Raunchy Sasak Music in Lombok

Apr 30th, 2009, in News, by

SasakWhat lonely women want, what adults get up to, Sasak singers get in trouble for suggesting answers.

The popular music of the Sasak people in Lombok, Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB) is said to have undergone a revival in recent years, with hundreds of new VCD/DVD titles appearing in both pop and dangdut styles, while the "earthy" nature of some of it has seen the local branch of the Independent Broadcasting Commission (Komisi Penyiaran Independen (KPI)) ban some of its performance or playback on television and radio.


Sampi Berot

The KPI collected 700 Sasak songs, examined a sample of 300, and finally decided that 13 titles were not fit to be heard, because of their vulgarity and violating of religious norms regarding gambling and drinking, they being:

  1. Bebalu Melet Besimbut (by Muji and Nuraini)
  2. Bawak Komaq (Achmadi)
  3. Sampi Berot (Achmadi)
  4. Mall (Achmadi)
  5. Bowos Lalok (Achmadi)
  6. Salak Sengguh (Achmadi)
  7. Ndek Kembe-Kembe (Syamsudin)
  8. Bisok Botol (Achmadi)
  9. Pinje Panje (Jamilah Adiningrat)
  10. Bebalu Kintal (Safiudin)
  11. Bebalu Belek Tian (Mamiq Istima)
  12. Saling Colet (Jaber dan Ritas)
  13. Menang Buntut (Rahul)

The NTB branches of the Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI) and the Indonesian Churches' Association (PGRI) both supported the decision.


Salak Sengguh

Badrun AM of the KPID in Mataram said he was concerned that small children in Sasak villages were familiar with a line from the song Ndek Kembe-Kembe ("No Problem"), the line being inak lek bawak, amak lek atas ("woman underneath, man on top"), and they sometimes asked about the meaning of this.


Ndek Kembe-Kembe

Another lyric he said included the phrase

I gamble with money I earned from my own sweat

and he worried that this was justifying and encouraging gambling.

Several songs had sexually suggestive titles like "Bebalu Melet Besimbut" (meaning, more or less - "widow wants to get under the covers"), he said, while others glorified drinking alcohol, such as "Bowos Lalok", "bowos" meaning "drunk".


Bisok Botol

Badrun went on to say that the KPI appreciated Sasak culture and did not want to stifle its creativity, but there were limits, and kompas tempo

Sasak people's identification with Islam and its rules about decency are well-known, this has to be guarded.


30 Comments on “Raunchy Sasak Music in Lombok”

  1. avatar Odinius says:

    This:

    Sasak people’s identification with Islam and its rules about decency are well-known, this has to be guarded.

    …is almost identical to the reasons Dutch colonialists gave for making decisions on behalf of Indies subjects.

  2. avatar Odinius says:

    Hey…some of that music is actually pretty interesting…

  3. avatar ultratupai says:

    I totally agree with Odinius on both accounts. It’s someting out of the playbook of Dutch colonialism and the music IS actually pretty interesting. Thanks for the great post.

    Indonesian = unity in diversity, right? What happened to that?

  4. avatar Ross says:

    Hey, this Lombok is a bit different from the one where G-Bs attack Ahmadiyah. May reconsider my personal boycott. Oh, BTW, anyone wishing to donate to the Ahmadiyah refugees – I’ve found a conduit, a guy who goes down there a lot and will pass on a little help to those in need.

  5. avatar Mike Oxblack says:

    Hey Ross,
    Lombok is top, just be careful of ya stuff when you go for a swim as the Sasak light fingeredness is legendary. How’s Xtine, Dan, Wade, Spencer,T Bone, James, Rohana and the posse by the way?

  6. avatar Odinius says:

    Agree with ultratupai…fantastic post. Digging a bit deeper into Sasak music and finding some really interesting stuff.

    Anyone know if this stuff has been recorded onto CD/mp3, or just available to listen via youtube?

  7. avatar David says:

    Well if they’re making ‘music videos’ and so forth it must be on cd/vcd, I had a quick look online but doesn’t seem to be much of it around except on youtube.

  8. avatar Odinius says:

    I’ll be over there this summer, though wasn’t planning to visit Lombok…might have to reconsider!

  9. avatar madrotter says:

    i’m going to check this music out for my blog, this is interesting! thanks!

  10. avatar Zekky says:

    Who makes all these decisions? The Sasak?

