Funkot Power

Indonesian Grassroot Electronic Dance Music Culture

Inul Daratista ShowYes No Wave Music

Indonesian popular dance music

The most popular Indonesian dance music in the modern era is Dangdut. The genre is loved all over Indonesia especially in the west and middle area of Indonesia.

The origin of Dangdut

Dangdut was born from a mixture of Malay, Indian and Arabic music which was originally known as Malay Orchestra in the 60s.

In the 70s dangdut took its mature form and contemporary shape. As popular music, dangdut is very open to influences of other type of music from keroncong, rock, reggae even house music which came to popularity in the 90s.

Dangdut goes to Disco

This medley is known as House Dangdut or Funkot, an abbreviation from Funky Kota. At that time house music is known as funky music and the word kota or city refers to discotheque district in Central Jakarta, where Funkot starts to flourish.

House music enters Indonesian scene in the early 90s, mostly represented by its sub-genre, Eurodance and Acid House that is often performed by local DJ's in discotheques in Central Jakarta. Local music labels amongst others are Boulevard International, Bulletin, Akurama Records releases House remix of popular Western music that was arranged by local DJs like Jocky Saputra and Ronny Load. The releases were fancied by many that it became a hit in many places and radios including homes, restaurants, parking lots, local shops and even in public transportation. Remixing practice that was published became a trend for musician and music producers at the time. 

House remix compilation released in the 90s

The reach of house music is so vast amongst Indonesian society that it motivates musicians to remix popular music even traditional music. This practice creates amazing mix of house music with jaipong, keroncong, campursari, tarling and of course dangdut. The massive popularity of dangdut made this house version of dangdut very famous all over the country. It is here funkot was born with a distinct character. Funkot has a very fast beat up to 220 bpm and made it the fastest beat music that were ever made in Indonesia.

Endang Raes & Dj Le

The open nature of dangdut has resulted in funkot mix with popular local music in various areas in Indonesia, for example house dangdut minang in Sumatra, house dangdut koplo in East Java, house dangdut tarling in north coast (Pantura) of West Java and combination of minahasa pop in Manado and over hundreds of other hybrid styles. 

Barakatak performing on stage (2018) by Swandi RanadilaYes No Wave Music

In the 90s, one of the most popular group of house dangdut or funkot is Barakatak from Bandung. They started as a Sundanese pop music nurtured by a local legend of Doel Sumbang and evolved into Barakatak today with its house dangdut as the genre made top popularity.


Together with dangdut producer/ house DJ Ronny Load, Barakatak releases a phenomenal album called House Music Vol. 1 and House Music Vol.2 in 1996. The music in the album beautifully combined house music and the much loved
 heavy jaipong rhythm.

Funkot began to dim in the mid 2000s and was replaced with more popular dangdut music. This was influenced by listener of this type of music developing economically. Dangdut is now performed and distributed on national television. While Funkot slowly disappears, the production pattern became a standard for dangdut music production in the era of digital recording. Performances became more common in smaller places and in smaller production scale. 

Hasoe Angels (2020-10-14) by Hendy WinarthaYes No Wave Music

The power of Yamaha PSR

Digital dangdut is played in a simple format using midi keyboard like Yamaha PSR and vocal, locally known as organ tunggal . This format performs with two singers singing in tandem and performs cover songs. 

Hasoe Angels, Hendy Winartha, 2020-10-14, From the collection of: Yes No Wave Music
Dangdut show in a kampung, Thole Cstr, 2017-08-24, From the collection of: Yes No Wave Music
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Funkot then reappears in 2010s in a different format and on different ground, the underground. Popularity of dangdut koplo in East Java results in house koplo. 

In Sumatra, funky house music appears and became popular. The funky house has beats over 220 BPM.

Other forms that doesn't have direct affiliation with dangdut but has similar sense appears in West Papua with what they called Wisisi Music and hundreds of other music hybrids. 

These music were produced and played by lower income societies who are close to music and other traditional arts. 

In the same era, movement of electronic music from young generation in the indie music scene starts to perform dangdut house music or funkot in an attempt to rebel against dominance of Western electronic music and is associated with higher income society.

Barokka feat. Regals - Barapantura 2.0 (Official Audio Stream)Yes No Wave Music

It is here that dangdut met with drum and bass, dub, hip-hop, breakcore, techno even indie pop. DJs and producers like TerbujurKaku, Barokka, Feel Koplo, Libertaria, Prontaxan, Y-DRA and Gabber Modus Operandi starts to perform in underground music events at bars and small clubs. 

Today as younger generation grew more interest in indie music, some of these groups now performs in large scale music festivals both locally and internationally. 

In line with dangdut's open characteristic and development of thoughts in culture and technology, electronic dangdut will breed even more new sub-genre. Later on the music will find similarity from other cultures like Budot from the Phillipines, Morlam from Thailand/Laos, Singeli from Tanzania, Cumbia from Colombia even baile funk from Brazil. All of these meetings in the global south grass root music communities will in exchange inspire electronic music or music clubs from the West. 

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