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Music of Indonesia
Traditional indonesian instruments04.jpg
Kempul gongs from Java
Specific forms
Regional music
A dangdut performance

Dangdut is a genre of Indonesian popular music that is partly derived from Hindustani, Malay, and Arabic musics. Dangdut is a very popular genre in Indonesia because of its melodious instrumentation and vocals. Indonesians dance in the ghoomar style to dangdut music. Dangdut features a tabla and gendang beat.[1][2]

A dangdut band typically consists of a lead singer, male or female, backed by four to eight musicians. Instruments usually include a tabla, gendang, flute, mandolin, guitars, and synthesizers.[3] The term has been expanded from the desert-style music to embrace other musical styles.[1] Modern dangdut incorporates influences from Middle Eastern pop music, Western rock, house music, hip-hop music, contemporary R&B, and reggae.[1][4]

The popularity of Dangdut peaked in the 1990s. By 2012, it was mostly popular in the western parts of Indonesia and not in the eastern parts, apart from Maluku.[5]


The term 'dang-dut' is a Javanese-language onomatopoeia for the sound of the tabla (also known as gendang) drum, which is written dang and ndut. It was reportedly coined by music magazine Aktuil, although Rhoma Irama states that it was coined as a term of derision by the rich to the music of the poor. Despite its derogatory intent, it was seized upon by those playing it, and the term appears in Rhoma's 1973 dangdut classic Terajana:

Sulingnya suling bambu - The flute, a bamboo flute
Gendangnya kulit lembu - The drum, from cow skin
Dangdut suara gendang rasa ingin berdendang - Dangdut's drum sound makes you want to sing

'Dangdut' as a term distinguished the music of Javanese from the orkes Melayu of North Sumatran Malays.

Besides 'orkes Melayu', the primary musical influence on dangdut was Indian Bollywood music. The song "Terajana" pays homage to the 1959 Bollywood hit 'Tera Jana Ke', and though dangdut is primarily written in the Indonesian language, respect was paid to the Indian influence. The next verse of Terajana reads:

Terajana… Terajana - Terajana, Terajana
Ini lagunya… lagu India - This is the song, song of India

Orkes Melayu singer Ellya Khadam switched to dangdut in the 1970s, and by 1972 she was the number one artist in Indonesia. Her success, with that of Rhoma Irama, meant that by 1975 75% of all recorded music in Indonesia was of the dangdut genre, with pop bands such as Koes Plus adopting the style.


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.

Beginning in 2003, certain dangdut musicians became the focus of a national controversy in Indonesia regarding performances by singer Inul Daratista which religious conservatives described as pornography. Protests led by dangdut megastar and devout Muslim Rhoma Irama, called for Daratista to be banned from television, and legislation was passed in 2008 by the People's Consultative Assembly that introduced a broad range of activities described as pornography.[6]

The flamboyant performances at some dangdut shows also attracted collateral attention in May 2012 when a row broke out in Indonesia over a planned performance by international star Lady Gaga in Jakarta due to be held in early June 2012. In the face of opposition from conservative Moslem groups in Indonesia, the planned show was cancelled. This cancellation led numerous commentators to note that opposition to Lady Gaga's performances was surprising given the nature of some dangdut shows.[7]

Dangdut remains an integral part of Indonesian life and pop culture despite conservative Muslim concerns over the supposed vulgarity of some performances (such as by Julia Perez).[8]

Because the popularity of the genre, some movies and TV show have dangdut-centered themes, such as Rhoma Irama's movies and Rudy Soedjarwo's Mendadak Dangdut.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Campbell, Debe (18 April 1998), "The 'Billboard' report: Dangdut thrives in SE Asia—music rules Indonesia", Billboard 110: 1 
  2. ^ Nuvich, Alexandra (18 April 1998), "Dangdut thrives in SE Asia--Malaysia embraces genre", Billboard 110: 1 
  3. ^ No Money, No Honey: A study of street traders and prostitutes in Jakarta by Alison Murray. Oxford University Press, 1992. Glossary page xii
  4. ^ Gehr, Richard (10 December 1991), "Dawn of Dangdut", The Village Voice 36: 86 
  5. ^ "‘Dangdut’ loses appeal in Indonesia: Expert". April 25, 2012. 
  6. ^ Gelling, Peter (30 October 2008), "Indonesia passes broad anti-pornography bill", The Wall Street Journal 
  7. ^ M. Taufiqurrahman, ''Dangdut' the collateral damage in the Gaga saga', The Jakarta Post, 8 June 2012.
  8. ^ "Raunchy dangdut music stirs debate in Indonesia". BBC News. 27 March 2012. 


  • Andrew N. Weintraub, Dangdut Stories: A Social and Musical History of Indonesia's Most Popular Music, Oxford University Press, 2010; ISBN 978-0-19-539567-9

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dangdut — Please support Wikipedia.
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