Campur Sari: Nyidam Sari Sung by a Girl!


This song is part of the campur sari genre, but you’ll find that it contains many more elements of traditional Javanese music (compared with the Didi Kempot song I wrote about last week).  The most obvious is the way the music slows down, stalls and stops for a little while before it picks up again.  I don’t know the purpose of this, it happens several times during this performance.  Maybe it’s to create interest?

Anyhow, I think the performance itself is quite good considering it is probably the singer’s debut.  If you listen carefully, right at the beginning, the boss in the white shirt tells her to smile (“ayo kasih senyum!”).  Later, the backing vocalist/flautist also tells her to smile and then to dance when the percussion picks up.  She doesn’t waste any time scurrying back even before she finishes her song and sits down in her place among the other female singers before the music stops .  Must be scared, poor thing. 

The unusual thing about the performance of this song, Nyidam Sari, is that it’s being sung by a girl.  It’s very unusual for a Javanese girl to sing a song which is written for a guy. 

Umpomo sliramu sekar melati

aku kumbang Nyidam Sari

Umpomo sliramu margi

wong manis, aku kang bakal nglewati.

Which means:

If you are a jasmine flower

I’m the bee longing for nectar

if you are a road

pretty girl, I will pass through it.

Here is a more typical version of this song:

Very Javanese, this version.  The singer and the girl are wearing traditional Javanese dress.  She’s very demure.  Notice the furniture and the style of the architecture?  So Javanese.  But you would hardly guess it was the same song.

The other interesting thing about the first clip, for me, is that it was taken at a wedding reception.  You can see the guests arriving and being greeted, maybe by the groom.  Notice how he touches his chest after shaking hands?  It’s customary.  You don’t need to turn up at the right time if you’re invited to a wedding, the important thing is just to show your face.  Once you’ve been greeted, you’re free to go anywhere, but the best policy is to head straight for the food.  Indonesians don’t hold back at buffets, you really need to dive in if you want the best dishes before they’re gone.  That’s my experience, anyhow.

After getting their food, you can see the crowd segregates.  The bapaks (men) go to watch the singer while the ibu (mums) settle down with the food and the kids.  In fact this crowd is spoilt because it’s quite unusual to have more than just food at a wedding reception.  They seldom put on any entertainment.  It’s quite a mixed blessing to be invited to a Javanese wedding.  On one hand, they will be disappointed if you don’t show up.  On the other, there will be no alcohol or dancing, musical entertainment (such as you see in the  clip) is rare.  It’s a bit like a Methodist wedding.

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2 Responses to “Campur Sari: Nyidam Sari Sung by a Girl!”

  1. Campur Sari: Traditional Style « Aboutindo's Blog Says:

    […] weeks.  The first was quite accessable, but with clear elements of Javanese traditional music, the second increased the weirdness level […]

  2. Campur Sari: Traditional Style Says:

    […] weeks.  The first was quite accessable, but with clear elements of Javanese traditional music, the second increased the weirdness level […]

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