Combat Wombat bring socially conscious hip-hop to Kuranda Roots Festival 2012
From solar-powered soundsystems to bio-fuel, Combat Wombat are hip-hop with a social and political edge, writes JESSE KUCH.
One of Australia’s leading exponents of conscious and socially-charged hip-hop make a very welcome local debut as the headline act of Kuranda Roots Festival this weekend.
What started as a solar-powered political soundsystem at the protests against uranium mining in Jabiluka quickly matured into one of the country’s most dynamic and hard‑hitting hip-hop outfits, with the group’s Combat Wombat moniker a homage to the band’s camouflage touring van.
Consisting of Monkey Marc, DJ Wasabi, Elf Tranzporter and MC Izzy, Combat Wombat might have been a bit quiet since the 2005 release of their now‑classic Unsound System album on Urthboy’s Elefant Traks, but this doesn’t mean the band is in hiatus.
Chatting to timeOUT this week ahead of their show headlining Kuranda Roots Festival, MC Izzy (known to her mum as Izzy Brown) from Combat Wombat says they have plenty of new material and can’t wait to make their way north.
“I’m in ugg boots and fur coats at the moment, I can’t wait to get up there,” she laughs.
“We’ve got a whole lot of songs you wouldn’t have heard before, but the problem with us is that we’re rarely all in the one place. We’ve all got numerous side projects, so there is always lots of new material coming. But getting us to sit down together in the studio can be problematic.”
One thing Combat Wombat hasn’t lost is their upfront, politically charged themes and hard‑hitting socially conscious lyrics.
“Music can be a really powerful force for education,” Izzy says.
“You can make musical metaphors for the things you care about. I think it’s one of the most powerful mediums of change and we hope we can raise awareness on a few issues.”
Before the days of gangster rap and P.Diddy, a lot of hip-hop shared these same politically charged roots.
“Hip-hop in its roots always had bands like Public Enemy and Dead Prez. It was music that communicated people’s struggles and I guess that we’re kind of following in that tradition.”
Izzy says expect the full Combat Wombat force to hit the stage at Kuranda Roots this weekend, alongside fellow collaborators Monkey Marc and Elf Tranzporter laying down solo shows as well.
“We’re looking forward to coming up your way from the cold heart of Melbourne. We’re very excited about the sunshine and getting to hang up there with the people,” she says.
>> Kuranda Roots Festival is on Friday and Saturday at The Billabong, 186 Haren Rd, Kuranda. Full festival and single passes are available online at rudekatrecords.com or in store at Shiva Moon, Shi Sha Beans and Fetish 4 Life in Cairns, and Kuranda Video Store in Kuranda. More information about the festival is online at kurandaroots.com
NEW CAIRNS.COM.AU COMMENT POLICY
We welcome your comments on this story. Comments are submitted for possible publication on the condition that they may be edited. Comments submitted without a full name and suburb/location will not be considered for publication. Please read our full comment policy and publication guidelines.
Share this article
Power of hip-hop: Monkey Mark, Bassi Brown, McIzzy and Elf Tranzporter from Combat Wombat. Picture: Andrew MacColl.