There is a proud history of contemporary Indigenous music on the APY Lands. During the 1970s and 80s the shape and style of Anangu music began to emerge as guitars, basses and drum kits found their way onto communities. There was still singing around the campfire with an acoustic guitar, but the country and western and gospel sounds were often drowned out by high volume rock and roll and – as musicians became skilled – the distinctive sound of Anangu desert reggae emerged.
Wedgetail Eagle and Ilkari Maru were two of the groundbreaking rock and roll outfits. These two bands were populated by Tunkins and Bradys who were driving forces. Over in the west, the Chrysphrase Band had formed and soon recorded the famous Tjana Anu Wilurara. To the east Punch Thompson wrote and recorded Pitilu – a beautiful and haunting refrain about petrol sniffing. The Pukatja Band from Ernabella and The Sunrise Band from Pipalyatjara have been major forces while The Thunderboys from Nyapari/Kanpi wrote and recorded their own album, touring throughout the Centre and exciting crowds wherever they went.