Rhoma Irama in 2010
|Birth name||Raden Irama|
December 11, 1946 |
West Java, Indonesia
|Occupations||Musician, songwriter, actor|
|Associated acts||Soneta Group, Ridho Rhoma|
Raden Irama (born December 11, 1946, in West Java), known as Rhoma Irama, is an Indonesian dangdut musician, actor and politician. During the height of his stardom in the 1970s, he became the self-proclaimed Raja Dangdut (King of Dangdut) with his group Soneta.
- 1 Career
- 2 Recent Years
- 3 Controversies and Allegations of Racism and Bigotry
- 4 Indonesian Presidential Election 2014
- 5 Discography
- 6 Filmography
- 7 References
- 8 External links
In the late 1960s Oma Irama, sang orkes Melayu and also some pop Indonesia. In 1968 he joined the group Orkes Melayu Purnama in 1968. This group pioneered elements of the dangdut style within orkes Melayu music - the drum was changed to double drum, the electric guitar's role was expanded, and the suling, or bamboo flute, adopted a style reminiscent of Bollywood music. He also recorded pop Indonesia music during this period with the Zaenal Combo and Galaksi, while the album 'Ingkar Janji' was recorded in 1969 with Orkes Melayu Chandraleka.
Once Oma broke from recording with the Purnama Group, he formed Orkes Melayu Soneta (taken from English word sonnet), which became the first dangdut group in 1970. The subtitle, 'the sound of Moslems' was added in 1973.
The group featured Oma Irama and Elvy Sukaesih as singers, both solo, and duets. Their first album, 'Volume 01', 'Begadang' ('Stay up all night'), released in 1973, featured four songs by Oma Irama, three by Elvy, and three duets. The song featured a topless Oma Irama wearing tight trousers and holding an electric guitar. His choice of pose showed the influence on his music of Western hard rock bands, influences which also found their way into his music - orkes Melayu was in his opinion was too soft, too acoustic, too polite, and unable to compete against the power and energy of rock music, and so the music was electrified, with keyboard, two electric guitars, electric bass, as well as the traditional suling and gendang. He has stated that he took his guitar style from Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple. In addition to Western and Malay influences, Hindi composers were credited for some of the band's songs.
The Begadang album ranked #11 on Rolling Stone Indonesia's "150 Greatest Indonesian Albums of All Time" list. Furthermore, the main single "Begadang" reached at number 24 on the magazine's "150 Greatest Indonesian Songs of All Time" list.
His 1973 hit "Terajana", one of the best-known dangdut songs of all time, was the first to use the newly coined, and arguably derogatory, term dangdut, distinguishing the Javanese orkes Melayu music, heavily influenced by Indian Bollywood records, henceforth dangdut, from the established orkes Melayu, associated with North Sumatran Malays.
Once Soneta was established in the early 1970s, Oma changed his name to Rhoma and went on a decade long run of successful hit records and films, all of which starred Rhoma playing himself while performing all of his hits. He wrote the classics "Kareta Malam" and "Kuda Lumping" which were sung by Elvy Sukaesih.
Performing live, he adopted many of the props of stadium rock, including large audiences, powerful soundsystems, complex sets, fireworks, flashing lights, and smoke machines. He is also notable with the use of some notable musical instrument including various models of Steinberger guitars. This particular guitar was shown off in his posters, leaflets, movies, and pin-ups.
Following his 1975 hajj, he took the name Rhoma Irama, which is an abbreviation of "Raden Haji Oma Irama" (Raden is an aristocracy title for Javanese and Sundanese cultures). Following this pilgrimage, he took on a more explicit Islamic moral tone, adopting Islamic dress, shorter hairstyles, and ejecting band members who consumed alcohol or had extra-marital sex. He also resolved that his music should instruct, and not merely entertain, a form of devotion waged through music. Themes in his music included extra-marital sex, government corruption, drugs, and gambling. The song haram for instance, warns against both drugs and gambling.
Rhoma Irama campaigned for Islamic party PPP from 1977 to 1982, and as a result he was banned from state television and radio by the Suharto regime, which was at that time enforcing separation of religion and state, and some of his songs were also banned from sale. The ban was lifted in 1988, and with Suharto himself moving towards Islam in the 1990s, dangdut became of the establishment.
His 1982 movie Perjuangan dan Doa (Struggle and Prayer) as described as the world's first Islamic rock musical movie.
Controversies and Allegations of Racism and Bigotry
In 2003, neighbors followed by journalists caught both Rhoma Irama and Angel Lelga, an actress, in the latter's apartment at midnight. Rhoma and Angel first stated that they were discussing religion. After several revisions including Rhoma's picking up movie scripts, Angel confirmed that Rhoma had married her on "siri" ground (unregistered at official record but permissible by Islamic Sharia) and later divorced her on the same day.
