Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Lady Day (Billie Holliday) born one hundred years ago today.


Billie Holliday  ("Lady Day") was born one hundred years ago today.

She  (like Edith Piaf) was a wondrous singer, whose powerful and passionate tunes and lyrics were conceived,  and then birthed,  from  bitter wombs -  wombs of oppression and exploitation.

Here is the text of Lady Day's "signature" song -  a text about the lynching of Negroes in the "Old South".

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 text of "Strange Fruit"  was composed  by Abel Meeropol in 1937 (or 1939)..  (Abel and his wife were amazingly courageous and compassionate people)  see:

 http://www.npr.org/2012/09/05/158933012/the-strange-story-of-the-man-behind-strange-fruit



And here is the song, as sung by Lady Day

https://youtu.be/h4ZyuULy9zs

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