When I interviewed Arreal Tilghman for a profile in the Jakarta Post, he said that spending two months in Indonesia studying Dangdut music actually brought him closer to his African American heritage. The 22-year-old from Maryland spent his first trip abroad immersing himself in Indonesian culture and Dangdut music.
Listen to “Dang dut” by Hesti, Agung, Irfak, Toni, Bejo. (1:30).
Dangdut is the vibrant and constantly evolving musical form that draws on Arabic, Malay, Indian and rock influences. It exploded in the 1970s with acts such as Rhoma Irama and Elvy Sukaesih and spread through working class Muslim communities.
Now, Dangdut is about to hit the global stage with a debut album by Tilghman set to be released next month. Read the