Bill Sevesi Profile

aka Will Jess
Chris Bourke
9 May 2013

Looking back on his career in 1999, Bill Sevesi tapped his lap steel guitar and said, “I’ve seen a lot, I’ve done a lot. If I had my life over, I’ll do it all over again.”

Sevesi was then 76, still playing every day and using his home studio to record himself or some young talent he was nurturing. He had earned his status as the godfather of the lap steel guitar in New Zealand through hard work, longevity and generosity.

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Bill Wolfgramm and Bill Sevesi
Photo credit: Chris Bourke Collection
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Bill Sevesi Group, 1959-60: Joe Brandon third from left (saxophone), Ben Tawhiti first left (lead guitar), Bill Sevesi second left
Photo credit: Geoff Bolton Collection
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Bill Sevesi applauds Peter Posa at the 1999 APRA Silver Scroll Awards
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Bill Sevesi announces his own record label, Armar, with 'I'm Polynesian', a 1965 EP with his band The Islanders that features as guests Freddie Keil, Lin Peyroux and steel guitarist Trevor Edmondson
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Bill Sevesi at the True Colours Festival, St. James, Auckland, 2002
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
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From the APRA archives - Bic Runga with the award for Most Performed Work in 1997 (Sway), standing with Bill Sevesi.
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Ronnie Sundin's only longplayer, issued in 1960 by Viking Records. Left to right, Hugo Spemann, Sundin, Rudy Spemann, Bill Sevesi, Don Stacey, Alex Patchett. Bass player Malu Natapu was obscured behind Sundin when his image was enlarged.
Photo credit: Simon Grigg Collection
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Bill Sevesi (at right) and His Islanders, 1958
Photo credit: Gordon Spittle Collection
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Bill Sevesi performing with a band at the True Colours Festival, St. James, Auckland, 2002
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
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Bill Sevesi's Dream
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Four Auckland bandleaders ready for their residencies at the Oriental Ballroom, Symonds Street, early 1960s. From left: Bernie Allen, Bill Sevesi, Merv Thomas and Al Patchett
Photo credit: Phil Warren Collection
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Bill Sevesi's Induction into the NZ Music Hall of Fame at the 2015 APRA Silver Scroll Awards
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Bill Sevesi and The Islanders' 'I'm Polynesian', a 1965 EP that features as guests Freddie Keil, Lin Peyroux and steel guitarist Trevor Edmondson
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Auckland Bandleaders at the Oriental Ballroom, Symonds Street, early 1960s. From left: Bernie Allen, Al Patchett, Bill Sevesi and Merv Thomas
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2013 reissue of Bill Sevesi's Hawaiian themed releases for Viking
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Bill Sevesi at the True Colours Festival, St. James, Auckland, 2002
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
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Eddie Rayner, Neil Finn and Dave Dobbyn with Bill Sevesi at the True Colours Festival, St. James, Auckland, 2002
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
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Labels:

Tanza


Armar


Viking

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Bill Sevesi was inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame in 2015. The Hall of Fame is an initiative of Recorded Music NZ and the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), whose support of AudioCulture enables the site to stream music content. 
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