Ricky El | The Phenomenon of Dayak Financial Literacy in the Ethnic Music Industry

The creative economy, which is touted as the belle of the digital age, is not just a discourse, but is also real.

Ricky El, Iban artist proves it. He is not only good at singing Iban songs, but also good at composing them.

Interesting thing. Both songs and lyrics of Ricky’s songs are Dayak. Starting from traditional Dayak life, to modern lifestyle. All of that is reflected in the lyrics of the songs he composed and sung.

Ricky often duets with the famous Iban female singer, Sima. The album “Bujang Runggu Ensing” was produced in 2009 by Cahaya Manis Production. He also duets with male Iban singer, Sylvester Andy.

How Ricky El, as a Dayak representative, can make a living from singing ethnic songs, this is a sign that Dayaks can be great and live in any sector, especially in this creative economy era.

The two of them sang the popular and humorous songs “Ngayap” and “Cerita Ngayap”. Song narratives are not only full of meaning and depict the daily life of the Iban people, but are also beautiful as poetry because they form a play of sounds.

Sometimes Ricky also appears to sing solo, as in his favorite songs “Bujang Lelayang”, “Ngeruh Ai”, “A to Z”, “Ukai Langkau Arau”, and “Poco Ari Gawai”. However, of the many songs, “Ucu Aki” deserves attention.

The verses are deep. Describes how Gawai (in Malaysia every May 30 – June 1) is an important day for the Dayak people. Not only to give thanks after the rice harvest, but also to meet to let go of homesickness, and eat together at the long house.

Among Indonesian Ibanik, especially in the Sintang district, Ricky is also popular. He is often invited by CU Keling Kumang, a relative of his origin, to demonstrate his skill in singing Iban songs. He was also invited during the Pilkada campaign in Sintang. The magnets are simply amazing.

Inevitably. Ricky El is an Iban artist who lives from the art of music and cultivates and explores the rich treasures of his tribe. Cross borders and sell as a commodity. Many of his songs and songs are played both on public and travel vehicles in West Kalimantan, and in public places.


In Indonesia, especially Sintang, Sekadau, and Putussibau. His name is legendary. No wonder. Every year there is a gawai (Dayak new year’s party), he is always fringed –invited to come. Only to satisfy audiences who like songs. The Iban rhythm is special.

Undoubtedly, the Iban has the largest population of the Dayak ethnic group. According to the results of my research, the number is 700,000 in Malaysia and Brunei. And 400,000 in Indonesia.

Spread in “menoa diri empur” (country considered to be of Iban origin), namely the districts of Sekadau, Sintang, to Kapuas Hulu. Until Batang Lupar, Lubuk Antu — up to crossing the Malaysian border, Semanggang — Sri Aman is now.

So now. When you ride travel. Or the Pontianak-Sintang-Putussibau intercity bus. Iban songs, never timely played. Shaking, while walking on a paved road that is actually smooth.

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Masri Sareb Putra
Articles: 730

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