I am very sad to hear the great Torres Strait singer Henry Gibson "Seaman" Dan has left us. He was 91.
Uncle Seaman began his career as a recording artist at age 70, but he'd been making music since childhood. He was born on Thursday Island in 1929, going on to be a pearl shell diver, boat skipper, taxi driver and mineral prospector. It was during his time working as a diver that he acquired his lifelong nickname ‘Seaman’ Dan.
He was welcome at any venue or party, getting the crowd going with his lively "island" style music delivered in his rich "crooner" voice.
A chance encounter with visiting music producer Karl Neunfeldt led to Uncle Seaman's first CD in 1999. Since then, he had national and international success as a performer and recording artist, winning two ARIA awards and many other honours.
I worked with Uncle Seaman many times, and interviewed him whenever I could. Here's one we did for the launch of his biography in 2013.
Listen to Uncle Seaman Dan tell the remarkable story of his life and music
Richard is a writer, podcaster, radio and TV broadcaster, an editor, and a lover of music. He tells the stories of how great songs are made, and of the people who make them.