University of Pittsburgh

Rock meets Islam in Indonesia

rhoma_irama.jpg Legendary Dangdut musician Rhoma Irama and his band Soneta perform at Bellefield Hall. Pittsburgh's own Dangdut Cowboys will open for Rhoma Irama and Soneta. Bellefield Hall Auditorium, free Co-sponsored by UCIS, CERIS, School of Arts and Sciences, and the Department of Music. PRESS RELEASE In conjunction with the international conference on Islam and Popular Culture in Indonesia and Malaysia, Rhoma Irama and his 10-piece band Soneta will perform a concert in Bellefield Auditorium on October 11 at 8pm. Musician, composer, record producer, film star, and Islamic proselytiser Rhoma Irama (b. 1947) has been a dominant force in Indonesian music and popular culture since the early 1970s. Composer of hundreds of songs and star of over 20 films, Rhoma Irama occupies a central place in the history of dangdut, a music genre that blends Malay, Indian, Middle Eastern, and western musical forms. Using print and electronic media to defend the genre against claims that it was backward and unsophisticated, he paved the way for dangdut to become Indonesia's most popular music. Rhoma Irama's lyrics express themes of everyday life, love, social criticism against class inequality, and Islamic messages. He is closely identified with dakwah (religious) compositions, which are designed to inform, instruct, and lead his listeners. Rhoma Irama has garnered attention both at home and throughout the world as the King of Dangdut ("Raja Dangdut"). His songs have been the subject of scholarly articles and world music books and textbooks. Formed in 1970, Rhoma Irama's group Soneta continues to perform throughout Indonesia and abroad. Pittsburgh's own Dangdut Cowboys will open the show.

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