Ludruk Cak Kartolo (

Do you know, where did the word Ludruk come from? So far, there has been no definite conclusion.

There was a discussion about the history of Ludruk that was held by Surabaya artists in 2002. The conclusion of the discussion was never firmly stated on the origin of Ludruk. Anyway, Ludruk is a cultural art that has developed and is entrenched in Surabaya and East Java.

“Well, who said there was no original word from Ludruk!”, said Cak Markaban, a leader of Ludruk Triprasetya RRI Surabaya. “Ludruk comes from the words gela-gelo and gedrak-gedruk. So who brought the ludrukan, his head was shaking (gela-gelo) and his feet were pounding the floor like an Ngremo dancer. Yes, that’s Ludruk, said Cak Markaban seriously, but those who were listening burst out laughing.

“Oh, oh, that’s not the case,” said Cak Kibat, a character from Ludruk Besutan who was present at the discussion. “The origin of Ludruk is molo-molo and gedrak-gedruk. It means that a bullet is talking with his mouth and his feet are stomping on the floor – banging,” he explained.

Ludruk Irama Budaya (

Okay-okay, then it’s almost the same, said Bawong from DKS (Surabaya Arts Council) who made the conclusion in a rather loud voice.

The Ludruk, said Eddy Samson, quoted by Dukut Imam Widodo in his book Soerabaia Tempo Doeloe, page 100, comes from the Dutch language.

In the past, when watching this traditional drama, many young Dutch Indo children – of course they were friends of the father or grandfather of Eddy Samson who is also Indo – who enjoyed watching it. They love it. To friends who will be invited to watch it is said: “Let’s go leuk en druk. In today’s slang: let’s not be ferdoeli, the important thing is to enjoy, be happy while watching this incredibly funny show”, that’s roughly what it means. Or our children’s slang to enjoy clubbing (a sparkling world) or (a happy world).

Well, here it is, if that’s the case, the art existed before, but it didn’t have a “standard” name. Then the Dutch word “Leuk en Druk” was born. Over time, leuk en druk was adopted as the language here, namely Ludruk. Ah, wallauhualam bisssawaaab!

What is clear, in practice, ludruk is to make people laugh, happy and even if they are insinuated they should not be angry. The heart can be hot, the head can stay cool. Not like Nippon who tortured Cak Durationm.

Ludruk Art at a Glance

In 1994, there were only 14 traveling ludruk groups left. They play in villages that do not have electricity at a rate of Rp. 350. This group is supported by 50 people. 60 players. Their income is very minimal, namely: Rp. 1500 to 2500 per night. When the show is quiet, they are forced to take cash to be able to eat in the village.

When James L Peacok (1963-1964) conducted a research on ludruk in Surabaya, there were 594 groups. According to the Ministry of Education and Culture of East Java Province, after 1980 it increased to 789 groups (84/85), 771 groups (85/86), 621 groups (86/87) and 525 (8788). Suwito HS, a ludruk artist from Malang, said that there are no more than 500 groups because many group members have up to five groups.

Is this ludruk player male or female? (

According to Suripan Sadi Hutomo’s research results, according to the Javanansch Nederduitssch Woordenboekv dictionary by Gencke and T Roorda (1847), Ludruk means Grappermaker (clown). Another source states that ludruk means female dancer and badhut means comedian in WJS Poerwadarminta’s work, Bpe Sastra (1930). Meanwhile, according to S.Wojowasito (1984) that the word badhut has been known by the people of East Java since 760 AD during the Kanjuruhan Malang kingdom with its king Gajayana, a dance artist who left memories of the Badhut temple.

Ludruk did not just form, but underwent a long metamorphosis. We do not have sufficient data to reconstruct such a long time, but Mr. Hendricus Supriyanto tried to establish, based on sources who were still alive until 1988, that ludruk as a folk theater was started in 1907, by Mr. Santik from Ceweng village, Goda sub-district, Jombang district.

Starting from the art of singing, which contains simple verses and beats, Pak Santik befriends Pak Pono and Pak Amir travels from village to village. Pak Pono wears women’s clothes and his face is made up of scribbles to make it look funny. From here the audience gave birth to the word Wong Lorek.. Due to variations in language, the word lorek changed to the word Lerok..

