Resounding on the International Stage: Dangdut Nominated as Indonesia’s Intangible Cultural Heritage at UNESCO


PROGRES.ID – The enticing dance moves and captivating lyrics have woven a long tale of dangdut music in the homeland. Now, stepping beyond local stages, the soul-stirring melodies are officially proposed as Indonesia’s intangible cultural heritage to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). This joyful news was revealed by Indonesia’s senior dangdut musician, Rhoma Irama.

On August 28, 2023, the atmosphere of the intangible cultural heritage declaration session was palpable in Indonesia. Rhoma Irama, an icon and pioneer of dangdut music, proudly shared, “Earlier, the declaration session for Indonesia’s intangible cultural heritage at UNESCO took place. We have registered dangdut with UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage, driven by the government through the Ministry of Education and Culture,” he said, as quoted from

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Furthermore, Linda N. Riani, the head of cultural protection at the Jakarta Provincial Culture Office, clarified the significance of this historic step. She explained that it is the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology that will lead the effort to advance dangdut music to UNESCO.

Dangdut, with its distinctive rhythm that pulsates and lyrics that reflect the everyday lives of people, has deeply rooted itself in the lives of various layers of Indonesian society. Beyond being just a music genre, dangdut has become a part of the cultural identity that embraces Indonesia’s diversity and uniqueness.

This step isn’t merely an acknowledgment of dangdut music’s achievements; it’s also an endeavor to safeguard and nurture the cultural heritage that has added vibrancy and life to society. The Indonesian soundscape, enriched by the harmonies of dangdut, with all its diversity and distinctiveness, deserves a place on the international stage.

The decision to propose dangdut as Indonesia’s intangible cultural heritage at UNESCO wasn’t made in an instant. It’s the result of collaboration among various stakeholders, including the government, artists, and a society that holds cultural values in high regard. This process showcases the power of music to unify many voices into one, not only within the country but also across the world.

With this step, it is hoped that Indonesia can embark on a new chapter in its cultural and musical journey. The excitement of the dangdut stage, rich in history and innovation, now has the opportunity to inspire future generations. Who knows, in the not-so-distant future, we might witness dangdut music singing and dancing on the world stage, as an enduring masterpiece of intangible cultural heritage.(koe)

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