What is dangdut? Dangdut is blue-ish, syncopated, sensuous Indonesian pop music. But I can’t really vouch for its popularity at any given time or place. Like disco and bachata it has a checkered past and you must read the label and keep out of reach of children. The roots are hard to trace. Indonesians will tell you that dangdut comes from India and/or Saudi Arabia. But there’s not a lot of Chinese or Christian dangdut out there. So for Indonesian purposes, it’s got a vaguely Islamic flavor.
So who is Ridho Irama? He’s the prince of dangdut, since his dad — Rhoma Irama — was “the king of dangdut.” One of Ridho’s moms used to live next door to my gf’s ex-bf. They’re Sundanese aristocrats, I guess. Sunda was a Javanese kingdom.
The king thing maybe went to his head. He got pretty close to movie stardom by playing himself and singing all his songs in all his films. And then in 2003 he attacked singer Inul Daratista for corrupting the vibe of these here holy ‘lands with her gyrating “drill” dance. The Indonesian parliament has, in fact, worked very hard to outlaw such dirty dancing in Indonesia.