Irma Bule — an Indonesian pop star — passed away on April 4 after being bitten by a king cobra during an onstage performance. Bule, 29, was performing at a Karawang West Java Concert, reported US Weekly. Bule — known for performing with pythons that have their jaws taped shut — may have not been aware that the untaped snake was a cobra, reported Daily Mail. The singer leaves behind a husband (factory worker) and three children: Flowers, 8, Rose, 6, and Kiran, 4.
The Jakarta police is “investigating the incident and have asked people in the audience for information,” reported US Magazine.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Bule Is Known for Using Snakes During Her Performances
Bule — a famous musician in the Indonesian folk music genre — was notorious for incorporating cobras, boa constrictors and pythons into her performances, reported Mashable. Encum — Bule’s mother — told Daily Mail that her daughter “always used a python but this time a cobra was provided by the show’s organisers.”
My daughter might not have known that the snake that was given to her for the show was a dangerous cobra. She was told she could wear it, even though its mouth was not closed with duct tape.
2. Bule Continued Singing 45 Minutes After the Deadly Bite
According to a Merdeka.com, the king cobra — named Rianti — was around Bule’s neck when she sang and danced to organ music during her first song. The king cobra was later placed in a sack before being taken out of it again. Despite being bitten in the thigh by Rianti, Bule thought that the venomous snake was de-fanged, even refusing an antidote by snake charmers, reported the site.
Bule carried on with her performance for 45 more minutes after receiving the deadly bite. She later joked with friends backstage that she didn’t feel any pain. However, shortly after, she began vomiting, having seizures and collapsing into unconsciousness. Bule
was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
Fernando Octavion Auzura — an audience member — described to the site the moment that the Indonesian singer was bitten.
“In the middle of Irma’s second song, Irma stepped on the snake’s tail. The snake then bit Irma in her thigh.”
3. Bule Ran a Separate Business Selling Shoes & Clothing for Other Performers
Encum described Bule as someone that was shy in demeanor and seldom went out. However, she did mention to the site that her daughter had several friends.
“She was really a lonely female figure.”
Furthermore, Encum stated that her daughter had the entrepreneurial spirit, selling clothing and shoes to her fellow performers.
4. Bule Was Popular in Indonesia’s Karawang and Purwakarta Districts
The West Java province is divided into cities and regencies which are then split up into districts; also referred to as kecamatan. Bule was well-known in two of those districts; Karawang and Purkarta.
Encum spoke to Merdeka.com about how Bule became popular in Karawag and Purwakarta by using snakes as part of her onstage routine; something she did for years.
“I don’t know what started her off using a snake, but she would wrap it around her neck while dancing and sometimes she would wrap it around the music player.”
5. King Cobras Are One of the Deadliest Snakes in the World
King cobras are considered one of the deadliest snakes in existence. They can grow from 18.5 to 18.8 feet and predominantly reside in the forests of Southeast Asia, southern China and India. There is enough potency in their toxins to kill 20 humans, or an elephant. However, the reptiles mainly preys on other snakes and sometimes on other vertebrates, including rodents and lizards. King cobras usually avoid interacting with humans.
The snakes are considered culturally significant, having many legends and Hindu god associations. Their skin color can be tan, black or olive green with pale yellow cross bands down their bodies. Their scales are smooth in texture while their bellies can be pale-yellow or cream. Their heads are usually massive and bulky. Furthermore, they can widen their jaws to swallow large prey.