The best in Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Music

Ltyentye Apurte Band

The desert/surf rock sounds of the Ltyentye Apurte Band (pronounced ‘Ginga Porta’) come live and direct from Arrernte country in central Australia. (also known as’Santa Teresa Band’) Ltyentye Apurte is the East Arrernte name for Santa Teresa, an Aboriginal community 80 km southeast of Alice Springs that is home to around 500 people.

Band members Ricky Furber and Farron Gorey (vocals), Chris Wallace (lead guitar), Justin Hayes (rhythm guitar), Derek Hayes (bass guitar) and Mervyn Young (drums) are Arrernte men. They learned to play their instruments from family and community members, who then encouraged them to form a band.

If you like Warumpi and Lajamanu Teenage Band, then you’ll love these rockin’ fellas! Getting together five years ago, it wasn’t long before the band were encouraged by their community to take the next step and make a record together.

“When we used to play for the community, we’d get the biggest mob at the gigs and the Elders of the community really got behind us,” says front man Ricky.

The band’s songs reflect their strong connection both to the local community and to Arrernte land. Their first album It’s Our Home – Santa Teresa (CAAMA Music) is chock-a-block full of original tracks, from the driving beat of “Dance the Night Away” that is sure to have you up on your feet, to the anthem “We Are Proud”, and the story of their own tribe’s history in “Arrernte Tribe”.

Singing in both Arrernte and English the band toured Victoria earlier this year, where they not only won NAIDOC Week 2001’s Battle of the Bands competition, but were also lucky enough to catch a few games of AFL! Closer to home they were one of the many bands that brought Alice Springs alive for the recent Yeperenye Federation Festival.

These fellas are going from strength to strength. Thanks to their deadly music and the support of their community, we reckon you’ll be hearing a lot more of their unique desert/surf rock in the near future!


What’s your name? Derek Hayes from Ltyentye Apurte Band.

Whereabouts do you come from? Ltyentye Apurte, Northern Territory.

What’s your nickname and why? Wire – I must have liked playing with wire when I was a kid.

Do you like your nickname? ‘Kwele mwarre’ – it’s okay, good!

When did you first start playing a musical instrument? What was it? I started playing when I was about 17 or 18, starting with bass and guitar.

Can you play any others? Drums.

Did you always want to be a musician? If not, what did you want to be as a child? No, I’m only a Johnnie Come Lately. When I was a kid I wanted to be a ringer/stockman.

If you could jam with any musician, who would it be? Angus Young from AC/DC.

Name a song that most describes who you are. Lots of laughs when the rest of the band heard this question, and lots of suggestions, but nothing comes to mind for me.

Do you sing in the shower? No.

What is your fantasy holiday location? WA.

Favourite TV show? Catch Phrase.

Favourite film? True Lies.

Favourite book? Don’t have one.

What CD do you have in your CD player at the moment? Ozzy Osbourne.

Most embarrassing experience in your life so far? This interview.

Most fulfilling experience in your life so far? Playing in front of people, especially at The Esplanade Hotel and Yeperenye Federation Festival.

What would you most like to change about yourself? Beat the grog!

Vegemite, Marmite or Promite? Vegemite.

Coffee or tea? Tea.

Favourite food? Fresh kangaroo.

Favourite (clean) joke? Why did the little boy throw the butter out the window? To see the butterfly.

Who is your hero? All the old men of our community.

What’s on the cards for the coming year? Hoping to go on tour again.

What is your motto in life? Enjoy life while you can.

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