WASHINGTON, D.C. — Question: What do you get when you blend Arabic, Indian and Indonesian music? Answer: Dangdut. And what do you get when American singers compete to be the best in the U.S. at Dangdut, a genre that has millions of fans in Indonesia? Dangdut in America. Think American Idol — with a twist.
So far, over 70 contestants have taken part in auditions in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; New York City; Washington, D.C.; and Wilmington, Delaware. The top contestants from each of these cities will compete in the final at Sigma Studio in Philadelphia on April 13. The winner gets a trip to Indonesia.
Dangdut in America is a joint production of VOA’s Indonesian Service, the Delaware-based marketing and consulting firm NSR Productions, and the Indonesian public broadcaster Televisi Republik Indonesia, or TVRI, which sent a senior producer from Jakarta to assist in the U.S. production and will broadcast four 60-minute episodes of Dangdut in America, including cuts from four auditions and the final.
The first episode will air in prime time in Indonesia on TVRI on Sunday, April 27. TVRI will also broadcast a two-hour program in June featuring the American winner and famous Indonesian Dangdut performers, and will hold several off-air events at regional TVRI stations across Indonesia.
The judges for Dangdut in America are Sania, a famous R&B singer from Indonesia; Anik, a legendary Dangdut singer formerly with an Indonesian group named Ken Dedes; Catherine Short de Arce, an American opera singer; and Rissa Asnan, president of NSR Entertainment. The host of the show is VOA Indonesia’s Rafki Hidayat.
Ningrum Spicer, one of the Indonesian Service’s senior TV producers, says, “We want our Indonesian audience to know that Dangdut is growing in popularity in the United States, and there are more and more bands playing this musical genre every day.” For Norm Goodman, chief of the Indonesian Service, “Dangdut in America will give Indonesians another window on America – and Americans – through the familiar cultural medium of Dangdut. And it will be a lot of fun!”
For more information, visit www.dangdutinamerica.net.
VOA Indonesian is a multimedia broadcast service, using radio, television, Internet, and mobile devices, as well as providing feeds to hundreds of radio and TV outlets throughout Indonesia.