‘It’s the seams, it’s the edges where worlds meet, old school, new school, can you feel the heat?- Rapper Morganics in Ubud!
The New Year sun is days away, hiding far behind the hills of Ubud ready to rise and shine to warm, caress and preserve the beauty of a land reminiscent of the fabled Camelot. It will spread before us like a feast at Galungan and once again we will waltz through the year in Ubud rubbing shoulders with royalty, holy men, artists of vibrant hues, culinary maestros, musicians and the ubiquitous stereotype expats who lounge around watering holes wallowing in Draught.
The week began with a Hip Hop cool dude, Morganics, from Down under who is here for a brief R & R with his beautiful girl friend Karina from Paris before returning to Sydney for the launch of his latest album Hip Hop is My Passport.
When I quizzed Morganics about his Cd he replied, “ This album has been recorded on my laptop as I travelled through countries producing tracks with children on the streets of Arusha, Tanzania, on subway trains in New York with rapping ciphers (circles/groups), performing with aboriginal elders in Oz, rapping with Balinese school children in Ubud and culminating in the recording of a Javanese folk song to Hip Hop with Thanding Sari at the 2006 UWRF. The title of this song is Jungle Funk and it goes like this – it’s the seams, it’s the edges where worlds meet, old school, new school, can you feel the heat? This is how Hip Hop is my Passport came together through a series of cross-cultural collaborations. The album also features people rapping in Swahili, Spanish and Pitjanjarra (a central aboriginal language). Along with this album there’s also a one hour documentary DVD on the making of it.”
Morganics was born in Brisbane. His father a left wing political activist introduced him to the Warumpy Band and Kraftwerk while his mother, a feminist and into street theatre, made him listen to Grace Jones and Prince’s early work. When Morganics was 13, Hip Hop culture was taking root in Oz. And like punk music it was revolutionary, political and inventing itself at every stage. He had been in television from an early age doing shows with Lee Majors on one of the popular TV series produced by NBC called Danger Down Under.
Around ’95 he co-formed one of Australia’s first Hip Hop groups “MetalBass’n’Breath” with Baba Israel (New York) and Elf Tranz Porter (Houston). The 3-member band formed on the streets of Sydney rapping, playing drums and break dancing. It expanded to include Funk Jazz musicians and a DJ.
‘Ya I played with bands from Run-Dmc to Michael Frante. In 97-98 I was based in New York for nearly a year and did gigs with Badar Ali, son of the late Ustad Fateh Ali Khan (great Qawali singer), as well as, the originator of hip hop culture, Grand Wizard Theodore who also invented ‘scratching’. The group disbanded in 99 and since then I’ve been doing solo stuff and a lot of community work and more recently Hip Hop Theatre. I will be producing and performing in some Hip Hop Theatre at the Sydney Opera House, Melbourne, Brisbane, New York and Manchester UK. I will be going on a European tour in August 08. Presently am writing a Hip Hop travel book titled – Hip Hop is my passport – memories of a Hip Hop nomad and what better place for inspiration, perspiration of the mind and the groove of culture than Ubud!”