Seijin Noborikawa RIP
The news came through today of the death of one of Okinawa’s best loved and most well-known singers, Seijin Noborikawa. He passed away yesterday (19th March) after being hospitalized in Okinawa with liver failure. He was 80. Nicknamed “Seigwa” he was widely regarded as the greatest living singer of traditional Okinawan songs, following the death of his mentor Rinsho Kadekaru. Seigwa was active musically right up until the end of last year when his final recording was the album Duet which he made with Misako Oshiro.
In earlier times he was also known as the Jimi Hendrix of the sanshin for his fast playing style. A compilation album of his best recordings from 1975 to 2004 was released to commemorate his 75th birthday but he then went on to release two further studio albums – Suiko Jizai (2008) and Fountain of Songs (2010) – as well as a live double album and the duet with Oshiro last year. His popularity increased after his starring role as an actor in the Okinawan-set movie Nabbie no Koi and in a subsequent film Hotel Hibiscus. Seigwa will be remembered too for his playful onstage personality and for his willingness to support younger musicians.