During the 2012 Jakarta Gubernatorial Election, Rhoma Irama was videotaped giving a political speech in a West Jakarta mosque. Rhoma Irama warned his audience against voting for candidate pair Joko Widodo and Basuki Cahaya Purnama because according to him, the former had Christian parents and the latter is Chinese and Christian. Some of his statements were: Muslims would see their reputation sink if they elected non-Muslims, calling people by their SARA (acronym for ethnic, religion, race) characteristics is justified when defending pribumi's interest, Joko Widodo is just a step for Basuki and Chinese to assume power. In his closing words he alleged "ethnic Malay would face subjugation by Chinese in Jakarta as they did in Singapore when it gained independence from Malaysia should Basuki be allowed to govern"  (it should be noted that Singapore did not gain independence from Malaysia but was expelled from Federation of Malaysia).
In Indonesia, attacking a person's race or religion in a political campaign is punishable by fine and prison time. Further added to the controversy was the fact that campaigning in a place of worship violates law.
On August 6, the Election Observer Commission (Panwaslu) presided by Ramdansyah summoned him to begin investigation. The initial investigation ended with Rhoma Irama shedding tears in front of journalists saying "to Joko Widodo and Basuki Purnama, I love them all" but insisted he did nothing wrong. Subsequent investigation saw Rhoma Irama and Fauzi Bowo (incumbent governor) denying that Rhoma was campaigning or working as Fauzi Bowo's campaigner  despite Rhoma's own statement in June 2012 that he and his family had become one  and Rhoma's appearance in Fauzi Bowo's official campaign video.
Rhoma was eventually cleared of all charges by Panwaslu. However Ramdansyah was relieved from his post after another investigation into his neutrality concluded he was unfairly siding with Fauzi Bowo re-election team.
Rhoma met face to face with Joko Widodo in an episode of Indonesia Lawyers Club show albeit through teleconference medium. He refused to apologize to Joko for falsely stating to his audience about the religion of Joko's parents.
Indonesian Presidential Election 2014
||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (December 2012)|
At the end of 2012, Rhoma Irama, stated his intention to contest the 2014 presidential election. The Wasiat Ulama association and the Indonesia Malay Musicians Association (PAMMI) have endorsed him. His nomination has prompted satirical postings on Twitter. Many dismissed his intention as a joke.
With OM Soneta
With Soneta Group (Volume Series)
Movie Soundtracks and Compilations
Rhoma Irama Solo Albums
- Oma Irama Penasaran (1976)
- Gitar Tua Oma Irama (1977)
- Darah Muda (1977)
- Rhoma Irama Berkelana I (1978)
- Rhoma Irama Berkelana II (1978)
- Begadang (1978)
- Raja Dangdut (1978)
- Cinta Segitiga (1979)
- Camelia (1979)
- Perjuangan dan Doa (1980)
- Melody Cinta Rhoma Irama (1980)
- Badai di Awal Bahagia (1981)
- Sebuah Pengorbanan (1982)
- Satria Bergitar (1984)
- Pengabdian (1984)
- Kemilau Cinta di Langit Jingga (1985)
- Menggapai Matahari I (1986)
- Menggapai Matahari II (1986)
- Nada-nada Rindu (1987)
- Bunga Desa (1988)
- Jaka Swara (1990)
- Nada dan Dakwah (1991)
- Tabir Biru (1992)
- Dawai 2 Asmara (2010)
- Sajadah Ka'bah (2011)
- "Rhoma Irama". Retrieved 27 February 2010.
- Andrew N. Weintraub, Dangdut Stories: A Social and Musical History of Indonesia's Most Popular Music, Oxford University Press, 2010; ISBN 978-0-19-539567-9
- Rolling Stone Special Edition: 150 Greatest Indonesian Albums of All Time (in Indonesian) (32nd ed.). Rolling Stone Indonesia. 2007.
- Rolling Stone Special Edition: 150 Greatest Indonesian Songs of All Time (in Indonesian) (56th ed.). Rolling Stone Indonesia. 2009.
- Undang-Undang Nomor 32 Tahun 2004 Pasal 78 huruf (b)
- Undang-Undang Nomor 32 tahun 2004 pasal 78 huruf (i)
- "‘Dangdut’ king ready for presidency". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
- "PKB Proposes Rhoma Irama for President". Tempo English Online. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
- "Hips Don't Lie: A pop singer and a potentially violent culture war in the world's biggest Muslim state.", "The Wall Street Journal", April 3, 2007