Revisiting Bobby Farrell

Last week Mirla Passchier invited a handful of people to Papiamento restaurant for a preview of a sculpture idea, by Gilbert Senchi.

Gilbert works under a public art foundation by the name of ARTopia, with Mirla Passchier Eduard Ellis, and Mich Biegstraaten, as both the chef/restaurateur and the businessman appreciate the bohemian artist, working in Europe and South America on a variety of interesting art projects.

The artwork previewed at Papiamento restaurant that night was a life size plus sculpture of Bobby Farrell, commission by a German client.

Gilbert is now busy researching the phenomenon of Bobby Farrell, the male performer of Boney M. a famed disco-era band. Farrell came from Aruba, and Gilbert tells the story of a driven young man, determined to leave the island and find his fortune out there, in the big wide world.

Apparently, Farrell left Aruba at age 15 as a ship-hand. He became a sailor for a while until he reached Europe. There he evolved into a DJ, touring the Nordic countries and Germany and in 1974, he was eventually chosen by a clever music producer as the front dancer / showman for an all-female disco band with performers from the Caribbean.

The band became super successful and the more successful they became the wilder Farrell got, jumping, dancing, bare-chested, in skin tight pants and extravagant costumes, showing off a hairy chest and his signature, carefully styled afro, all glistening in the stage lights.

Farrell lives forever on YouTube, as Boney M. They appeared around the world cranking out amazing hits such as Daddy Cool, Ma Baker, Rasputin and on the River of Babylon.

But here’s the mystery and the tragedy. His musical contributions were allegedly few, he was lip synching. The voice was that of his sleazy producer, German singer and songwriter Frank Farian, but the showmanship and the charisma were all Farrell’s, and that’s what international audiences filled stadiums for.

I watched some of these old clips. Farrell needed help, he was drugged out of his mind. He was an atomic bomb, bundled in glitter, an adventurer, an iconoclast, a rebel, and he was burning the candle on both ends.

While Farrell was destroying himself, he made millions for his producer who also happened to be the producer of Milly Vannily, the fake pretty-boy duo.

That was Farian’s MO, he concocted the music Farrell performed. The relationship was purely exploitational, and because of Farrell’s lifestyle he could not help himself, couldn’t protest, nor change things, he was always dependent on Farian for a pay check, and remained in this cycle of abuse, practically until the day he died.

Worst of all, he signed away all the rights to the music, so Farrian owns it all, and Farrell’s family remained uncared for, no royalties, no gain.

The story of Farrell’s death is peculiar. One of the band’s most catching tunes, Rasputin, the “Greatest Russian Love Machine,” was banned in Moscow, when the band travelled to Russia to perform. The song angered the communist regime because it described the degenerate life of a mystic, Russian healer, and the advisor of the Czar’s wife. While Boney M. couldn’t play the song to Russian audiences, it became super-popular in Europe. In 2010, when the band returned to St Petersburg, Farrell died in his hotel room, of heart disease. He complained earlier he had difficulties breathing, but no one listened to Farrell, described as a fantastic person, but quite bizarre, with a big heart and an explosive temper. Ominously, Farrell died on the very same day Rasputin was murdered in 1917, on December 30th.


Roberto Alfonso Farrell was a Dutch dancer and performer from Aruba, best known as the male member of the successful 1970s pop and disco group Boney M.

BornOctober 6, 1949, San Nicolas, Aruba

DiedDecember 30, 2010, Saint Petersburg, Russia, at the age of 61

SpouseJasmina Farrell (m. 1981–1994)

BuriedZorgvlied, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Music groupBoney M.

Funny commercial about him:.



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September 26, 2017
Rona Coster