Professor of ethnomusicology Andrew Weintraub has made several recent appearances on Indonesian TV and radio in support of his latest book entitled Dangdut Stories: A Social and Musical History of Indonesia’s Most Popular Music (Oxford 2010). It’s the first book in any language about Indonesia’s wildly popular music called dangdut (pronounced dahng-doot) and Weintraub, known affectionately in Indonesia as Professor Andrew, is enjoying a measure of celebrity rarely experienced by authors of scholarly books.
This past January, Weintraub was a guest on the popular talk show, Bukan Empat Mata, which translates roughly to (Not) Just Between the Two of Us. The popular show is hosted by Javanese comedian Tukul and airs over the national TransTV station, reaching 10-20 million viewers daily.
During an early October media blitz, Weintraub appeared on a live news program on the station TV One. On the show, he was interviewed along with Rhoma Irama, the “King of Dangdut,” who performed in Pittsburgh with his 10-member band in 2008.
During that same trip, Weintraub was interviewed by Radio TPI, the largest dangdut radio station in Jakarta with some 3 million listeners, and was the featured guest artist on the TV show Pas Mantab, performing gamelan, martial arts, and dangdut.
The excitement engendered in Indonesia by Dangdut Stories demonstrates just how much Indonesians love dangdut music, but also Weintraub’s versatility as a scholar, musician, and educator. Whether it’s a graduate seminar or a TV show reaching millions, “Professor Andrew” provides valuable insight into the relationship between music and broader cultural trends.