Tip News

April 20, 2019

Music for the masses winning Indonesian voter's hearts

Music for the masses winning Indonesian voter's hearts
'Candidates know it is entertainment that draws the crowds to campaign rallies in music-mad Indonesia' - By: AFP ADEK BERRY

From Indonesia's hip-swivelling juggernaut dangdut to thumping rock bands and Islam-infused tunes, music could be the clincher for winning hearts -- and votes -- as the world's third-biggest democracy heads to the polls next week.

Political platforms aside, candidates know it is entertainment that draws the crowds to campaign rallies in music-mad Indonesia.

Just ask millennial voter Muhammad Ariel, who went to a concert where popular rock band Radja performed in support of president Joko Widodo, better known as Jokowi.

Screaming "where are Jokowi's fans", Radja's energetic show and thumbs-up for Indonesia's heavy-metal music loving leader resonates with young voters like Ariel, who make up almost one third of the electorate.

Jokowi's camp has said that winning over millennial and first time voters was crucial.

"I'm a Radja fan because their songs are great, but it's also because we're going to vote for the same candidate," Ariel said from the rally near the capital Jakarta.

More than 190 million people are set to cast a ballot for thousands of candidates, from the president down to local legislators, in the Southeast Asian nation's biggest-ever election on April 17.

Music is essential in this nation of 260 million, where song-and-dance is a staple of television shows, sporting events, presidential debates and even the central bank's recent economic review.

And it's a must-do at election time.

"Music is meant to capture the interest of people on the lower rungs of society," said Hamdi Muluk, a University of Indonesia psychology professor who has a speciality in politics and voter behaviour.

- 'Part of the lifestyle' -

Jokowi's rival Prabowo Subianto is banking on capturing the attention of conservative voters in the world's biggest Muslim majority nation with concerts featuring Islam-inspired gambus music.

The retired general's musical arsenal also includes Rhoma Irama, a geriatric-looking version of Elvis Presley who is famed as the King of Dangdut.

The hugely popular style -- which runs the gamut from religion-inspired lyrics to a raunchier version involving sensual dance moves similar to twerking -- takes its cue from Hindustani and Arabic music.

Dangdut is infused with a hypnotic percussion beat backed by a multi-instrument band.

Every Indonesian knows it, there are television channels dedicated to it, and dangdut is performed everywhere from the smallest villages to bustling Jakarta -- and the beat ramps up during election time.

The promise of a legendary crooner like Irama, clad in a white jumpsuit, is what got housewife Alima Kholil out to a huge rally for Subianto in vote-rich West Java, despite pouring rain.

"I've never seen him before and I know that when he sings, he'll be singing about religion," the 44-year-old said of Irama's Islam-inspired tunes.

For fan Jhon Kenedi, the King of Dangdut might have taken the country's top job if he had a decided to throw his hat in the ring against Jokowi and Subianto.

"I'd choose him if he ran" for president, the 46-year-old taxi driver told AFP.

- 'Drill Dance' -

Irama's dangdut style isn't the only one offer, though.

Another version involving erotic dance and female performers in skimpy clothing is hugely popular, despite opposition from some conservative Muslims.

Dangdut star Inul Daratista made a career out of her signature "drill dance" in which moved her hips in a rapid circular motion like a drill -- sparking a string of copycats.

The throbbing style grabbed international headlines a few years ago when a female Dangdut singer died after being bitten by a cobra used in her boundary-busting act.

At a Jokowi rally in Soreang on Java island this week, throngs of mostly male fans did not appear to be thinking much about politics as they cheered on a voluptuous dangdut singer in skin-tight white pants.

And even Indonesian rock legends Slank, who are supporting the president's re-election bid, incorporated some dangdut elements into a video made for Jokowi's campaign.

"Music is just part of the lifestyle" here, said Bens Leo, an Indonesian music journalist.

"And you can bet that a big majority of a band's loyal fans will vote for the candidate that their favourite stars pick."

Short link: https://tipnews.com/u/OTA0NTc=

See also:

Related articles

Polanski sues US motion picture academy for reinstatement

Polanski sues US motion picture academy for reinstatement

Oscar-winning film director Roman Polanski is suing the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, demanding his reinstatement nearly a year after the organization expelled him amid the #MeToo movement.Polanski, who in 1977 pleaded guilty in California to st

Latin pop has US grooving more and more in Spanish

Latin pop has US grooving more and more in Spanish

Just two years after the lilting mega-hit "Despacito" captivated the globe, Latin stars are cementing their place in the US mainstream, moving beyond scoring a one-off smash to headline festivals and permeate the charts.An unprecedented number of Spanish-lan

K-pop phenomenon BTS first Korean act to top UK chart

K-pop phenomenon BTS first Korean act to top UK chart

K-pop sensation BTS scored another record on Friday, becoming the first Korean act to top Britain's album chart.The floppy-haired seven-piece's latest album "Map of the soul: Persona" went straight in at number one, days after their single "Boy With Luv"

Notre-Dame paintings removed amid lead pollution fears

Notre-Dame paintings removed amid lead pollution fears

French art experts headed into the stricken Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris to remove all the remaining paintings on Friday despite warnings from an environmental group that the site could be a toxic health threat.Officials from the culture ministry were allowed

HELLO, PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO RATE THIS POST Music for the masses winning Indonesian voter's hearts

Sending comment Close