Steel Trappings

Spotlight ON! Feature

Spotlight ON! Noriko and Shuji Tomita

September 15, 2021 • Addison ChingEntertainment

This month we shine the Spotlight ON! Noriko and Shuji Tomita.

Noriko Tomita is a steel guitarist and a student of Ke Kula Mele Hawai‘i School of Hawaiian Music. She has appeared at numerous steel guitar festival open stages on Maui and in Waikīkī, and most recently on the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Open Stage Showcase. Her husband Shuji complements Noriko's steel guitar playing with his soothing vocals.

Noriko listened to Hawaiian music of Makoto Shiraishi and Na Lei O Hawaiians and developed her familiarity with many Hawaiian songs and Hawaiian bands. She started to learn to play the ‘ukulele at the Society fourteen years ago. While at the Society she gradually became interested in playing the steel guitar.

Noriko and Shuji met Kumu Alan Akaka in Waikīkī in 2013. She was fascinated with Hawaiian steel guitar sounds and began her steel guitar training with Kumu Alan Akaka via Skype. Since then Noriko and Shuji have visited Hawaii every year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently Noriko always enjoys playing steel guitar with Shuji on vocal together. Her favorite steel guitar players are Alan Akaka, Greg Sardinha, Bobby Ingano, and Makoto Shiraishi who plays various music genres from Latin to screen music of old movies, etc.

After learning of Shuji's interests, Alan Akaka invited him to accompany Noriko singing "Blue Lei" at the 2017 Maui Steel Guitar Festival. They have appeared together ever since.

Prior to the pandemic, the duo appeared at various Maui and Waikiki steel guitar festivals throughout the years, and also performed at the HSGA (Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association) Japan convention every year. They also played at the CoCo studio in Akasaka, Japan, Shibuya Buckie in Shibuya, and the Aloha Station in Roppongi. They hope to resume performing after COVID-19.

Shuji says, "We are grateful to Kumu Alan Akaka for providing nice Hawaiian music lessons with MP3 and music sheets."

This video is of a performance by Noriko and Shuji Tomita doing "Ho‘omalilmali" on the Open Stage of the 2019 Waikīkī Steel Guitar Week.

The video can also be seen on YouTube.

This feature is a snapshot of the complete tribute that is posted on the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase website. See the complete tribute here.

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Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase

Livestream Steel Guitar Saturday - LIVE from Kaua‘i
October 30, 2021 – LIVE STREAMED on Facebook and YouTube 2PM - 4PM HST

Facebook LiveYouTube
Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Waikīkī Steel Guitar Festival
incorporating the
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November 6, 2021 (tentative) – Royal Grove Stage, Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikīkī
Saturday Performances 11AM - 2PM and 4:30PM - 6:30PM HST

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Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase

Livestream Steel Guitar Saturday - LIVE from Maui
November 20, 2021 – LIVE STREAMED on Facebook and YouTube 3PM - 5PM HST

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Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase

Livestream Steel Guitar Saturday
December 18, 2021 – LIVE STREAMED on Facebook and YouTube 3PM - 5PM HST (tentative)

COVID-19 Advisory: HIMELE™ plans to resume in-person live steel guitar festivals in 2022, contingent on pandemic directives and venue approvals. Livestream Showcases will continue through 2021.

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HIMELE is a Hawai‘i non-profit corporation that supports music enrichment and education for people of all ages. Our purpose is to educate, promote, and perpetuate Hawaiian music, Hawaiian culture and Hawaiian musical instruments.