Samsimar or Syamsimar was an Indonesian vocalist in the Saluang Dendang tradition of the Minangkabau cultures in Western Sumatra. Saluang Dendang typically features sung rhymes containing satire, lamentation, jokes and advice on how to cope with the difficulties of life. The Saluang is the most iconic instrument of the Minangkabau people; it is a flute instrument with a soft hollow sound, mostly played exclusively with vocalists.
Samsimar accompanied her father to his Saluang Dendang performances and received a musical education this way. Her father was a farmer and a carpenter but also a saluang performer. Saluang Jo Dendang was a male-dominated music and as a tradition, according to Islamic modesty, the performances were exclusively male. The only way to attend the events as a woman were if you were related to a performer. Eventually Samsimar became a pededang, the term for a singer in the dendang tradition. Nowadays it has reversed and women pedendangs are often the norm, despite religious and cultural restrictions on women involvement in art.
Over the years she released over 50 cassettes of saluang dendang on the Tanama Record Padang record label and her name became synonymous with the style of music. Samsimar retired from performing in 2003.
About this Contributor
- Contributor type
- Minutes created
- GRC4 #2
Black Musical Histories
“It’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times in which we live.” – Nina Simone, singer, musician and civil rights activist. Black…
Back to School: Music for Change
“If anybody wants to keep creating, they have to be about change.” – Miles Davis, jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer After many…
Discover a treasure trove of music education resources created by the experts at Minute of Listening.