With the unplugged story-telling of traditional American folk music, the compassionate alarm of early peace punk, and the lyrical punch of modern hiphop, Ryan Harvey’s songs are situated between the streets, the radical bookstores and cafes, and the basement punk show. From Baltimore, Maryland, he has taken his powerful, insightful, and humorous songs and stories of activism and political analysis around the world for a decade, visiting 19 countries and performing in some of the epicenters of recent uprisings including as Cairo, Athens, Madrid, Reykjavík, and Lisbon.
Usually hosted in a non-venue setting and conducted in a personal, up-close way, his performances are part story-telling, part song, and part stand-up political comedy. Speaking in his own voice, he presents kaleidoscopic narratives of modern social movements, political history, and personal stories aimed at moving the listener to question, act, and self-reflect on serious issues effecting the world. Putting his guitar aside, he also regularly lectures at universities on music, social change, and political activism.
A co-founder of the Riot-Folk musician’s collective in 2004 and the veteran-focused anti-war group The Civilian-Soldier Alliance in 2007, he has committed himself to balancing and blending music and political activism. Alongside these projects, Ryan has written regularly for various publications such as The Nation and Truth-Out, and currently runs “Another Song Is Possible,” a bi-weekly blog on folk music and politics for the South American leftist news hub TeleSUR English.
In addition to his own 12 albums, Ryan has also co-produced two benefit CDs for anti-war veterans’ organizations, A Line in the Sand in 2008 and A Soundtrack for Refusal in 2011.
More on Ryan can be found at http://www.ryanharveymusic.com.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT RYAN
“Let’s not not damn local folk-singer Ryan Harvey with faint praise: His music is tuneful, paired with intelligent lyrics and sung with such conviction it would have made Joe Hill beam. Into political folk music? There’s no safer bet.”
- The Washington Post Express
“Ryan Harvey and his music have been on the front lines of important social justice struggles for years. He combines music, meaning and message with conviction and backs up his lyrics with action.”
- Tom Morello, The Nightwatchman/Rage Against The Machine
“Through a combination of storytelling, lecturing and performing, he provides a valuable, real world example for the unit on Politics and Resistance, giving our students insight into the world of a globally-minded, politically-active DIY musician… Students are encouraged to ask questions both during and after his presentation, to which Harvey gives thoughtful, measured responses, often using humorous and moving anecdotes to illustrate the eye-opening extremes of the human condition.
- Laura Schnitker, Ph.D. – Ethnomusicologist and Sound Archivist, University of Maryland
“Over the past seven years, Riot-Folk has grown out of its roots in the “punk folk” movement of the ’90s to become a major presence in the international folk community…”
- Baltimore CityPaper
“His music is rooted in his politics, and strikes an emotional and motivating chord.”
- Uprising Radio, KPFK Los Angeles