A video of a dangdut performance (commonly referred to as dangdutan) at a cemetery in Pancoran Mas sub-district in Depok has recently gone viral. The dangdutan, performed by a group of gerobak dangdut (traveling dangdut carts), has evidently overwhelmed the local grave keeper who not only have to deal with the noise, but also the aftermath of the oddly placed shindig.
Sixty-year-old grave keeper Fuad says the group has held a regular schedule of performances, either weekly or every other week, with the music blaring all night long until midnight.
“The dangdutan [usually] starts after Isya (evening prayer), around 8pm but sometimes they start as early as maghrib (sunset prayer, usually around 6pm),” Fuad told Detik yesterday.
With mobility being its great catch, the traveling dangdut cart carries an audio system consisting of several speakers, amplifiers, a microphone, and sometimes an electric guitar. According to Fuad, this group in particular also has a female singer.
During the particular performance in the viral video, which was captured on Sunday, Fuad said around 20 people attended the bash, simply for fun. Dangdutan usually accompanies other events, such as a wedding. The gravekeeper said that the boisterous party was held by the cemetery area and not inside, adding that the crowd consisted of local residents from the area as well as from other neighborhoods.
Empty plastic bottles were found scattered around the “venue” afterwards, and while unproven, Fuad suspected some of them drank alcohol during the party.
“Well maybe they thought it was entertainment. But for many of us, [enjoy] entertainment at the right place, at a good place [and] not at the cemetery, although [the loudspeaker] was placed on the street, the people were inside the cemetery,” Fuad said.
He claimed that the residents around the cemetery, including the neighborhood chiefs (RT and RW) and even himself, have scolded the group and the attendees to no avail, and they are running out of ideas to turn the dangdut crowd away.
Fuad hopes that Depok authorities would step up and shoo away the dangdut crowd, as he felt that it might be more effective. This morning, the city’s Public Order Police (Satpol PP) came to the cemetery to clean up the area.
A similar occurrence happened in 2018, when a viral video showed a couple in an unknown location in Indonesia holding a wedding reception in a cemetery. However, the guests still had enough respect for the dead (or maybe fear of vengeance from beyond the grave) not to dance on the graves despite the super catchy dangdut music being played on stage.
Dangdut is an onomatopoeia word that describes the distinctive sound of the tabla drum, which is an essential component of any dangdut beat. Created in the 1960s, during the reign of the country’s founding father Sukarno (when western pop music like that of The Beatles was largely banned from the country), dangdut is a uniquely Indonesian music genre but draws extensively from Arabic, Malay and Indian (especially Bollywood) influences.