Lajamanu Teenage Band

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Lajamanu Teenage Band exploded onto the national music scene 20 years ago as a pioneer of the distinctive desert reggae sound.

Formed in 1993 by a group of teenagers in Lajamanu, a remote community 800 km south of Darwin in the Tanami Desert, the Teenage Band quickly became popular with young people from the bush and town.

Their debut album ‘Echo Voices’ was released in 1995, telling stories of the changes to their homeland brought by by western civilisation.

The second album ‘Vision’ released on CD in 1997, attracted national media interest – never before had a young group of musicians from Central Australia gained such celebrity.

With feature articles in Rolling Stone Australia, gigs all over the Central Desert and Top End, as well as East Coast tours and reviews, Teenage Band sang both to indigenous youth and on their behalf.

20 years on, Teenage Band continues to be a voice of social conscience, performing deadly live shows and preparing for a 6th studio album.

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Lajamanu Teenage Band exploded onto the national music scene 20 years ago as a pioneer of the distinctive desert reggae sound.

Formed in 1993 by a group of teenagers in Lajamanu, a remote community 800 km south of Darwin in the Tanami Desert, the Teenage Band quickly became popular with young people from the bush and town.

Their debut album ‘Echo Voices’ was released in 1995, telling stories of the changes to their homeland brought by by western civilisation.

The second album ‘Vision’ released on CD in 1997, attracted national media interest – never before had a young group of musicians from Central Australia gained such celebrity.

With feature articles in Rolling Stone Australia, gigs all over the Central Desert and Top End, as well as East Coast tours and reviews, Teenage Band sang both to indigenous youth and on their behalf.

20 years on, Teenage Band continues to be a voice of social conscience, performing deadly live shows and preparing for a 6th studio album.

  • Sale!
    Released in 1999 as a follow up album to the breakthrough album ‘Vision’, ‘Dreamtime Hero’ reached No. 16 on the Australian Independent Record Label’s (AIR) charts. Based on stories about caring for yourself and others, land rights, respecting elders and family, ‘Dreamtime Hero’ is an album for Indigenous teenagers in Central Australia. Bunna Lawrie of Coloured Stone said of the Teenage Band: ‘… what goes on in a lot of those communities is really hard you know … with petrol sniffing and all sorts of other things, but you know for them to come out being musicians it’s really, it’s legendary, it’s amazing.’ Find more music from Lajamanu Teenage Band here
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    This live recording of the Teenage Band was done at Kurbi’s in Katherine on their Northern Territory tour starting in Alice Springs, travelling through Tennant Creek, Katherine, Jaribu, Ngukurr and Darwin, where the band played the NAIDOC Festival. Featuring all of the hits from the Teenage Band’s 5 albums and career spanning 15 years, this live recording captures the spontaneity and exuberance of the band’s live shows. Drummer Manual Herbert shines on ‘Dreamtime Hero’ with frenetic fills and stick work, powering the band though an energized set. Terry Banjo wails and shreds on lead guitar. Find more music from Lajamanu Teenage Band here
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    Combining new and old songs in a brand new recording, ‘Prisoner’ is the Teenage Band’s most polished album to date. New arrangements involving interlocking guitar lines, vocal harmonies, subtle yet effective synthesizer parts and sensitivity developed over years of gigging and recording combine to make one of the most definitive albums to emerge from the desert. The reworking of ‘Between You and Me’ is reminiscent melodically of early rock and roll, yet united with an island reggae feel. ‘My Home Lajamanu’ seems like a straight up rock ballad, but reveals itself as a love song for the band’s desert home, with the unmistakable flavour of desert music. Find more music from Lajamanu Teenage Band here
  • Sale!
    Launched to much excitement on Gurindji Freedom Day at Wave Hill in 1998, ‘Vision’ was Teenage Band’s first release on Compact Disc. With songs both in Walpiri and English, and produced by former Village People drummer Allen Murphy, the album piqued national interest. The album was toured throughout the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia on the first of the ‘Bush Tours’. The tours involved music industry training as well as professional gigs. Stand out tracks include the unaccompanied harmonies of ‘Please Come Home’, the high-spirited dance track ‘Nguru’ and the anti drink-drive anthem ‘Wiyappa Wanti Jalu’. Vision was nominated for an ARIA in 1999, in the ‘Best World Music Album’ category. Find more music from Lajamanu Teenage Band here
  • Sale!
    Recorded at the CAAMA studios, Alice Springs in 2002, the Teenage Band’s third album ‘Warlpiri Woman’ showcases a new level of refinement in their distinctive desert sound. Ska, rock, reggae and pop are mixed together to create a well-rounded and varied album. Guitarist Terry Banjo shines on tracks like ‘Ngawara Kujaku (Big Flood Water)’ and ‘Warlpiri Woman’ with his characteristic distortion and delay drenched sound, whereas the sparse reggae arrangements of songs like ‘Prisoner’ allow space for vocalist Alfred Rose to shine. The single ‘Warlpiri Woman’ was included in the soundtrack to the film Samson and Delilah, taking Lajamanu Teenage Band's music to an international audience. Find more music from Lajamanu Teenage Band here