Letterstick take their name from one of the most remarkable tools in Aboriginal culture, the ‘message’ or ‘letter’ stick.
This is a piece of wood with messages carved into it, used to carry information from clan to clan.
The Letterstick Band comes from the small An-Barra Clan, living on the northeast coast of Arnhem Land.
Their music is sung in both English and local language from throughout Arnhem Land.
Comprised of two sets of brothers and other family members, the band played shows for many years before releasing their first album ‘An-Barra Clan’ to national acclaim in 1999.
‘An-Barra Clan’ heralded a new direction for reggae music in Australia.
Letterstick presents a strikingly original sound, highlighted by haunting vocals in rare Top End languages, mixing reggae and rock with traditional singing, clap stick and didgeridoo.
In 2001 Letterstick Band won the National Indigenous Music Award ‘Deadly Sounds’ band of the year award, travelling to the Sydney Opera House to accept the prize.
They were featured in the ABC TV documentary ‘Saltwater’, Triple J compilation albums and have toured the nation.