    As a proud 1/2 Javanese myself, it irritates me how the Javanese must always interfere in other cultures in Indonesia. Leave them be, for goodness sake!

  11. avatar zekky says:

    Wow, the videos are fascinating! Interesting how the women also look bolder than women in campursari or jaipongan videos.

    And the religious groups wanna ban this?! In exchange for what?

  12. avatar zomerjap says:

    zekky,

    THEY, whoever they are want you to think it is always those religious groups who are behind this and want you to blame all of them with generalisations they can easily counter (while they mostly get indirectly controlled like the Israelites who are pawns for the Zionists), THEY whoever they are, want you to get irritated, worked up so your don’t take the time to distinguish between correct and incorrect reasoning and in turn you help those guys behind the curtains to slowly work out their master plan.

    PS: Perhaps studying the behaviour of banks and money may reveal some things and I also suggest you to read this book by George Orwell: “1984”

    I wish you good luck,
    zomerjap

  13. avatar zomerjap says:

    zekky,

    2 things:

    -you make two hasty generalisations(logical fallacies): “the Javanese” as if all Javanese are behind this and “the religious groups” as if all religions agree with this ban.

    PS: As soon as you figured out what I mean with this, please spread the message to others who make hasty generalisations without knowing exactly who caused this ban.

    PPS: Ask these questions to yourself: “How would (excluding religion for a moment) anyone benefit from this type of ban?” and “how could the ban fit into a certain agenda?”

  14. avatar Zekky says:

    Maaf I looking back I admit my 1st post was a bit too generalised, I should have specified what Javanese I was discussing.

    Also, I’ve read 1984 but don’t see what that has to do with this.

    I see nothing wrong with my 2nd post… I wrote ‘religious groups‘, not ‘religions‘ – if I meant religion alone I would have written ‘Muslims and Christians’.

  15. avatar Odinius says:

    Pretty clear who wants this banned…those who wish to stop Indonesia from developing into an open pluralist society, where people are free to make decisions as they please, into a moralistic-Islamist one, where a small number of people make paternalistic decisions for the whole population based on their supposed “knowing better.” Hey! Sounds a bit like what the Dutch did!

    As for the conspiracy claptrap…yeah, right…the “Illuminati” (or whoever it is supposed to be these days) would really care about raunchy Sasak music. Let’s face it, most Indonesians don’t even give a **** about raunchy Sasak music.

  16. avatar zomerjap says:

    Zekky you wrote on May 29th, 2009 at 3:44 am: “the religious groups” NOT “religious groups”. IF you would have written that instead, you could indeed have implied “some”, “all” or something “inbetween” (depending on whether you choose to ignore the law of the excluded middle or not)
    In addition, if you still think that the book: “1984” is an interesting way of looking at the world, then you may want to consider spending some of your valuable time researching who exactly is behind this ban you speak of and question whether there is some bigger agenda that we don’t know about, which tells us a lot more than unsubstantiated speculations and hasty generalisations.

  17. avatar zomerjap says:

    Odinius,

    I see, can you please provide some articles from which it can be suggested that the claims you made on June 1st, 2009 at 12:57 am are true?
    And while you are at it, please back up your claim in which you imply that: “most Indonesian people do not care about Raunchy Sasak Music in Lombok”, the argument from silence is no valid argument and I also want to see some support for your claim that “the Illuminati (or whoever it is supposed to be these days)” are NOT interested in the Raunchy Sasak Music for whatever reason.

    Thank you very much if you can do so.

  18. avatar Odinius says:

    I’ve got an idea for you, zomerjap. Why don’t you go ask regular folks in Jakarta, Surabaya another city/town outside Lombok and ask them what they think about Sasak popular music? Be honest and don’t lead them to the conclusion you want them to draw. See what they say.

    Second, if you want proof as to who really wants to put the kibbosh on the Sasak musicians, well you need go no further than the article this thread is about! Let me pull the vital bits out for you:

    The KPI collected 700 Sasak songs, examined a sample of 300, and finally decided that 13 titles were not fit to be heard, because of their vulgarity and violating of religious norms regarding gambling and drinking

    The NTB branches of the Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI) and the Indonesian Churches’ Association (PGRI) both supported the decision.

    Badrun AM of the KPID in Mataram said he was concerned that small children in Sasak villages were familiar with a line from the song Ndek Kembe-Kembe (”No Problem”), the line being inak lek bawak, amak lek atas (”woman underneath, man on top”), and they sometimes asked about the meaning of this.

