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Performers

Performed by Bale Bom Dangdut Group

Recorded at Aru Studio in Bandung
Java, Indonesia by Electrophoria
(Kai Riedl / Producer and Suny Lyons / Engineer)

Across the nation of Indonesia, the popular music known as dangdut can be heard echoing from dance clubs where singers pass the microphone, the band plays the hits, and the crowd dances along to the signature drum sound,”dang-dut,” an undeniably pop heartbeat prompting people to their feet in dance in clubs across the country. This music has brought more people together than any other, with themes of love, joy, and longing. “HELLO! Everybody Dangdut!”

The degree to which Indonesians are masters of synthesis is demonstrated perfectly by the vivacious Dangdut music. In the 50’s and 60’s, Indian film music was influencing the pop music of Indonesia and its neighbor, Malaysia. Meanwhile, Western pop flooded airwaves all over the world. These two styles made their way into the hearts and minds of Indonesia’s musicians, who were looking for a new form to express political views, love, heartache and playfulness. This new form exploded and became known as Dangdut, titled after the sound of the music’s signature drum (dang-dut, dang-dut).

Today, what’s known as dangdut can be found blaring out of nightclubs high and low. Dangdut’s sleekly dressed female singers take turns being backed by the band and gathering tips. The form echoes a long tradition of female singers being softly courted by men. The atmosphere is sensual, fun, and built to bring people together from all walks of life.

Not unlike the vast majority of local dangdut bands, the one featured here plays songs that are already hits throughout Java. The aim of this album is not to represent the professional side of dangdut. There are already many recordings of the great pros. This recording is an example of how Dangdut exists, night by night, in hundreds of clubs, across Indonesia, that are more interested in keeping the dance floor kinetic
than demonstrating a crystallized version of the art form. This group was found in the locally infamous Club Bale Bom in the dance district of Bandung. Every group has a particular style, and there are some wonderfully inventive ones all over Java. This group combines electric guitar, synthesizer, bamboo flute, and the genre’s signature drum, the gendang.