Country of residence

United States

Brief introduction

Research Scholar & Lecturer, Princeton University


Ph.D., Folklore, 1984, Harvard University

Academic profile

My research and teaching interests include Balkan Romani traditional culture and music-making, as well as Balkan/Slavic languages, culture, and oral traditions.  My work centers on the performance and culture of music-making among Romani traditional and popular musicians in post-communist southern Romania.  I explore how indices of identity (ethnicity, age, gender, place, class, and occupation) intersect with genre and performance, and how Romani musicians construct and uphold their identities within the family and community.  I have worked a great deal with lăutari–traditional Romani musicians who perform song and dance for a living at weddings and other family celebrations in both village and city.  I am particularly interested at present in the largely post-communist urban Romani song-dance manea (pl. manele), an immensely popular Balkan-pop genre performed almost exclusively by male Romani musicians, often called manelişti.  In addition, I am currently researching lăutari and manelişti who have converted and become evangelical Christians in post-1989 Romania and how, as musicians, they adapt to their born-again lives.  I am completing a book on culture and performance among Romani musicians in southern Romania, based on extensive fieldwork.


  • "'Muzica Orientală’: Identity and Popular Culture in Post-Communist Romania" in Balkan Popular Culture and the Ottoman Ecumene: Music, Image, and Regional Political Discourses, ed. Donna A. Buchanan.  Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2007, 95-141.
  • "Occupation and Ethnicity: Constructing Identity Among Romani (Gypsy) Musicians in Romania," Slavic Review, Vol. 60, No. 1, Spring 2001, 24-49.
  • The Art of the Lăutar: The Epic Tradition of Romania.  New York: Garland Publishing, 1991.


Romani music, performers, culture, identity

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