Eddie Enos was described as a “genius artist” who not only inspired dozens of Marshallese musicians but resonated with everyone from babies to old folks.
“Eddie was a big inspiration to me,” said Yasta “Yastamon” Bolkeim, Power 103.5FM’s anchor disk jockey and well known singer. “It’s why I wanted to be a musician. Everyone on Ebeye wanted to be like him in the 1990s.”
Both Yasta and Six9Too Productions chief Daniel Kramer recalled Eddie as a humble and down-to-earth person who took the time to talk to his fans and encourage budding musicians.
“I remember the first time we heard Eddie on WSZO radio, we celebrated,” Yasta said. “Hey, you’re on the radio. It was a big thing.”
But Eddie’s impact went way beyond encouraging and inspiring other musicians.
“You cruise with the politic people, they’re listening to Eddie,” said Yasta. “You cruise with Christians, they’re listening to him. You go to a wedding, there he is again. You’re in a church for Christmas and Eddie’s songs are being used for biit. Go to a teen picnic, they’re listening to Eddie. He’s in everything.
“He was everywhere in everyone’s lives. Marshallese know him, from babies to oldest Marshallese.”
Daniel explained that Eddie wrote many original songs and these stood out. “They talked about daily life, the difficulties of life,” he said. “He articulated this in his music and it registered with people.” Daniel said he wrote songs for young children as well as adults.
Daniel added: Despite his relative youth, Eddie was among an older generation of composers who was a link to younger, contemporary musicians. “He had a gift with words,” Daniel said. “Listening to him was like a course in Marshallese literacy.”
Born in 1974, Eddie came to fame in his late teens in the early 1990s and especially after he issued his first album on a cassette tape.
Yasta said videos of Marshallese of all ages talking about Eddie are pouring out on social media. “Kids that never met Eddie, they love his songs. They’re crying as they talk about him, how he touched their lives, made them proud to be Marshallese — especially in difficult times,” said Yasta.
Yasta summed up his feelings toward Eddie: “We call ourselves artists. But when Eddie shows up, we stop playing and step aside for him to take over.”
Despite this adulation, Eddie remained a humble and low-key person. “He never promoted his music,” said Yasta. “His music promoted itself.”
Power 103.5FM launched a tribute to Eddie Tuesday morning, lining up his songs to play. Eddie’s music could be heard on V7AB as well Tuesday.
Eddie was last seen performing with a Covid-19 working party at Mon LaMike club on Ebeye Monday evening, where, according to Majuro NTA technicians with the Covid-19 entourage, Eddie complained of chest pains.
Eddie is survived by his wife Lorna Loeak and six children: Hemilson, Linus, Andie, Kalani, Randy and Emiko.