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Monday, March 16, 2009

What's in a `Letto'

Catchy words or characters from children's tales have been popularized into household names by a new crop of musicians here. But these Yogyakarta-based musicians prefer to start afresh. What does Letto mean? Search for it in any Indonesian or Javanese dictionary, and you will find nothing.

Rather than pick a meaningful - yet catchy - name, the members of Letto say they prefer to define who they are through their music.

"The name means nothing, but that's no problem. We want to start clean. We want to set out with a clean sheet that we'll fill in along the way," says guitarist Agus "Patub" Riyono.

Comprising vocalist Sabrang "Noe" Mowo Damar Panuluh, Patub, bassist Ari Prastowo and drummer Dhedot, the members of Letto have known each other for 13 years, since attending the same high school.

It was amid typically Javanese banter and laidback rehearsals that they settled on the name Letto. They first used the name when their English song "I'll Find A Way" was selected for a compilation album featuring various artists, Pilih 2004 (Choose 2004).

Some regard Letto's songs as love songs, others view them as religious. But what Letto want to say in their latest album, Lethologica, is that love has no boundaries.

"In Lethologica, the keyword releases love from the box. We haven't quite released it in our previous albums, because people view it with prejudice," Noe says.

The Jakarta Post, March 2009

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