Dangdut! Susi


All I know about this singer is her name.  She has quite a unique and pleasant sound, sometimes like a mosquito, sometimes makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up, always with that trembling vibrato.  It gives a sense of nervousness or vulnerability.  But you can see by her actions on the stage that she is quite comfortable performing in front of an audience. 

The group of girls smoking and chatting on the stage behind her are also singers, waiting for their turn. 

The song is a popular one, but I don’t know the lyrics.  Mabuk janda = drunk widow.  Janda can also mean widower, and it can also mean a divorced woman.  Can anyone tell me the meaning of the song?

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8 Responses to “Dangdut! Susi”

  1. jakartanna Says:

    the song is telling a story of a lonely wife who is in deep sorrow knowing the husband is in addiction to drinking and gambling, plus it shattered her heart even more in fact she found her husband fell into a love affair with another woman, a ‘janda kembang’ (literally translated as ‘flower widow’ = pretty/flirty widow).

    so ‘mabuk janda’ would be more precise if translated as love drunk over a widow.

    Love tragedy. The most common theme for dangdut songs.

  2. aboutindo Says:

    Or maybe you could say she is a widow caused by drink? From what you said, it seems to me she is better off with him gone.

  3. roche Says:

    I don’t like that karaoke version

    BTW I see there is a tv show named DagdutMania there they play betters versions of these music.

    Those Karaokes are very cheese as karaokes normally are 😛

    • aboutindo Says:

      Thanks for your comments.
      As I understand it, karaoke involves singing to pre-recorded music. You haven’t experienced true pain until you’ve heard the third drunk bapak (middle aged guy) in a row sing his version of ‘My Way’ in a karaoke hall 🙂 This performance seems to be at a dangdut nightclub, people have paid to see Susi and other singers perform with live music.
      Yes, you will hear better versions on tv, but those are usually pre-recorded. You can call me a snob if you like, but I prefer the live versions as they seem more ‘authentic’ to me.
      Sure they’re cheesy, but Indonesians love cheese :))

      • roche Says:

        I agree with you about the authentic. About dangdut I like two things. The use of the instruments, the flute and drums and the lyrics. I tried to translate the lyrics and they are very simple but with some emotional content in every contry people like that music for enjoy I remember memphis manis, karmila and kethuam.

        I got surprised with the following video. A lot of children and the girl is very sugestive as normally do with adults.

        Well I have to admit is better my son dance with such a beauty girl insted of a Pink Barney but well is a bit hard to understand well no so hard we have reaguetton so maybe is my double moral showing up 🙂

      • aboutindo Says:

        Too right, dangdut has that raw appeal to the emotions without any pretense at sophistication. You might have to search to find a dangdut hall as I don’t know of any in central Jakarta. Few people will believe that a man of your high standing will actually want to listen to it.
        I’ve seen a couple of videos similar to the one you’ve linked to. I’ve hesitated to feature them because it feels wrong, although I’ve seen many cases where Western children have also been sexualised for YouTube. I guess the concert organisers would say there’s nothing wrong coz the kid is male and any guy would be happy in that situation. BTW, what do you think is the story with the guys giving her money? I don’t know what she’s singing, but maybe it’s a song about prostitution?
        Anyhow, regardless of what’s customary in Indonesia, it’s best to limit your activities to what would be legal to do in your own country.

  4. roche Says:

    That is the weird think the song is about a Man who find out his girlfriend cheating up with a close friend and I don’t see any relation between the song and how they act.

    Here is a rock version with translation

    I find out some explanation about the situation of the video and I have some theories:

    1. The singer girl are normally middle class woman will to dance sexy in order to get extra money for home or studies

    2. Sexuality relief from Woman side. Something that empowers her. (not so sure)

    3. I think the man give money in order to show up how wealthy he is to the other people.

    I understand the music is in general for lower class people. But I don’t understand these particular situation in the video I posted:

    1. The relation among the Man’s Band , the Girl and the Money
    2. I see face cover woman there I think they could be the wifes, that give a plus to the weird situation.
    3. The children watching adults given money to a woman to dance.

    In general I post dangdut videos and music in twitter and in my blog but these is the first time I talk about these in particular because I know people won’t understand so easily.

    • aboutindo Says:

      Yes, it’s weird. But it’s not unusual to have that sort of disconnect, they don’t care so much that the actions don’t match the words.
      Regarding your explanations:
      1. I’m not so sure those dangdut singers are what we’d call ‘middle class’. If they were, they certainly wouldn’t need to earn money by working for it. I guess it depends on how you define ‘middle class’. I would say that most of the money they earn goes towards supporting their families.
      2. This is a well-worn arguement among feminists – is the prostitute using men or used-by men? I think the answer is ‘sometimes one, sometimes the other’.
      3. You could be right, but it seems an awfully big tip. Those pink notes are 100,000rp (= $US10) even one note would be a huge tip. My guess is that it’s staged, those guys are the promoters and part of the act.
      With regard to the other three points you raised, I don’t know if there is a satisfactory answer. I didn’t notice any women wearing headscarves, the video is a bit blurry so it could just be kids wearing baseball caps, which I did notice. Still, it wouldn’t surprise me to see a woman wearing a headscarf at that concert – there’s kids there, after all! It depends on the purpose of the concert, sometimes they hold concerts to celebrate Independance Day and all the local councillors and other big nobs are expected to attend. They could also be the wives of the band members and promotors, it’s not unusual there for a wife to follow the husband around to make sure he doesn’t get up to mischief! 😉
      Actually, I only started looking at dangdut clips since I started this blog, but I’ve always liked the music. You’re also the first person I’ve had a chance to talk about it with. So thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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