Music and <i>Rakyat:</i> Constructing “the People” in Dangdut

Andrew N. Weintraub

in Dangdut Stories

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780195395662
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199863549 | DOI:
Music and Rakyat: Constructing “the People” in Dangdut

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In the early 1970s, the Indian-based music played in orkes Melayu described in chapters two and three crystallized into “dangdut.” The notion of dangdut as the music of “the people”–the majority of society–emerged during this era, and it has been a persistent theme ever since. This chapter argues that notions of “the people” were constructed within social discourse, popular print media, and the music itself. The articulation of dangdut and “the people” operates on three intertextual levels: dangdut is the people; (2) dangdut for the people; and (3) dangdut as the people. Musician, composer, record producer, film star, and Islamic proselytiser Rhoma Irama, a dominant force in the early history of dangdut, is central to this chapter. An analysis of his compositions shows the influence of rock ‘n’ roll, Indian film song, pop Indonesia, and hard rock.

Keywords: Rhoma Irama; the people; social class; Islam; rock n roll; Indian film song; pop Indonesia; hard rock

Chapter.  11413 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ethnomusicology

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