Dangdut music, a genre of soulful and sometimes sexy folk music in Indonesia, is so popular that many dangdut singers employ gimmicks in their acts to stand out from the rest. Unfortunately, dangdut singer Irma Bule’s deadly gimmick, combined with her dedication to showmanship, led to her untimely death.
On Sunday evening, the 29-year-old was performing at a village in Karawang, West Java. Irma, who was famous for dancing with snakes on stage as part of her act, brought a king cobra — still venomous and not defanged — up on stage.
“In the middle of the second song, Irma stepped on the snake’s tail. The snake then bit Irma in her thigh,” said witness Ferlando Octavion Auzura, as quoted by Merdeka yesterday.
Amateur video shows the moment the king cobra bit Irma and latched on to her for a while. A snake handler is seen pulling the snake away after some time.
Rather than seek immediate medical attention, Irma soldiered on and resumed singing on stage. Witnesses say she initially didn’t look too affected by the bite and even refused an antidote from the snake handler.
“The effects were felt 45 minutes after the bite. She vomited, had seizures, and her body seized,” Ferlando said.
Irma was then taken to a nearby hospital but unfortunately passed away soon after her arrival.
To learn more about Indonesia’s obsession with dangdut music, check out our documentary: