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WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that the following may contain images, story and voices of deceased, by and about persons. Discretion advised.

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Isaac Yaama

6 July 2021 // Isaac Yaama

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Further reading


Isaac Yamma also spelt Yama (1940- January 1990) was a Pitjantjatjara man. He was born by a waterhole in Kaltukatjara, Northern Territory, formerly known as Docker River, a remote Indigenous Australian community in the Northern Territory of Australia. It is southwest of Alice Springs, west of the Stuart Highway, near the Western Australia and Northern Territory border in the unique tri-state region.

Singer, songwriter and guitarist, Isaac started his musical career in the 1960's as a member of Areyonga Desert Tigers. He later performed with his band the Pitjantjatjara Country Band, a band made up of his sons Hector, Frank, Peter and Paul and his cousin Russell Yamma. His songs were sung in Pitjantjatjara.

In 1988 Sing Loud, Play Strong took place in Bagot Community. It was the first ever national festival of Aboriginal Rock Music in Australia and featured Yothu Yindi, Warumpi Band, Mixed Relations, Casso &​ the Axons, Isaac Yama &​ the Pitjantjatjara Band, Areyonga Desert Tigers, Malandarri Band, Frank Yama, Black Bella Mujik. It saw both the genesis and the legacy of Isaac perform on one stage.

As well as being a prolific artist and band leader he was also a radio host on CAAMA Radio 8KIN FM. Isaac is featured in The book Buried Country: The Story of Aboriginal Country Music by Clinton Walker and documentary of the same name directed by Andy Nehland.

Labelled the godfather, of central desert music. He passed away in January 1990 at the age of 49.


  • Isaac Yama and the Pitjantjatjara Country Band (1987) – CAAMA

  • Isaac Yama and the Pitjantjatjara Country Band No.2 (1987) – CAAMA



  • Papal Concert, Alice Springs (1982) – Imparja

  • Desert Songs 1 (1982) – CAAMA

  • Desert Songs 2 (1983) – CAAMA

  • From the Bush (1990) – CAAMA

  • AIDS: How Could I Know (1989) – CAAMA

  • 25th Anniversary Compilation 2 (2006) – CAAMA

Recommended viewing
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