Ymesei Ezekiel, Palau’s revered composer and musician, became the first Palauan chosen to the Hall of Fame in accordance with the Hall of Fame Act of 2014.
The unveiling of the first Palau Hall of Fame recipient took place at the 25th Independence President’s Reception at Palau Pacific Resort, with President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. awarding the first Hall of Fame plaque to the Emy Ymesei, daughter of the late Ymesei Ezekiel.
Mr. Ymesei Ezekiel, was a musical prodigy, based on his musical legacy. He was a naturally talented composer who first composed music in 1931 at age 15. Most of his earlier songs were in Japanese which he composed from 1931 to 1937.
His talent was recognized early on which led him to Koror in 1950 to teach music to all elementary schools.
In 1971 he was accepted at East West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii as a student in musicology. His talent was such that professors converted him from student to student/teacher status and was tasked to teach music to students from the Pacific Islands under the Trust Territory.
Upon his return to Palau, he spent many years travelling all over teaching music in all the schools and amazing folks with his ability to play all types of musical instruments and compose songs.
Some of his well-known songs include Nanyo Sakura 1955, Adidil eng kmal meringel and Wakareno Hayasani 1956. He also wrote songs for children that depict Palau’s environment and everyday life such as Beab ma Rekung, A Temekai a king, A di lomong a bngal a kerrekar, Alibasosoi and many more.
He composed school songs, songs for various States as well as many church songs but his most well-known composition is Palau’s national anthem.
Palau’s Hall of Fame Act, RPPL 9-31, states that Palau “is the home of many outstanding talents and personalities. In various fields such as sports, arts, literature and music”…and that it “recognizes the need to honor contributions in the aforementioned fields and finds that cultural achievements contribute significantly in shaping the way the Republic of Palau is perceived within itself as well as abroad.”
The law mandates that a Hall of Fame be established at Palau’s National Museum where outstanding individuals can be recognized for their contribution to Palau.
The Hall of Fame Act was signed into law by President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. on the 23th of July 2014. (L.N. Reklai)