MARSHALL ISLANDS BAND TO TOUR THE U.S.

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MPOLEN to appear in Springdale in May

By Aenet Rowa

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Yokwe, March 29, 2009) – The Marshall Islands' band, MPOLEN, will make its first U.S. appearance in Springdale, Arkansas, over the Memorial Day weekend.

The well-known Marshallese team, with 12 albums to its credit, will perform on Friday, May 22, at the local Metroplex. Another area concert and other events are being scheduled.

Promoting "Al in Majol" (Marshallese music) is the primary purpose of the tour, said Salome Andrike, the band's manager and long-time member.

The band, with its unique musical signature of traditional and modern mix, expects to find old fans and make new ones among the estimated 6,000 Marshall Islanders who reside in Northwest Arkansas. The region is home to the largest population of Marshallese outside of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI). Keeping in touch with their culture is extremely important to Marshallese living thousands of miles from their Pacific homeland.

[PIR editor’s note: Yokwe online has provided a song from MPOLEN to listen to or download. Hear it here.]

The original band was founded in 1991 by Andrike, Betwel Lekka, Linda Lamin, Paul Mejpon and Tony Wase. The group is based on Majuro, the capital atoll. Through the years, new members came on board including Walthy Robert, Helen Domnick and Rolida Domnick. Marton Baso and Danty Heran joined in 1998.

Today, MPOLEN features Andrike, Baso, Heran, with newcomers Kony Lessep, Yubok Lokiar, Thomas Tellowbwij, and Keleam Leban.

The band's concert in one of the activities kicking off the Marshallese community's annual commemoration of their nation's Constitution Day. This year's event, commemorating the 30th Anniversary, will be held May 23-25.

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