3. Psychedelic, progressive and manele
Steaua de Mare uniquely and wisely combines different music elements, from Prog to dub, from psychedelic rock to contemporary gypsy music (Manele), mainly from Romania and Bulgaria into the mix. Manele ('manea' originally meaning 'Turkish song' in Romanian) is a musical genre (already known worldwide) that has taken over the whole Balkans in the past twenty years. This music hybrid has already spawned mature voices and local heroes such as Dan Armeanca, Adrian Minune, Florin Salam, Vali Vijelie, Dan Draghici and many others.
Manele is associated with contemporary gipsy wedding music, but this is a style that has already breached the borders. Greek, Turkish and some Arabian traditional music inspire most of the melodic themes from manele. But the Romanian society doesn't really accept manele as a valid cultural product; it is accused of idiocy, of coarseness. In the common thinking, this is unrefined music, and this music kills the culture's level of quality. (cough)
There are bands like Steaua de Mare who act as a bridge between different generations and who link people with different musical tastes and different perceptions and mentalities, fighting against racism with instruments as the only weapons (since their music is only instrumental; yet.)
''Manele is still disputed nowadays, compared to a few years ago'', Andrei admits. ”Only because a few emancipated youngsters discovered the oriental fuzz in music and started to accept manele as a cool thing of today, doesn't mean that the Manele are now socially accepted. Actually it was the racism inside them, that made people hate manele, not particularly the music itself. And some people understood that racism was the reason for not accepting this music. Which is good.''
''Nevertheless, there is still a problem listening, or playing manele as a DJ'', says Ion. ''I recently played in a festival, which took place on a platform of the North train station from Bucharest, and some chief from the railway came and asked me to stop this crap. It was absurd.''
''It's just like here, at this festival, which is so called a Balkan festival, but there aren't any gipsy ambassadors. Manele is contemporary Balkan music. I noticed that the white society (or people) who organize the event in town only accept the old gipsy guy signing on wood, but not also the contemporary gipsy guy singing manele with a 5000 euro keyboard'', adds Andrei.
''This is not a matter of whether you like this music or you don't'', says Ion D. ''But manele has the right to be treated equally as any style of music.'' ''And it's not fair for the entire music industry, to say that the lyrics from manele are stupid, wrong and indecent'', Andrei adds.