    Badrun went on to say that the KPI appreciated Sasak culture and did not want to stifle its creativity, but there were limits, and [1] [2]

    “Sasak people’s identification with Islam and its rules about decency are well-known, this has to be guarded.”

    So there you go. Specific government offices and government sponsored but highly conservative religious organizations specifically want Sasak music neutered, all because of a Dutch-esque “we’ve got to protect them from themselves” paternalism.

    Now, since you are so keen on proof, are you going to provide proof that the Illuminati/Freemasons/Reptilian Aliens or whatever grand conspirators you think these named actors actually serve actually a) exist; b) control the world; c) attempt to do so by influencing Indonesia’s domestic politics; and d) influence Indonesia’s domestic politics primarily by interfering in the leisure activities of one of its smaller and less politically significant ethnic groups?

  19. avatar sasak says:

    Thank you for some sanity Odinius. Zomerjap’s global conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic / Zionist rubbish is so ridiculous and out of context here.

    You are right… I doubt most people outside of Lombok give a damn about raunchy Sasak music. But the Sasak people sure do! I suspect the ban by these fundamentalist Muslims (there… I said it!) will only make the raunchy dangdut more popular and drive recording sales underground.

    For those who are interested, DVD’s, CD’s and VCD’s of Sasak music are easily found in the shops in Mataram and Cakra and are sold on the streets in the hundreds.

    Ya ~ ndek kembe-kembe!

  20. avatar Odinius says:

    Pretty funny location for a global conspiracy, isn’t it. But my favorite part was:

    can you please provide some articles from which it can be suggested that the claims you made on June 1st, 2009 at 12:57 am are true?

    …when the thread is actually a series of comments on an article that does exactly that.

    Yeah, might have to drop by Lombok this summer after all!

  21. avatar zomerjap says:

    June 1st, 2009 at 12:57 am
    Odinius Says: “I’ve got an idea for you, Mr. Anonymous. Why don’t you go ask regular folks in Jakarta, Surabaya another city/town outside Lombok and ask them what they think about Sasak popular music? Be honest and don’t lead them to the conclusion you want them to draw. See what they say.”

    No need. You are reversing to burden of proof unto me on that issue and dodging the issue of having to proof your claim: “that most Indonesians don’t even give a **** about raunchy Sasak music.” You have yet to provide evidence to back up that claim.

    Odinius Says:
    June 1st, 2009 at 5:39 am
    “So there you go. Specific government offices and government sponsored but highly conservative religious organizations specifically want Sasak music neutered, all because of a Dutch-esque “we’ve got to protect them from themselves” paternalism.”

    Thanks. As a matter of fact I already with the article and agreed with it before asking you. If you specified this much before I wouldn’t have asked you for backing up your claim on this.

    Odinius Says:
    June 1st, 2009 at 5:39 am
    “Now, since you are so keen on proof, are you going to provide proof that the Illuminati/Freemasons/Reptilian Aliens or whatever grand conspirators you think these named actors actually serve actually a) exist; b) control the world; c) attempt to do so by influencing Indonesia’s domestic politics; and d) influence Indonesia’s domestic politics primarily by interfering in the leisure activities of one of its smaller and less politically significant ethnic groups?”

    I didn’t even mention those groups. You were the one who came up with the Illuminati and I was just commenting on that: “I also want to see some support for your claim that “the Illuminati (or whoever it is supposed to be these days)” are NOT interested in the Raunchy Sasak Music for whatever reason.”
    You claimed that the Illuminati had nothing to do with it and because you make that claim you need to back up as to why they had nothing to do with it and you have yet to support that claim with proof.

    June 7th, 2009 at 12:16 pm
    sasak Says:
    “Thank you for some sanity Odinius. Anonymous’ global conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic / Zionist rubbish is so ridiculous and out of context here.”

    This is an Ad Hominem attack: “Anonymous’ global conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic / Zionist rubbish is so ridiculous” against my position. If this was a debate in real life you would have been disqualified.

    sasak Says:
    June 7th, 2009 at 12:16 pm
    “You are right… I doubt most people outside of Lombok give a damn about raunchy Sasak music.”

    Why is he right according to you? Your doubt alone is not a valid ground to say that someone is right. It begs the question.

