Okay, let's see if having some access to a network and being privilidged helps any, eh?
Dan Bursuc (top left) is manele's most prolific and successful producer by a long shot. He dominates the market completely, with upwards of 60-70% of the revenue stream according to some sources, and has been the kingmaker behind almost all of manele's huge stars today, from Florin Salam to Nicolae Guta.
I've interviewed him several times during the past week. He's an open, larger-than-life man with a sharp sense of business and marketing, and is extremely proud of his Roma (and ultimately Indian) heritage. As I left, I asked if there's anything I could do for him, and he asked me to see if I could locate a certain type of musician on very short notice.
Dan Bursuc is looking for an English-language rapper (or deejay, or grime mc - the styles flow into each other in Romania). Skillful is good, famous is absolutely not necessary. In his words: "preferably black"*. The rapper has to be willing to learn to perform a verse in Romani. And he's trying to find one by next week, to guest on the supremely talented future-of-manele whizkid Lele's upcoming album.
Bursuc will pay for transport and accomodation. I've got friends in Romania who will happily help translate and interpret.
Anyone got any ideas who would fit into this role, and would like to stay a few days in beautiful sunny Bucharest? I'm a touch ambivalent at manele being sucked into the whole hip global circus, but on the other hand they're really reaching out and the new stuff I heard in the studio is brilliant, connecting beautifully to both tradition and modernity.
* As I read it, this is not an expression of racist tokenism as it often would be. The Roma in Romania feel an enormous kinship to African-Americans specifically, with whom they share a similar history of slavery, segregation and racial discrimination.
2017 with feeling
1 week ago