Indonesian singer performing with king cobra dies after being bitten onstage

karawang (West Java)
—An Indonesian singer known for performing with live snakes has died after being bitten by a king cobra onstage.
Irma Bule, 29, is not a household name in the English-speaking world. But in Indonesia, she is known as a singer of dangdut, a pop fusion of folk, South Asian film music, and rock and roll that rose to prominence in the 1980s.
Though once banned by the government, the style is now considered passe — so much so that Bule’s penchant for performing with king cobras (Ophiophagus hannah), reticulated pythons (Python reticulatus) and boa constrictors, as Reptiles Magazine noted, was thought a bit of a “gimmick” that brought a grisly end.
“Dangdut is such an oversaturated musical genre in Indonesia that it’s not surprising how many artists employ gimmicks in their act to stand out from the rest,” Cocunuts Jakarta, one of a network of sites that covers urban areas in Asia, wrote. “Unfortunately, dangdut singer Irma Bule’s deadly gimmick, combined with her dedication to showmanship, led to her untimely death.”
Bule was performing in a village in West Java when she was presented with a king cobra that was supposed to have been defanged. It was not.
“My daughter might not have known that the snake that was given to her for the show was a dangerous cobra,” Bule’s mother, Encum, told an Indonesian outlet quoted by the Daily Mail. (Indonesians sometimes do not have surnames.) “She was told she could wear it, even though its mouth was not closed with duct tape.”
This information proved tragically wrong. “In the middle of the second song, Irma stepped on the snake’s tail,” Ferlando Octavion Auzura, who witnessed the attack, told an Indonesian news outlet. “The snake then bit Irma in her thigh.” —WP

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