  22. avatar Odinius says:

    Sorry zomerjap, but when it comes to “burden of proof,” you don’t ever need to demonstrate a lack of something, but rather the existence of something. The assumption is that the null hypothesis–of no relationship–holds true. The researcher must demonstrate otherwise. Since “Indonesians not caring about Sasak music” is a null claim, it is up to the person whose argument rests on “Indonesians caring about Sasak music” to provide proof.

    zomerjap said:

    Thanks. As a matter of fact I already with the article and agreed with it before asking you. If you specified this much before I wouldn’t have asked you for backing up your claim on this.

    Er…then what was the point of this exercise? The answer is in the article this thread is about, after all. Have to assume everyone’s read it.

    zomerjap said:

    I didn’t even mention those groups. You were the one who came up with the Illuminati

    You presented a global conspiracy theory here:

    THEY, whoever they are want you to think it is always those religious groups who are behind this and want you to blame all of them with generalisations they can easily counter (while they mostly get indirectly controlled like the Israelites who are pawns for the Zionists), THEY whoever they are, want you to get irritated, worked up so your don’t take the time to distinguish between correct and incorrect reasoning and in turn you help those guys behind the curtains to slowly work out their master plan.

    So I wrote:

    Illuminati/Freemasons/Reptilian Aliens or whatever grand conspirators you think these named actors actually serve

    As you can see, I’ve left it up to you to tell us who, exactly, you think “THEY” are. I merely offered three in vogue possibilities. Not saying any of these are your choice.

    zomerjap said:

    You claimed that the Illuminati had nothing to do with it and because you make that claim you need to back up as to why they had nothing to do with it and you have yet to support that claim with proof.

    Again, not how burden of proof works. The assumption is the null hypothesis (h0 = 0); what is to be proven is the alternative hypothesis (h1 = 1). You never have to proof that something doesn’t exist; you have to prove something does exist. But in doing so, you may disprove something else. However, the burden of proof is always on the person making the positive claim. Since you made the claim that this very peripheral and localized issue fits into some grand conspiracy, you are the one who has to prove it.

  23. avatar ET says:

    I’m not an expert on Sasak culture but the videos above all seem to have a Balinese touch, up to garments and outfit, like the udeng headcloth for men. But I have never seen Balinese dancing to actual songs, only to gamelan or angklung.
    Balinese stuff however is still a bit more ‘raunchy’. Judge for yourself.

  24. avatar Odinius says:

    Yeah Sasak culture is highly influenced by Balinese culture. As far as I recall, before the Dutch arrived on the scene in large numbers, Lombok was a prize contested by the kings of Makassar and Klunkung (main kingdom in Bali), with the Balinese typically winning out.

  25. avatar David says:

    Great video btw ET, thanks for sending that in to me, did you film it yourself? Incidentally in order to get that video to display in the comments I had to make some basic changes to system files so anyone can embed a youtube video or whatever in a comment now, like so

  26. avatar zekky says:

    before the Dutch arrived… Lombok was a prize contested by… Bali)

    Lombok remained under Balinese influence up until the 20th Century, no?

  27. avatar Odinius says:

    The Dutch took Lombok from Klungkung in 1894

  28. avatar paulfrance says:

    I’m french and I don’t understand all about english language but I want to tell something. Sasak musik is music from the heart, about love and feelings, and I hope this music continue in the same way. I know nothing about the government and the restrictive measure but we aren’t indonesian and we can’t judge the decisions. Because it’s not our kind of thinking. By the way, we can just enjoy the music and the good meaning about it. Peoples changes, Sasak changes too, it’s normal, but please keep a good way in the music and the spirit. We can see about hip hop from US west coast… what brings the songs that reduce women and prone to money, sex and drugs ? I hope not to be too much out of the discution. That is the comment of a french guy in love with the real Sasak culture ! menghormati untuk website anda. Paul

  29. avatar habib says:

    Indonesia is becoming like Victorian England, with a growing middle class that wants to impose its standards on the less powerful.

    If Indonesia continues this way, it will soon share the old Dutch attitude that it fought so hard against.

    From the Javanese-influenced parts of Indonesia, this music sounds unusual.

    Despite controversial lyrics, the Sasaq women sing less sexy/coy than Javanese and Sundanese.

  30. avatar Lomboksurfer says:

    Really enjoyed the entire bloody video as the music, dancing and singing were bloody we’ll done. Beats the bleedin nonsense coming out of bloody Surabaya. Anyway, I will take bloody Lombok over Bali, or any other bloody traps like it in Asia. Go bloody quick coz it’s only a matter of bleedin time before they ruin Lombok as well.

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