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Fiji Time: 8:02 PM on Friday 29 August

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Relatives, band mates farewell guitarist

Repeka Nasiko
Sunday, October 14, 2012

ONE of Fiji's greatest lead guitarists was farewelled by family, friends and well-wishers in Lautoka yesterday.

Bill Natewa's funeral at Vomo St in Lautoka was a solemn occasion where only close relatives and former band mates came together to celebrate the life of the guitar legend.

Bill's musical career spanned over 40 years where he travelled to different parts of Fiji and the world playing at venues like Beachcomber Resort, Mana Island and the Sydney Opera House.

Bill whose real name is Viliame Mainanukuloa from Natewa, Cakaudrove, jammed with the likes of Tom Mawi, Ratu Timoci Uluivuda and Jerry Natoko who was also his rhythm guitarist.

Jerry and Bill were part of the band, Zulu Fruity Breads named after the breadfruits of Vuda in Lautoka.

During his early years, he also spent time playing for Henry and Theresa Purcell.

Apart from his talents on the guitar, Bill also had a hand writing some of the country's ageless classics. He is responsible for the songs — Sobo Kara, Laki Tukuna Na Noqui Loloma and Sereima.

One of his former band mates and student, Watisoni Koroi said his mentor never ceased to amaze him with his ability to hear the first note of a song and be able to play out each note on his guitar.

"Growing up, he did not learn music or study it, all he did was listen to the music and he took it from there," Mr Koroi said at the funeral.


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