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A Great Night Out In Broome

by Jo Durbridge | Aug 07, 2015

 

The pearling town of Broome is known for its distinctive mix of Indigenous cultures within a multicultural community and there is no better way to gain an insight into this than ‘A Taste of Broome’.

So what is A Taste of Broome?  It’s an event that runs once a month between April and September and it has so many elements it’s a little difficult to describe!  

Its food, its live music, its entertainment, its the town’s social history and its storytelling with wonderful old images and footage from a bygone era. Given Broome’s consistent warm weather the event is held outside at Goolarri Media whose grounds are transformed with food huts, a large stage and plenty of table and chairs to enjoy the evening.

My cousin has been to Broome on numerous occasions and I thought she would enjoy learning more about Broome’s social and cultural history in an entertaining way and so I purchased tickets from the Broome Visitor Centre for the event.    

We headed to Goolarri Media early as with all the multicultural food available it’s the perfect place to have dinner.  It was pretty difficult to choose what to eat!  Having tasted them before, Ahmat's satays were calling my name but in the end we decided on curries.  Chicken for me and vego for my cousin!  We thought the local Matso’s Ginger Beer  would be the perfect accompaniment and settled in to enjoy the show.

Ahmat cooking his famous sataysAhmat cooking his delicious satay sticks (image courtesy Goolarri Media)

First up Neil McKenzie welcomed the audience to country and then introduced the The Yardoogarra Dancers.  With traditional markings and dress, these young Indigenous children performed a dance that had been passed down through generations.  They had the audience laughing and clapping at how adorable they were as they seriously tried to remember their steps under the guidance of Neil. 

Yarldoolgarra DancersYarldoogarra Dancers (image courtesy of Goolarri Media)

Next to perform was a modern contemporary Indigenous dancer Anne-Jeanette.  She captured the audience’s attention as she took us on a journey of land and culture as she flowed through the aisles expressing her Bardi, Yawuru and Nykana heritage.

Stephen ‘Baamba’ Albert is a well-known performer and you may remember him from the film Bran Nue Dae.   He sings, narrates, and takes you on a 120 year historical journey enriching your knowledge of Broome with a backdrop of images and footage of everything from old Broome streetscapes and pearl luggers to local social occasions such as festivals and dances held in the town.

Baamba entertains the crowd
  Baamba entertains the crowd (image courtesy Goolarri Media)

Stephen Pigram is also an integral part of the performance. Stephen is a much loved musician who as part of the Pigram Brothers represents the sound of Broome.  His musical talent is celebrated not only in Australia (he was one of the first Indigenous artists to be inducted into the West Australian Music Industry’s Hall of Fame) but he is recognised internationally. He is head of the creative team behind A Taste of Broome and that night was playing guitar and harmonica as part of the band on stage.  The locals in the audience burst into spontaneous applause as soon as he sang a much loved Broome favourite  “Going back Home” which also features on the Bran Nue Dae Soundtrack.

Stephen Pigram
Stephen Pigram. A favourite with locals and visitors alike.
(image courtesy of Goolarri Media)

Naomi Pigram and Tania McKenna also provided stirring vocal performances.  

The cast have pulled together a fun, entertaining evening while also reminding us of the hardships that both Indigenous and the newly arrived Japanese, Malays and Fillipino encountered  which has helped form Broome’s cultural identity today.  

The event resonated with me and even though I have lived in Broome for more than a decade I came out of it feeling that I learnt more about the history and culture of the town I call home, but what did my cousin think of it?   She gave it two thumbs up and it inspired her to go on a Pearl Luggers Tour to learn even more about the perils of the hard hat divers.

There are still two shows remaining this year on 13 August and 10 September. Tickets sell out fast so get in quick!   General admission tickets are only $30 and for $70 you get the full VIP treatment which includes seating at a table, food platter, an alcoholic beverage  and table service .  

Book now at the Broome Visitor Centre  here  or contact them direct on 08 9195 2200.

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