Meet Red Opera, the local rapper who ran for the Communist Party of Canada

"The truth is we are a settler colonial state that refuses to have a nation to nation relationship with the Indigenous peoples."


Ryan Barry, AKA Red Opera - SUBMITTED
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  • Ryan Barry, AKA Red Opera

Released on Canada Day, Ryan Barry's (AKA Red Opera) Lifestyles of the Bourgeoisie was meant to make a political statement. The rapper, who has been performing on and off in Halifax since 1998 including releasing group albums under the name Tranz Ill, dipped his toes back into the music world with this collection. When not writing about the uneven political climate, Barry remains politically involved, running in the 2015 federal election in the South Shore St. Margaret's riding for the Communist Party of Canada. Listen to his latest offering and let Red Opera put a bug in your ear.

With this new album, do you expect to get back into performing locally?

I'm not opposed to the idea of performing again. It's been a decade since I've been on a stage but I'd like to take a pause and see if this EP catches any steam. I might stick to benefit shows for the most part.

Will you ever run as a candidate for the Communist Party of Canada again? What sort of traction did you get the first time?

I most definitely will run for the Communist Party of Canada again. When I ran in the last federal election there was a lot about the nature of the electoral process that was new to me. I also felt somewhat overwhelmed and in unfamiliar territory so I felt as if I held back somewhat when dealing with the other candidates. Now that I'm more comfortable and more politically versed it would be a great opportunity to critique the other parties and really expose the carnage of the economic system (capitalism) that they have sworn allegiance to. The first time running was like nod and wave to the public. People who didn't even know we existed are now aware. Our party has clubs throughout Canada but the Halifax club hasn't been active for quite some time. Now we have a growing club in Halifax and other cities that we previously didn't have clubs in. Socialism is starting to lose its dirty word status for many people and capitalism is sharpening global conflict and environmental destruction to frightful new heights. This is reflected in our membership increase.

What would you like the listener to take away from this record?

I like to think of this record as a debut of my political political thoughts. I'd like the listener to question some of the topics/issues/ideas that I mention. I don't know of many Canadian hip hop artists active right now that are questioning the state or our current economic system. I just want the listener to be exposed to new ideas that they might not have been exposed to yet. A lot of people think that Canada is some kind of friendly neighbour and is enlightened compared to our southern neighbours. The truth is we are a settler colonial state that refuses to have a nation to nation relationship with the Indigenous peoples. The truth is we ravage the global south and destabilize democratically elected governments. America may be the most dangerous country on the planet at the moment but Canada is their junior partner and an imperialist power in its own right as well. I make mild references to communism in this EP just to put a bug in the listener's ear. Just to warm them up to the idea that there is a political ideology that links all struggle together. A communist is a feminist, a champion of Indigenous rights, an advocate for the working class and an environmentalist.

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