‘Dangdut’ hopes for UNESCO heritage list
The Jakarta Post, Surabaya | Mon, 03/05/2012 11:31 PMThe Indonesian government has agreed to throw its full support behind dangdut music being enlisted as one form of Indonesia’s musical heritage by UNESCO.
“We fully agree with the aspiration that dangdut should be recognized as part of Indonesia’s heritage. Therefore, we need to go all out to fulfill the necessary requirements in the [application] process,” Coordinating People’s Welfare Minister Agung Laksono said on Saturday as quoted by Antara.
He was speaking before the national meeting of the Indonesia Dangdut-Melayu Artists Association (PAMMI) in Surabaya, East Java. He said he was optimistic that the global organization would accept the proposal since dangdut music was heard only in this country.
He suggested all stakeholders should consult with relevant parties, including the Education and Culture Ministry, the Youth and Sports Ministry and the Office of the Coordinating People’s Welfare Minister, regarding the plan.
“To strengthen its continued existence, the world must acknowledge this music,” he said.
First popularized by one of the country’s most influential musical figures, Rhoma Irama in the 1970s, dangdut went on to become one of the most popular schools of music in the country. Essentially, dangdut is a fusion of traditional Indian music and pop music.
Meanwhile, the outgoing PAMMI chairman Rhoma Irama said he would not seek reelection for another term.
Spokesperson for the PAMMI congress, Siti Nasyiah, said that long before the start of the meeting, Rhoma had openly stated his intention not to run for another term.
“Bang Haji has hinted that he would hand over the leadership of PAMMI to a much younger and more creative figure,” Siti said, referring to Rhoma’s nickname among his fans.
A number of popular dangdut singers have expressed their interest in joining the race for the PAMMI leadership including popular crossover dangdut singers Ikke Nurjanah, Ayu Soraya and Chyntia Sari.
Ikke, however, was noncommittal when asked whether she would be ready to lead PAMMI.
“The more the merrier. For my part, I want to bring more color to the dangdut scene in Indonesia,” she was quoted as saying by newsportal okezone.com.
She said there were up to eight candidates who would contest the votes from PAMMI’s 28 regional branches