Brownbird Rudy Relic, Blues Artist

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Photography: Rana Ghuloom
Report: Maryam Nazzal

On Wednesday, November 2, 2011, the American Studies Center welcomed Rudy Relic a talented blues artist. A gifted contemporary artist, he was introduced by Mr. Brad Niemann, the head of Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy.

Rudy Relic started playing Blues eight years ago when he was living in California, and became a street musician. Then he moved to New York and made a living by playing the guitar for tips on the street and in subways for a year and a half.

He mentioned that the music he plays encompasses a lot of early American influences, such as Ragtime, traditional Blues and pre-World War II tunes. He developed his style through playing contemporary and new Blues songs, which is more like an electric band base. Yet, he thinks his kind of music may have a wider fan platform in Europe than in the US.

Rudy Relic played a Ragtime melody on a syncopated structure and various songs for the audience which were very different and provided an incredible live experience for the students. During his performance he used his guitar, kazoo, and his vocals. His loud and effective voice was enough to give goose-bumps to the students who were very impressed. To a question about his guitar, he pointed out that his steel acoustic blues guitar comprises a cone that functions like a speaker box.

Mr. Relic explained that Blues is the first music in America to come from various aspects of early American culture, such as both African and White heritages, and it all mixes together to create music that did not exist before. Furthermore, he added that in the 1920s, Blues was recorded mainly by female artists, who would sing with traditional Jazz bands. After that, recording companies started promoting solo artists in order to save money and to increase the number of musicians.

Rudy stated that he would consider himself as an independent solo artist, using a band structure with a tight Boogie-woogie element. He sang for the audience several different songs including one in Spanish. Students were uniformly impressed and said it was their favorite event at the ASC.

He concluded his presentation by answering various questions about the Blues and how it’s related to American culture nowadays, and ended the event by singing one final song.

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