Well actually, this genre has been deemed "new" at least since 1989. Some say it dates back to the Ottoman times. For sure there is some tension between "modern" and "archaic" features, both in the music and in the lyrics. The tension also builds in exotic references to "the West" or "the East", in a pure orientalist style. Some Romanians seem to play their new freedoms in manele performances. Others despise them vehemently (and actually comment that the former Romanians are all "Gypsies").

A manea song sung by Cristi Nucă during a wedding in Iaşi. He is accompanied by a saxophone, an accordion and a keyboard. You can hear the "dedication" interactions between the singer and the audience. The manea is typically a live genre, best appreciated with real musicians playing for you. Should you use recordings, make sure you make them blast through your car speakers, your neigbour’s wall, etc., and that you have some friends around to enjoy collectively.

In 2009-10 I had the chance to do one full year of fieldwork in Bucharest on the manea, thanks to a grant from the New Europe College.