Article by Veronika Kusuma (Indonesia)
Blog Correspondent of ASEAN-Korea Centre
Dangdut is a genre of Indonesian popular music that originated in the 1960s. The vibrant and constantly evolving musical form that draws on Arabic, Malay, Indian and rock influences exploded in the 1970s.
These influences exploded with acts such as Rhoma Irama and Elvy Sukaesih. Rhoma added Western rock to the music and political content, much of it to Islamic values to the lyrics earning him a unique sound; when most other dangdut still sounds like Indian film music.
Malay Orchestra (OM), which is still frequently used term for a group of dangdut music) the original use of musical instruments like acoustic guitar, accordion, tambourine, harp, and flute, even a gong. In the 1950s and 1960s, many developing orchestra in Jakarta Malay-orchestra plays songs from Sumatra Deli Malay (around Medan, Sumatra).
Musical style of this period still survive until the 1970s, although at that time major changes in the Malay music scene that was driven by a sonnet Group leader Rhoma Irama. Some of the names of the 1970s that can be called is Mansyur S., Ida Laila, A. Rafiq, and Muchsin Alatas. Malay popular music can be seen from the release of several Malay pop album by pop group Shania Twain in his prime.
Modern dangdut, which developed in the early 1970s in line with Indonesian political culture that is friendly to the West, include musical instruments such as the Western modern electric guitar, electric organ, percussion, trumpet, saxophone, oboe, etc. to increase the variation and as land-musicians musician creativity. Mandolin also entered as an important element.
Effect of rock (especially the guitar) is very thick felt in the music dangdut. The 1970s were the scene of ‘battle’ for dangdut music and rock music in the music market seize Indonesia, to have held concerts ‘duel’ between the sonnet Group and God Bless. Practically since the time of this Malay music has changed, including the pattern of musical business.
In the latter half of the 1970s also developed variations of “dangdut humor” that was driven by OM Petromaks Ray Emission (PSP). This orchestra, which departs from the style of music melayu deli, helping dangdut dissemination among the students. This subgenre forwarded, for example, by OM Introduction Drinking Poison (PMR) and, in the early 2000s, by Hope Youth Orchestra Nations (PHB).
Typical of the mainstream is Elvy Sukaesih, the other great star from the golden age, or Camelia Malik. More recent years have seen a dizzying series of stars, including Evie Tamala and “disco-dangdut” by Ade Irma, Sendak Oriel and others. Especially since the late 1990s dangdut has reached a broader following in Indonesia.
Dangdut, once the music of the poor, is upwardly mobile these days. Dangdut has been becoming respectable for a long time. It has a special power for Indonesians precisely because it is Indonesian, not Western.
Dangdut also has meaning as “Indonesian” in a different sense, as virtually the only cultural form not identified with any particular ethnic group. It bridges all these regional identities. It is, however, perceived as strongly Muslim, even though its lyrics deal more with romance than religion, and as such is disliked in predominantly Christian or Hindu areas.
There is dangdut sung in local languages, and that is powerfully local, because very few Indonesians can speak a regional language other than their own. Most major cities, especially on Java, have one or more venues that have a dangdut show several times a week.
The concerts of major dangdut stars are also broadcast on television. Sometimes the singers became the subject of much controversy and criticism from conservatives over their suggestive, erotic style of dancing during televised shows.
Soon, Indonesians will get a taste of new take on the roots of dangdut music and its rhythm will still shake and flow.
While the world has Michael Jackson as the King of Pop, Indonesians have Rhoma Irama as the King of Dangdut. (courtesy of www.antaranews.com)
One of the scenes from the movie “Mendadak Dangdut” where it tells the story of dangdut street musicians struggle in their life. (courtesy of indonesianfilmcenter.com)
Local dangdut band performance on Jaksa Street Festival 2009 at Jalan Jaksa, Jakarta.