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DescriptionA keen critic of culture in modern Indonesia, Andrew N. Weintraub shows how a genre of Indonesian music called dangdut evolved from a denigrated form of urban popular music to a prominent role in Indonesian cultural politics and the commercial music industry. Dangdut--named onomatopoetically for the music's characteristic drum sounds "dang" and "dut"--is Indonesia's most popular music, heard in streets and homes, public parks and narrow alleyways, stores and restaurants, and all forms of public transportation. Despite dangdut's tremendous popularity in Indonesia and other parts of Asia, it has seldom received the serious critical attention it deserves.
Dangdut Stories is a social and musical history of dangdut within a range of broader narratives about class, gender, ethnicity, and nation in post-independence Indonesia (1945-present). Quoted material from interviews, detailed analysis of music and song texts, and ethnography of performance illuminate the stylistic nature of the music and its centrality in public debates about Islam, social class relations, and the role of women in postcolonial Indonesia.
Dangdut Stories is the first musicological study to examine the stylistic development of dangdut music itself, using vocal style, melody, rhythm, form, and song texts to articulate symbolic struggles over meaning. Throughout the book the voices and experiences of musicians take center stage in shaping the book's narrative. Dangdut was first developed during the early 1970s, and an historical treatment of the genre's musical style, performance practice, and social meanings is long overdue.
- Is the first English-language book on a genre significant to the study of global popular music and culture
- Includes interviews with national dangdut stars including Rhoma Irama, Elvy Sukaesih, A. Rafiq., and many others
- Focuses on the relationship between music and (1) commercial media institutions; (2) government institutions; and (3) critical institutions
- Features a companion website with fantastic dangdut recordings
- Discusses on-going debates about women's voices and dancing bodies in Indonesia, a majority Muslim country, particularly leading up to the Pornography Bill ratified in Oct. 2008
"Anyone intrigued by the creative contradictions of pop culture in Asia should pick up this meticulous and thoughtful book." --Wall Street Journal
"At last, a book on dangdut, and an excellent one...It is only with this meticulously researched and engagingly written book-length study by Andrew Weintraub that we have the important combination of perspectives--historical, musicological, sociological, gender, and media/cultural studies--that this rich and multifaceted form of expression deserves...What he has accomplished is nothing short of a tour de force, giving us a very readable history of this genre, and untangling much about its diverse origins and the multiplicity of paths it has taken into the first decade of the twenty-first century." --Indonesia
"In Dangdut Stories, Weintraub has written a masterful, engaging, and exemplary portrait not only of a colorful music genre--with an audience of tens of millions--but also of a dynamic society in transition." --Peter Manuel, Professor, Music Department, the Graduate Center of the City University of New York
"From an Indonesian perspective, Weintraub's contribution to the debate about the construction of national identity in Indonesia is quite original. By focusing on dangdut popular music, he recognizes the importance of the cultural industry's role less in shaping a definite musical identity than in underlining its continual slippage as a meaning. The book, rich with field notes, suggests that a discourse on cultural identity is necessarily a discourse on cultural fluidity." --Goenawan Mohamad, founder and editor, Tempo
"Andrew Weintraub's Dangdut Stories is at once the definitive work on this important genre and a methodological tour de force. Dangdut Stories promises to be an enduring work of ethnomusicology. It also has much to offer scholars interested in popular music, the Islamic public sphere, media and transnationalism, and culture and power." --Jonathan Sterne, McGill University, author of The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction and MP3: The Meaning of a Format
"Dangdut Stories contains a wealth of new and original musicological source material, in the form of interviews with dangdut stars, information from obscure journalistic resources and thoughtful analysis of dangdut standards, combined with a keen reappraisal of the existing literature." --International Institute for Asian Studies Newsletter
About the Author(s)
Andrew N. Weintraub is Associate Professor of Music at the University of Pittsburgh, where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in ethnomusicology and popular music, and directs the University of Pittsburgh gamelan program. He is the author of Power Plays: Wayang Golek Puppet Theater of West Java (Ohio University Press, 2004) and the coeditor of Music and Cultural Rights (University of Illinois Press, 2009). Weintraub is the founder and lead singer of the Dangdut Cowboys, a Pittsburgh-based dangdut group whose Youtube videos have been viewed more than 100,000 times since December 2007.
The following resources are available from the "Dangdut Stories: A Social and Musical History of Indonesia's Most Popular Music " companion site: