Manele and the Hegemony of “Good Taste”

Great blog post – I used to listen to manele quite a lot not long ago and was always puzzled by the love/hate attitude Romanians were displaying about them.

ROMEDIA FOUNDATION

In November 2010, the National Council for the Audio-visual (CNA) argued in front of the Culture Committee of the Romanian Parliament’s lower house for the changing of the “must carry” provisions of the Audio-visual Law, which made it mandatory for cable providers to include the most popular stations in their basic package. The reason for this proposed change: the realization that among the top 15 most popular TV stations, two were exclusively dedicated to “manele”, Romania’s own brand of Balkan-influenced Turbo-folk. The Council’s reasoning was that failure to change the law would be “forcing manele into people’s homes”.

by Mihai-Alexandru Ilioaia

Following their rise of popularity two decades ago, manele have been hated by the generally West-gazing middle classes and the cultural establishment, being described by both the media and public intellectuals as the musical equivalent of “burping contests”, “perverting the taste of the population” or “gypsy filth”. Associated with…

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