Mama Lisa's World
International Music & Culture
Lenggang Lenggang Kangkung
(Indonesian Folk Song)


Sammy sent the song "Lenggang Lenggang Kangkung" with a note: "It is very popular with children and adults alike. The topic is about a water spinach which is a favorite dish of the people in Southeast Asian countries…

Kangkung is a semi aquatic plant that grows on the river banks or lakes in many countries in South-east Asia, of which Indonesia is the largest since it consists of 17,000 islands and a population of 240 million. It is called the Ipomoea Aquatica, or Water Spinach and also known as Water Morning Glory, because it has flowers that are similar to the morning glory in shape and color.

The phrase 'Lenggang kangkung' has also the meaning of being leisurely and being idle or walking in a slow and peaceful gait."

Lenggang Lenggang Kangkung
Carefree Kangkung
Folk Song
(Bahasa Indonesia)
Folk Song

1. Lenggang lenggang kangkung, Kangkung di tepi kali 2x
Begitulah kalau punya kekasih yang cantik sekali. 2x

2. Lenggang lenggang kangkung. Kangkung membawa untung. 2x
Beginilah nasib kalau punya kekasih yang jauh dimata. 2x

3. Lenggang lenggang kangkung. Kangkung di rawa-rawa 2x
Begitulah kalau punya kekasih yang suka cemburu. 2x

4. Lenggang lenggang kangkung. Kangkung membawa untung. 2x
Begini nasib kalau punya kekasih jauh dimata. 2x

1. Carefree in a leisurely way, kangkung* by the river side. 2x
That's just my real fate for having a sweetheart who is very pretty. 2x

2. Carefree in a leisurely way, kangkung which brings me luck, 2x
That's my real fate for having a lover so far away. 2x

3. Carefree in a leisurely way, kangkung on the paddy fields, 2x
That's just my real fate, for having a lover that is so jealous. 2x

4. Carefree in a leisurely way, kangkung growing in the swamps, 2x
That's just my real fate, for having a lover that's so far away. 2x


*Water spinach

I asked Sammy if the phrase, "Lenggang Lenggang Kangkung" is describing a person strolling along or is it describing the water spinach plant swaying. He wrote, "It is describing both, and if you want to be exact, you must mention the way the Kangkung, or water spinach with its long floating stem swaying gently and in a leisurely way on the rivers or lakes, gently swaying as they are blown by the wind or moved by the current underneath.

The word 'lenggang kangkung' literally refers to a person who strolls leisurely and without a single care, as if he or she owns eternity. This is a description of the peaceful and serene life in the beautiful life in the villages of Indonesia."


People dance while swaying their hips to this song. If anyone would like to describe the dance more fully, please email me. Thanks! Mama Lisa


Sammy wrote: "Indonesia is very unique, because they occupy the largest archipelago in the world, comprising of 17,000 (seventeen thousand islands), so the dialects of the country are so many that they are actually like a mini United Nations.
I like to learn languages. And I studied linguistics at the Macquarie University for my postgraduate studies. In one class I argued with my friends who thought that the dialects of Indonesia are only slight variations of the national language, Bahasa Indonesia.
But actually there are much-much more differences between the dialects of Indonesia than between Dutch, English and German for instance, or between Italian, Spanish and Portuguese, for instance.

They also have very rich collection of poetry, and songs."

Sammy sent a link to a video of this song with the note, "Enclosed is also a video of the song sung by Stanley Power, who loved Indonesia very much... On the video you can also see the various dishes that can be made from the water spinach, and the map of Indonesia with its 5 major islands and about 17,000 islands."

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Sammy Li Wei Long for contributing and translating this song and for the interesting commentary.

Terima kasih banyak!

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