And He was asking him, "What is your name?" And he said to Him, "My name is Multitude; for we are many."
Best known by Billie Holiday’s performance, Strange Fruit was originally a poem written by Abel Meeropol, an american professor. He later adapted it and wrote a melody for it.
Strange Fruit is possibly the most important song written against the lynching of black people in the turn of the century in America, a hymn against black slavery.
Holiday carries in her voice the bitterness and the strangeness;
Nina the sadness and the grief.
I’ll leave Billie’s version in the end of the post. (together with an interview with nina)
but nina’s version…. I know no better expression of historical mourning.
Southern trees bear a 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.
ps: historical mourning is not just a form of mourning, and it is certainly not a praise to conformism. quite the opposite.