Alain Keler

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Juke Joint Blues

In 1939 Billie Holiday interpreted for the first time "Strange Fruit". This is an indictment against racism in the southern United States. The song speaks of the blacks hanging from the trees:

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

The Mississippi Delta is home to the blues. It is also one of the poorest regions of the United States. As in the majority of the southern states, segregation has always been virulent "Poverty, music, segregation, slavery, words that have accompanied the blacks of the South of the United States for a long time.

I wanted to go and see this area, these aging singers whose names, at least for most of them, will disappear as fast as the shooting stars cross the sky on a summer evening.They trusted me by letting me enter their universe ,singing for some of them in their bedroom the last concert hall where they could show their talent in front of their only spectator coming from far away to listen . They invited me to their modest meeting places, the juke joints, the kind of noisy bars where the music rhythms the dances accompanied by the laughter of a freedom that nobody can challenge them.

The Mississippi is also a great river that has been carrying their music for a long time against the current towards the white north. There are also fields of cotton, where, during the time of manual harvest, resounded this sad and beautiful music Today, the machines have replaced the sons of slaves, and only the prisoners of a penitentiary still pick up manually this white gold by hand, under the orders of guardians out of a cinematographic universe. The penitenciary still practice the capital executions on an electric chair, the ultimate reference to years of lynching still present in the minds of the oldest.

« Southern trees bear strange fruit »…

 

Juke Joint Blues

En 1939 Billie Holiday interprète pour la première fois « Strange Fruit ». C’est un réquisitoire contre le racisme dans le sud des Etats-Unis. La chanson parle des noirs pendus aux arbres :

« Les arbres du Sud portent un étrange fruit,
Du sang sur les feuilles et du sang aux racines,
Un corps noir qui se balance dans la brise du Sud,
Un fruit étrange suspendu aux peupliers… »

  Le delta du Mississippi est le berceau du blues. C’est aussi l’une des régions les plus pauvres de Etats-Unis. Comme dans la majorité des états du Sud, la ségrégation y a toujours été virulente"

Pauvreté, musique, ségrégation, esclavage, des mots qui ont accompagné les noirs du Sud des Etats-Unis pendant longtemps.

J’ai eu envie d’aller voir cette région, ces chanteurs vieillissants dont les noms, au moins pour la plupart d’entre eux, disparaîtront aussi vite que les étoiles filantes qui traversent le ciel un soir d’été.

Ils m’ont fait confiance en me laissant entrer dans leur univers, chantant pour certains dans leur chambre, dernière salle de concert où ils pouvaient étaler leur talent devant leur unique spectateur venu de si loin pour les écouter. Ils m’ont invité dans leurs modestes lieux de rencontre, les juke joints, sortes de bars bruyants où la musique rythme les danses accompagnée des rires d’une liberté que personne ne pourra leur contester.

 

Le Mississippi, c’est aussi un grand fleuve qui charrie depuis longtemps leur musique à contre courant vers le Nord blanc. Il y a aussi les champs de coton, où du temps des récoltes manuelles, retentissait cette musique triste et belle à la fois. Aujourd’hui, les machines ont remplacé les fils d’esclaves, et seuls les détenus d’un pénitencier ramassent encore cet or blanc à la main sous les ordres de gardiens sortis d’un univers cinématographique. Leur bagne pratique encore les exécutions capitales sur une chaise électrique, ultime référence à des années de lynchage encore présentes à l’esprit des plus âgés.

« Les arbres du Sud portent un étrange fruit »…

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Juke Joint Blues

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Blues music is born in the Mississipi River Delta amid cotton fields and poverty - 1986.
Blues music is born in the Mississipi River Delta amid cotton fields and poverty - 1986.
Blues music is born in the Mississipi River Delta amid cotton fields and poverty - 1986.
Blues music is born in the Mississipi River Delta amid cotton fields and poverty - 1986.
Blues music is born in the Mississipi River Delta amid cotton fields and poverty - 1986.
Blues music is born in the Mississipi River Delta amid cotton fields and poverty - 1986.
Blues music is born in the Mississipi River Delta amid cotton fields and poverty - 1986.
Blues music is born in the Mississipi River Delta amid cotton fields and poverty - 1986.
Blues music is born in the Mississipi River Delta amid cotton fields and poverty - 1986.
Blues music is born in the Mississipi River Delta amid cotton fields and poverty - 1986.
Blues music is born in the Mississipi River Delta amid cotton fields and poverty - 1986.
Mississippi State Penitentiary (MSP), also known as Parchman Farm, is a prison farm, the oldest prison, and the only maximum security prison for men in the state of Mississippi. Death penalty is still enforced. Prisonniers pick up cotton by hand - 1986.
Mississippi State Penitentiary (MSP), also known as Parchman Farm, is a prison farm, the oldest prison, and the only maximum security prison for men in the state of Mississippi. Death penalty is still enforced- 1986.
Mississippi State Penitentiary (MSP), also known as Parchman Farm, is a prison farm, the oldest prison, and the only maximum security prison for men in the state of Mississippi. Death penalty is still enforced- 1986.
Mississippi State Penitentiary (MSP), also known as Parchman Farm, is a prison farm, the oldest prison, and the only maximum security prison for men in the state of Mississippi. Death penalty is still enforced.1986.
Mississippi State Penitentiary (MSP), also known as Parchman Farm, is a prison farm, the oldest prison, and the only maximum security prison for men in the state of Mississippi.Death penalty is still enforced - 1986.
Mississippi State Penitentiary (MSP), also known as Parchman Farm, is a prison farm, the oldest prison, and the only maximum security prison for men in the state of Mississippi - Death penalty is still enforced. An inmate in the death coridor. 1986.
Mississippi State Penitentiary (MSP), also known as Parchman Farm, is a prison farm, the oldest prison, and the only maximum security prison for men in the state of Mississippi. Death penalty is still enforced. Electric chair. 1986.
Blues music is born in the Mississipi River Delta amid cotton fields and poverty - 1986.
Blues music is born in the Mississipi River Delta amid cotton fields and poverty - 1986.
Blues music is born in the Mississipi River Delta amid cotton fields and poverty - 1986.
Blues music is born in the Mississipi River Delta amid cotton fields and poverty - 1986.
Blues music is born in the Mississipi River Delta amid cotton fields and poverty - 1986.
Groomsmen at a wedding. Greenville Mississippi - 1986.
Blues music is born in the Mississipi River Delta amid cotton fields and poverty - 1986.
Wedding. Groom, bride and stepmother. Greenville, Mississippi - 1986.
Bridesmaids at a wedding. Greenville, Mississippi - 1986.
Guest and baby at a weeding. Greenville, Mississippi - 1986.
Guest at a wedding. grenville, Mississippi - 1986.
Blues music is born in the Mississipi River Delta amid cotton fields and poverty - 1986.
Blues music is born in the Mississipi River Delta amid cotton fields and poverty - 1986.
Blues music is born in the Mississipi River Delta amid cotton fields and poverty - 1986.
Blues music is born in the Mississipi River Delta amid cotton fields and poverty - 1986.
Blues music is born in the Mississipi River Delta amid cotton fields and poverty - 1986.
Blues music is born in the Mississipi River Delta amid cotton fields and poverty - 1986.
Blues music is born in the Mississipi River Delta amid cotton fields and poverty - 1986.
Blues music is born in the Mississipi River Delta amid cotton fields and poverty - 1986.
Blues music is born in the Mississipi River Delta amid cotton fields and poverty - 1986.
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