Over the years I have developed a great interest in the Australian Aboriginal peoples and their Cultures and traditions.
The Aboriginals have a diverse Tribal system and are spread all throughout Australia, their history dates back over 40,000 years.
I have visited a number of ancient Aboriginal sites, in the process of learning more about the original inhabitants of Australia.
I do like to collect Aboriginal artefacts that are intrinsic to their culture and lifestyle, collecting ancient artefacts is primarily a museum responsibility.
However today, Aboriginal artefacts can be bought at most Tourist/souvenir shops throughout Australia, I don’t go near these items as in the majority of cases, they are mass produced and machine worked. I prefer the artefacts that are hand carved and from a specific Tribal area, and intrinsic to that particular Tribe.
I was able to obtain two items from our recent Outback journey, here I want to show you a pair of Clap sticks, sometimes referred to as Clapping sticks or Singing sticks. These are hand carved by the Coober Pedy Tribe known as Pitjantjatjara.
Clap Sticks are the traditional percussion instrument of all Aboriginal people, providing rhythmic accompaniment for song and dance. They consist of two sticks crafted from various woods and are often intricately decorated. Most commonly used during Corroboree and social dancing, clap sticks are played by striking one against the other to provide particular rhythms. It is often the only instrument used to accompany singing and is played by both men and women.
Music and dance were a continual part of the Australian Aboriginal life used not only for passing on the sacred lore, but also for telling tales of everyday happenings and events. The sticks were used for percussion – keeping the rhythm of the song. Others were specifically prepared and decorated for spiritually significant celebrations.
I have attached a video clip of the Clap sticks in use.