Last March, my friend Tony Phillips and I went to Palau to perform some of the old songs in the 1960s String Band style as “Ngirchoureng“, meet and play with some of the musicians and composers, and talk to folks about how much we love this music. Since we returned to California, we have been busy recording the Palauan songs that we had worked up for our trip. Just like our performances at the Night Market and Museum back in March, but this time, you can adjust the volume to your liking. Hopefully I fixed the pronunciation problems that you all so kindly overlooked. We’ve produced a CD of 20 songs, and we’re pretty happy with the way it turned out. Thanks again for the wonderful hospitality of our friends in Palau, old and new.
I selected the title “Mengemedaol er a Irechar” because I like the sense that the word “mengemedaol” can mean either “to welcome” or “to celebrate.” The way I think of this word, is through its relation to the word “klechedaol,” the activity where one village invites another to come and spend some time together, dancing, singing and just renewing their friendship. Mengemedaol is like the welcome that one family makes to another, as they come together to share some joy. And it is also the prelude — the first step — to a celebration of shared experiences. And I think that is what we should do with respect to the past: welcome it into our lives and celebrate the beauty that was brought to us by our elders and ancestors. I don’t know about you, but I think it is pretty cool that in 2018 I am singing a song — Tobiera — that two remechas named Dilmers and Degaragas sang in 1936 and was composed by some unidentified person in 1931, 87 years ago. How different their lives were to ours today, but we can cross the bridge to the past (adidil er a irechar) and join them for a song.
Any way, we hope you enjoy these recordings and that we get another opportunity to sing some songs together.
We’re offering only digital downloads of the album through Band Camp. You can listen to the songs by clicking on the titles in the player below or buy them for download (Kebruka is free) at Bandcamp. At the bandcamp site we’ve included the lyrics and translations, along with some background on each song. I hope you enjoy listening as much as we do playing this music.