Accepted Paper:

Technologies of musical enchantment: understanding 'manele' in neo-liberal Romania  
Victor A. Stoichita (CNRS (LESC/CREM))

Paper long abstract:

In Romania, the manele have been a popular and controversial musical genre for the last 20 years. They are linked to several "immoral" things like sensuality, quick money making, pride, ambition and violence. They are also linked with low education status and Gypsy ethnicity (although most manele lovers are Romanians). Such arguments are typically based on the lyrics of the songs, and the iconography of the recorded media. This paper will focus on the instrumental aspects of the manele: accompaniment of the voice, choruses, instrumental tunes. It will consider primarily their performance by professional musicians in live settings, such as weddings, christenings and political meetings.

I will argue that music, and especially manele, are best studied as "technologies of enchantment", in a theoretical framework adapted from A. Gell's proposals. I will focus on some enchantment techniques used in manele music, and on the specific emotions they allow the listeners to embody.

Panel W020
Crises, imagination, and beyond: bringing aesthetics back into the anthropology of (popular) music