Moroccan Fruit

Notes on the song

This track was inspired by Nina Simone's version of "Strange Fruit". As I listened to Nina's version of "Strange Fruit", about the racism and lynching of African Americans in the 1930's, I wondered what she would be singing about now. Then I saw the haunting photo by Jose Palazon, of the migrants' rights group Pro De In. The photo (below) shows Moroccan immigrants in Melilla, Spain, hanging onto a fence at a golf course at a border. I was immediately inspired by the combination, linked the two together and wrote the song.

Jose Palazon

"Strange Fruit" was used in the original song as a metaphor for lynched "Black bodies ... swinging from the poplar trees". I have adapted this to a reference to "Moroccan Fruit" as a metaphor for the Moroccan immigrants in the photo hanging from the fence while trying to get to Europe.

The lyrics "golfers play on, take no notice. It's just a game", describes a cold indifference to the situation and the refugees' plight - something we must all guard against, and maintain empathy for all human beings. As Owen Jones said, "As humans, we have a huge potential capacity for empathy; but when we dehumanise a group of people, we can accept (or indeed inflict) cruelty."

There is a danger that we are drifting into dehumanising refugees. When a boat carrying refugees sinks, despite scores or even hundreds dying (often children), the story slips further down the news agenda as it becomes a more regular occurrence.

The song seeks to emphasise that the refugees are people, flesh and blood, parents and children. This was the similarity and empathy that I sought to achieve when the song depicts a son telling his mother of the dead refugee on a beach in a picture, and wanting to "Play that game...". There must be many mothers who saw the tragic photos of the young refugee dead on the beach and were touched by the similarities with their own child.

Many parents in the West are willing to sell their house and move away from friends and family just to find a better school for their children - "to give them a better chance in life". Imagine that drive and desire to do the best for your children when war and destruction is all around, and death is a real prospect.

The final words are from Patti Smith: "You can't carve up the world, It's not a pie".

I am very grateful for Pro De In for allowing me to use this iconic photo. You can follow their Spanish blog here.

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1st Verse:

Moroccan fruit hangs from the fence,
It swings in vain, in high suspense,
Golfers play on take no notice,
It's just a game.

1st Chorus:

It's not a swarm, it's not a flood,
But a constant flow of blood,
We don't want you in our club,
Look away, look away.

2nd Verse:

African blood lies on the tracks,
It escaped war, genocide, attacks,
The freedom train demands a fatal tax,
And he paid in full.

2nd Chorus:

You send a drone, you drop a bomb,
And wonder why the people come,
But when they plead for asylum,
Look away, look away.

Mid 8:

My boy said come look at the picture,
There on the beach, a boy like me,
He's playing dead, please can I play that game,
Will you play that game with

3rd/final verse:

Young Arab flesh lies on the sand,
Far too young to understand,
His father paid cash on demand,
So he could die free.

What price liberty.


The song was awarded the Runner Up to 'SONG OF THE DECADE' by the UK Radio Station Severn FM.

It was awarded the second best song of the year for 2016 by NBT radio. It also gave the track an excellent review: "It's a sparse but deeply emotional arrangement, one that makes sure that all drama and showboating were shown the door before the producer pressed record. It achieves that rare thing, a protest song that is not angry, but subtly and hopefully asks for understanding, thus enabling it to seduce and agitate at the same time."

Moroccan Fruit NBT

Moroccan Fruit also received a fantastic review from Ollie Winiberg, who works at the BBC and was a BBC Radio 1 DJ. A full copy of the review is below, but in short, he said:

"The song itself sustains a beautifully haunting and thought-provoking quality throughout ... the lyrics are enormously captivating. When you pick this sort of subject to write about, you know the words you use must be both powerful but sensitive. And I believe Red Eye has absolutely succeeded with this ... the production of the track itself is just impeccable ... These are big, big sounds being used, and if tampered with or overused, it could throw the whole song off. However, Red Eye use their subtle genius to their advantage, and thankfully, the song is a success ... It successfully takes on a subject that needs more press and more attention ... Red Eye have succeeded in their mission of getting me as a fan. I will be eagerly watching them, waiting for their next musical move. Red Eye is a project with its finger on the pulse."

Moroccan Fruit review by Ollie Winiberg

Other reviews include the following:

"It's a jewel when a band capture the feeling of despair after a rough year, particularly this one, and put it all down into a track. Moroccan Fruit by Red Eye is the kind of track that does exactly that. Moroccan Fruit oozes a charm that makes it spine-tinglingly beautiful, whilst also has a class about it that makes Red Eye a band that are worth their weight in gold."
The Pentatonic

"... Red Eye are of the nowadays rare breed of musicians implying that every song should carry a message. What greater compliment could you receive than Billy Bragg himself commenting that Red Eye are a "powerful response to the Is Protest Music Dead? question" ... Moroccan Fruit could not be more up-to-date, dealing with the plight of refugees escaping from horrendous situations to Europe. The song does not scream, it does not accuse ... it raises questions and asks for understanding and empathy in a tender way, sparsely arranged."
Offbeat Music

"... a wonderful and powerful ... politically charged ... new single under (the) Red Eye moniker."
Louder Than War

"... Think about all the music you know which has been spawned by a need of want of things to change, things done and things to come. Think of Reggae. Think of Soul. Think of Punk & Rock n' Roll. Think of South Africa. Think of America. Think of here and now and the future ... & get involved! Protests have always sounded ... erm ... beautiful."
Little Indie Night

"....(a) powerful single Moroccan Fruit by Red Eye ... I think it was Morrissey who sang 'I thought that if you had an acoustic guitar, it meant that you were a protest singer'! ... Moroccan Fruit is a blues song for the modern era. The song feels light and contains a jazz feel. A strong message that remains subtle, warm, and a melody with a strong resonance."
Drunk On Music

"Haunting in word, in melody and in imagery."
In Bed With Maradona

"What a powerful and beautiful song!"
Outbound Music - Gravity Radio Review

"This chill, beautifully written song is a must-have on anyone's winddown playlist for the end of a busy weekend. However, this song comes with a very powerful message within the lyrics..."

Moroccan Fruit also featured in the prestigious Music With A Conscience series (podcast episode #862) from Women of Substance Radio - listen online | iTunes