Broome musician Stephen “Baamba” Albert dies in Perth
Iconic Broome musician and actor Stephen “Baamba” Albert died in his hospital bed in Perth this morning, aged 69.
The indigenous talent, known for his roles in the Bran Nue Dae and Corrugation Road musicals, both written by the late playwright Jimmy Chi, was recovering from surgery in Perth when he died.
Born and raised in the Kimberley town, Albert’s long list of performance highlights also included presenting the 1998 dreamtime story series Bobtales, as well as starring in the SBS drama program The Circuit and as the sidekick for famous drag queen Mary G.
Aside from the arts, Albert was the first chairman of the National Aboriginal Education Committee, established by the Commonwealth Government in 1997 to create a voice for the educational needs of indigenous people.
He was the director of indigenous media and communications company Goolarri Media and was heavily involved at Broome North Primary School.
His son, Michael Albert, said his father had lived a “colourful life” that enriched those around him.
A statement released by Goolarri Media on behalf of Albert’s family said the entertainer was “synonymous” with Old Broome and his stories would cast a spell over his audiences.
“With other musicians and singers from Broome, he embodied the spirit of the modern day troubadour and minstrel,” it said.
“He felt his job was to make people happy, to make them think and reflect on the past and the future.
“For visitors to Broome and to people who saw Baamba perform, his songs and stories were a revelation of the promise of a multi-cultural Australia.
“But like other great Indigenous performers and leaders Baamba brought out the tough times of the past.
“This was usually done with his own unique humour and a conquering spirit of good will.
“His passing will have an effect on the entire community who knew and loved him.”
Albert is survived by his three children, Michael, Joseph and Stephanie, three sisters, two brothers and many grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
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