made her one of the swing era's hottest stars.

Meeropol played Josephson his song and asked if he could bring it to Holiday. The singer later insisted she fell in love with it right away. Meeropol remembered it differently, believing that she performed it only as a favour to Josephson and Gordon: "To be perfectly frank, I don't think she felt comfortable with the song."

Arthur Herzog, one of Holiday's regular songwriters, claimed that arranger Danny Mendelsohn rewrote Meeropol's tune, which he uncharitably dubbed "something or other alleged to be music", which might have made the difference to Holiday.

The lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abe Smith in Indiana in 1930 inspired Abel Meeropol to write Strange Fruit. Foto: AP

Either way, Holiday road-tested the song at a party in Harlem and received what would become a familiar response: shocked silence followed by a roar of approval. Meeropol was there the night she debuted it at Cafe Society. "She gave a startling, most dramatic and effective interpretation which could jolt an audience out of its complacency anywhere," he marvelled. "This was exactly what I wanted the song to do and why I wrote it."

Josephson, a natural showman, knew there was no point slipping Strange Fruit into the body of the set and pretending it was just another song. He drew up some rules: first, Holiday would close all three of her nightly sets with it second, the waiters would halt all service beforehand third, the whole room would be in darkness but for a sharp, bright spotlight on Holiday's face fourth, there would be no encore. "People had to remember Strange Fruit, get their insides burned by it," he explained.

It was not, by any stretch, a song for every occasion. It infected the air in the room, cut conversation stone dead, left drinks untouched, cigarettes unlit. Customers either clapped till their hands were sore, or walked out in disgust. Back then, before her life took a darker turn, Holiday was able to leave the song, and its politics, at the door on the way out. When Frankie Newton would hold forth on Marcus Garvey's black nationalism or Stalin's five-year plan, she would snap, "I don't want to fill my head with any of that shit." Holiday's biographer John Chilton suggests that this was not because she wasn't interested but because she felt embarrassed by her lack of education. All that she knew and felt about being black in America, she poured into the song.

Holiday's regular label, Columbia, blanched at the prospect of recording it, so she turned to Commodore Records, a small, leftwing operation based at Milt Gabler's record shop on West 52nd Street. On 20 April 1939, Holiday entered Brunswick's World Broadcasting Studios with Frankie Newton's eight-piece Cafe Society Band and recorded Strange Fruit in one four-hour session. Worried that the song was too short, Gabler asked pianist Sonny White to improvise a suitably stealthy introduction.

On the single, Holiday doesn't open her mouth until 70 seconds in. Like Josephson with his spotlight, the musicians use that time to set the scene, drawing the listener in as if to a ghost story. Newton's muted trumpet line hovers in the air like marsh gas White's minor piano chords walk the listener towards the fateful spot then, at last, there's Holiday. Others might have overplayed the irony or punched home the moral judgment too forcefully, but she sings it as though her responsibility is simply to document the song's eerie tableau to bear witness. Her voice moves softly through the dark, closing in on the swinging bodies like a camera lens coming into focus. In doing so, she perfects the song, narrowing the sarcasm of "gallant South" to a fine point and cooling the temperature of the most overheated image: "the stench of burning flesh". She is charismatic but not ostentatious, curling the words just so. Her gifts to the song are vulnerability, understatement and immediacy: the listener is right there, at the base of the tree. Look, she is saying. Just look.

Released three months later, it became not just a hit but a cause celebre. Campaigners for an anti-lynching law posted copies to congressmen. The New York Post's Samuel Grafton called it "a fantastically perfect work of art, one which reversed the usual relationship between a black entertainer and her white audience: 'I have been entertaining you,' she seems to say, 'now you just listen to me.' If the anger of the exploited ever mounts high enough in the South, it now has its Marseillaise."

Holiday quit Cafe Society in August 1939, but she took Strange Fruit with her and carried it like an unexploded bomb. In Washington DC, a local newspaper wondered whether it might actually provoke a new wave of lynchings. At New York's Birdland, the promoter confiscated customers' cigarettes, lest their firefly glow distract from the spotlight's intensity. When some promoters ordered her not to sing it, Holiday added a clause to her contract guaranteeing her the option. Not that she always exercised that right. "I only do it for people who might understand and appreciate it," she told radio DJ Daddy-O Daylie. "This is not a 'June-Moon-Croon-Tune'."

Yet Holiday could no more detach herself from it than if the lyrics had been tattooed on her skin. Strange Fruit would haunt Holiday for the rest of her life. Some fans, including her former producer John Hammond, blamed it for robbing her of her lightness. Others pointed out that her burgeoning heroin habit did that job.

So did the persistent racism which poisoned her life just as it poisoned the life of every black American. In 1944, a naval officer called her a nigger and, her eyes hot with tears, she smashed a beer bottle against a table and lunged at him with the serrated glass. A little while later, a friend spotted her wandering down 52nd Street and called out, "How are you doing, Lady Day?" Her reply was viciously blunt: "Well, you know, I'm still a nigger." No wonder she clutched the song tightly to her breast, as a shield and a weapon, too.

Holiday discovered heroin in the early 40s, an addiction that eventually earned her a year-long prison term in 1947. Ten days after her release, she performed a comeback show at New York's Carnegie Hall.

According to Lady Sings the Blues, she accidentally pierced her scalp with a hatpin and sang with blood trickling down her face.

There could be only one contender for the closing number. "By the time I started on Strange Fruit," she wrote, "between the sweat and blood, I was a mess." Time called the performance "throat-tightening".

During the 50s, she performed it less often and, when she did, it could be agonising to watch. Her relationship with it became almost masochistic. The worse her mood, the more likely she was to add it to the set, yet it pained her every time, especially when it prompted walkouts by racist audience members.

By the latter half of the decade, her body was wasted, her voice weathered down to a hoarse rasp, and Strange Fruit was the only song that seemed to dignify her suffering, wrapping her own decline in a wider American tragedy. Writing about her final years in his definitive book Strange Fruit: the Biography of a Song, David Margolick says: "she had grown oddly, sadly suited to capture the full grotesqueness of the song. Now, she not only sang of bulging eyes and twisted mouths. She embodied them." It was as if the song, having lived inside her for so long, had finally warped its host.


Kyk die video: Andra Day - Strange Fruit Official Music Video


Kommentaar:

  1. Moricz

    Die internet word gespel met 'n kapitaalbrief in 'n sin, indien dit.En die Hundredths is nie met 'n periode nie, maar met 'n komma. Dit is die standaard. And so everything is not bad, just very good!

  2. Ain

    Admirable idea and it is timely

  3. Quenton

    Ek vra om verskoning dat ek ingryp, daar is 'n voorstel om op 'n ander pad te gaan.

  4. Paien

    die Outoritêre standpunt, vreemd genoeg.

  5. Doire

    Onvergelykbaar)))))))



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