Lerok Besud Period (1920 – 1930)

Lerok (

The art that comes from singing is well received by the audience. In its development, it is often invited to fill weddings and other folk parties.

The next show there is a change, especially in the events that are presented. At the beginning of the event, an offering ceremony was held. The offering is in the form of respect to the four wind directions or the four Qiblas, then a show is held. The main player wears a red Turkish hat, without or wearing a long-sleeved white shirt and black suit pants. From here, the acronym Mbekta evolved, which means to carry a meaning, which eventually changed the designation of lerok to lerok besutan.

The Lerok and Ludruk Period (1930 – 1945)

The period of lerok besut flourished in 1920-1930, after that time many ludruk appeared in the East Java area. The term ludruk itself is more determined by the people who have broken the term lerok. The names lerok and ludruk continued to coexist since their emergence until 1955, then the community and the supporting artists tended to choose ludruk.

Contemporary with the struggle of Dr. Soetomo in the political field who founded the Great Indonesia Party, in 1933 Cak Durationm founded Ludruk Oraganizatie (LO). It was Ludruk who pioneered the performance of ludruk play and was very famous for his courage in criticizing the governments of both the Netherlands and Japan.

Ludruk at this time functioned as entertainment and a means of enlightenment to the people, by ludruk players it was used to convey messages of preparation for Independence, with the culmination of events due to the Jula Juli song which became a legend in all Ludruk groups in Indonesia, namely:

“Bekupon Omahe Doro, Melok Nipon Soyo Sengsoro…..cak Durationm and friends were arrested and imprisoned by the Japanese”

Ludruk period of independence (1945 – 1965)

Ludruk at this time serves as entertainment and a means of information to the people, to convey messages of development. At the time of Ludruk the famous was Marhaen. belonging to the Indonesian Communist Party. Therefore, it is not surprising that the PKI at that time easily influenced the people, where ludruk was used as a mouthpiece for the PKI to mobilize masses for the purpose of rebellion. The Madiun incident in 1948 and the G-30 S 1965 were the pinnacle of the PKI’s hypocrisy.

Ludruk really has a place in the people of East Java. There are two very famous ludruk groups, namely: Ludruk Marhaen and Ludruk Tresna Enggal.

Ludruk Marhaen has played at the State Palace 16 times, this shows how close the ludruk artists are to the decision makers in this country. Ludruk also had the opportunity to entertain the fighters to reclaim Irian Jaya, TRIKORA II B, who received an award from the commander of Mandala (Soeharto). Ludruk is leaning more to the left… so when the G 30 S PKI incident happened, Ludruk was disbanded.

Ludruk Period Post G 30 S PKI (1965 – Present)

The PKI G30S incident really played a role in the perpetuation of the Ludruk groups, especially those affiliated with the PKI People’s Cultural Institute. There was a vacuum between 1965-1968. After that a new policy emerged regarding ludruk groups in East Java.

The smelting of ludruk was coordinated by the Armed Forces, in this case DAM VIII Brawijaya, this smelting process took place between 1968-1970.

1. Ex-Ludruk marhaen in Surabaya was merged into Ludruk Wijaya Kusuma unit I
2. Ex-Ludruk Anogara Malang was merged into Ludruk Wijaya Kusuma Unit II
3. Ex-Ludruk Uril A Malang was merged into Ludruk Wijaya Kusuma unit III, fostered by Korem 083 Baladika Jaya Malang
4. Ex-Ludruk Tresna Enggal Surabaya was merged into Ludruk Wijaya Kusuma unit IV
5. Ex-Ludruk Kartika in Kediri was merged into Ludruk Kusuma unit V

In various areas ludruk-ludruk was fostered by ABRI, until 1975. After that they returned to the group of independent ludruk artists until now. With the bitter experience that has been felt as a result of this art, Ludruk for a long time did not come to the surface as a comprehensive figure of art. At this time ludruk really became a means of entertainment. So that the younger generation who are not steeped in history will recognize ludruk as a comedy troupe. Every East Javanese, especially Surabaya, must know Markeso, Kartolo et al. Try to pay attention to how they play Ludruk. So far, only a few people know about it. What animal is that ludruk? .. Like a car, it all depends on the driver, if the driver is straight, the road is straight, but if the driver deviates, sleeps, etc., we can see and predict what will happen.

Source: Culture of our country