Slavic Research Scholar Margaret Beissinger Has New Book on Balkan Music

 Manele in Romania: Cultural Expression and Social Meaning in Balkan Popular Music
Thursday, September 15, 2016

Margaret Beissinger, a research scholar and lecturer in the department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, has a new book that she co-edited entitled Manele in Romania: Cultural Expression and Social Meaning in Balkan Popular Music, published by Rowman & Littlefield.  

This edited volume examines manele (sing. manea), an urban Romanian song-dance ethnopop genre that combines local traditional and popular music with Balkan and Middle Eastern elements. The genre is performed primarily by male Romani musicians at weddings and clubs and appeals especially to Romanian and Romani youth. It became immensely popular after the collapse of communism, representing for many the newly liberated social conditions of the post-1989 world. But manele have also engendered much controversy among the educated and professional elite, who view the genre as vulgar and even “alien” to the Romanian national character. The essays collected here examine the “manea phenomenon” as a vibrant form of cultural expression that engages in several levels of social meaning, all informed by historical conditions, politics, aesthetics, tradition, ethnicity, gender, class and geography.

As the contributing editor, Beissinger wrote the introduction, a chapter on manele in the Balkan context (with discussions especially of Serbian turbo-folk and Bulgarian chalga), and a chapter on the plight of manele -- a primarily urban genre -- in village performance. 

Visit the Rowman & Littlefield for more information about the book.