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Maroochy Barambah

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Maroochy Barambah during a Welcome to Country & Dreamtime Storytelling ceremony in Brisbane (February 2021)

Maroochy Barambah is an Australian Aboriginal mezzo-soprano singer. She is a song-woman, law-woman and elder of the Turrbal people.[1]

Early life[edit]

She was born Yvette Isaacs in the 1950s in Cherbourg, Queensland.[2] She is of the Turrbal-Gubbi Gubbi people and is a member of the Stolen Generations. She considers herself a beneficiary of her removal.[3] As a tribute to her Aboriginality she took the names Maroochy (meaning "black swan") and Barambah (meaning "source of the western wind").[4]


Maroochy Barambah rose to fame for her part in the 1989 Sydney Metropolitan Opera production of Black River, by Julianne Schultz and Andrew Schultz, an opera about black deaths in custody, and later starring in the 1993 film adaption which was awarded the Grand-Prix, Opera Screen at Opera Bastille, Paris. She also has appeared in the indigenous musical Bran Nue Dae, the 1981 television series Women of the Sun and in the opera Beach Dreaming (written for and about her by Mark Isaacs).[2]

She has released two singles, one of which, "Aborigine", reached the top 10 on the U.S. Billboard Dance chart.[5]

She performed at the 1993 AFL Grand Final, singing Waltzing Matilda and Advance Australia Fair.[6] Her performance was poor, due to her extreme nervousness.[7]

Maroochy's translation of Advance Australia Fair into Turrubul, the native language of the Aboriginal people of the Brisbane region, was performed at the 2013 Indigenous All Stars Rugby League match at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, on 9 February 2013.

On 15 November 2014, Maroochy featured in the Welcome to Country ceremony at the formal opening of the 2014 G-20 Australia Summit, held in Brisbane, Australia, performing in front of national leaders and international dignitaries.



List of albums
Title Details
Once Upon a Dreamtime[8]
  • Released: 1997
  • Label: Daki Budtcha Records
  • Formats: CD


Title Year
"Mongungi"[8] 1994
"Aborigine"[8] 1996

Appears on[edit]


  1. ^ "Brisbane Welcome to Country Ceremony". Turrbal. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  2. ^ a b David Horton, ed. (1994). The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia : Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, society and culture. Aboriginal Studies Press for AIATSIS. ISBN 0-85575-250-5.
  3. ^ The Australian Strong voices, separate songlines
  4. ^ Atkinson, Ann; Linsay Knight; Margaret McPhee (1996). The Dictionary of Performing Arts in Australia: Theatre, film, radio, television. Allen & Unwin. p. 26. ISBN 9781863738989.
  5. ^ Powerhouse Museum Exhibition notes - Bayagul
  6. ^ Murfett, Andrew (29 September 2006). "Grand folly". The Age. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  7. ^ Jackson, Russell (22 September 2014). "The Joy of Six: AFL grand final entertainment". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  8. ^ a b c "maroochy-barambah". Daki Budtcha Records. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  9. ^ Women of the Sun (Drama), Michelle Lanyon, Naykakan Munung, Justine Saunders, Mawuyul Yanthalawuy, Channel O/28, Generations Films, 5 July 1982, retrieved 6 March 2021{{citation}}: CS1 maint: others (link)