Daphne Walker Profile

Chris Bourke
14 May 2013

South Sea Rhythm was a magical title for New Zealand’s first pop album, and its star vocalist was Daphne Walker, a woman whose voice just oozed romance.

The 1956 album – just a 10-inch disc – was actually a compilation of songs released as 78rpm discs for Tanza by Bill Wolfgramm and His Islanders. But Walker received co-billing for this South Pacific fantasy. Her singing, wrote Nick Bollinger in 2009, “evokes both the easy warmth of the islands and the glamour of a Hollywood diva.”

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The 1956 South Seas Rhythm album from Bill Wolfgramm and His Islanders with Daphne Walker was the first long-player released by a New Zealand artist. Side one was instrumental, featuring just Bill Wolfgramm's band, whilst the second side was vocal.
Photo credit: Chris Bourke collection
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The original sheet music for Haere Mai, written by Sam Freedman. In an era where sheet music sales were as important as record sales this was the equivalent of a smash hit, selling a huge number of copies in the 1950s.
Photo credit: Chris Bourke collection
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Daphne Walker
Photo credit: Chris Bourke collection
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Manaonao Vau Ia Oe - from Daphne Walker Sings in Hawaiian
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1959 Viking Records EP with George Tumahai and Bill Sevesi And The Islanders
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1960 Viking Records EP with George Tumahai and Bill Sevesi And The Islanders
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Gray and Daphne Walker, 2014.
Photo credit: Gray Bartlett collection
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