Sadly, it’s increasingly rare to see Adi de Vito on Romanian TV these days but at one time he was the universally acclaimed Emperor of Romania.
His real name on his passport is Adrian Simionescu, which is a fine and earthy name, but being the showbiz whiz he is (and what a showbiz whiz he is!) he decided early in his career to go by the name “Adrian Minune” which means something like “Adrian the Magnificent” (literally Wondrous Adrian).
Then he got sick of that name so he decided to change it once again to “Adrian Copilul Minune” or “Adrian the Wonder Kid” (literally Adrian the Child Wonder and not “Adrian Wonder Boy” as it says on Wikipedia LOL).
He was one of the first manele superstars of Romania back in the early days of the genre, but he never sang as a child. So why the name? Well because the guy is a midget, or a dwarf, or to use the completely correct term, a little person. See? So even though he was a grown adult, because he was short, he called himself “the kid”.
Then later on, he decided to switch his name yet again, this time to “Adi de Vito”. The name “Adi” is just the standard nickname in Romanian for people named Adrian but the “de Vito” part was in homage to the American actor Danny de Vito. I couldn’t swear this is true but I do believe he actually legally changed his last name to “De Vito” or at least he tried. No idea however if Danny has ever even heard of Adrian Minune though.
I will give Adrian credit – the guy has a voice on him. He also is an “Italian mafia” gypsy in good standing, wearing the obligatory flashy suit and abundant gold jewelry around his neck whenever he appears on stage, usually flanked by beautiful and much taller women to gyrate to his songs.
Adrian Minune’s specialty was a kind of manele singing which I call the “Heartbreak Hotel” style – almost all of his songs are either about a woman who broke his heart or else how life itself is tough and oh, woe is me, how much suffering I have suffered, lawd, lawd.
Sadly, his rise to fame occurred largely before manele singers started producing their own videos for their songs, so finding one on Youtube was tough. Below is the video for one of his most famous songs, called “Strig La Cer”, and unsurprisingly enough, is about heartbreak.
Sadly, there’s not much to see in the video other than Adi showing off his new super-tight yellow shirt and then looking sad and his ex-girlfriend looking sultry and unrepentant for breaking this poor man’s heart! Nonetheless, to get an idea of this style of singing, the lyrics have been translated for your pleasure below (by yours truly):
|Romanian||Literal English||Regular English|
|Ce asteptare fara sfarsit||That waiting without ending||The long endless days of waiting|
|Si timpul s-a oprit||And the time it has stopped||And it seems time has frozen in place|
|Cat mi-e dor de-al tau fior||How much me is missing of at your shudder||Oh how I miss the thrill of your touch|
|Ma inec si am sa mor, in lacrima de dor…||Me I drown and I have to die, in tear of missing||I feel l like I could die, drowning in the tears I cry from missing you|
|Strig la cer, indurerat!||Shout at sky painfully||Heartbroken, I cry to the heavens|
|Unde-ai plecat cui m-ai lasat?||Where you have departed who me have left?||Where have you gone, the one who abandoned me?|
|Poate in cea din urma zi||Maybe in that of following day||Maybe one day|
|Singuratatea-mi vei sfarsi||Singleness mine will terminate||My loneliness will come to an end|
Unfortunately for all of us manele fans, Adi seems to be on some kind of hiatus as it has been a while since I’ve heard him blasting from tinny mobile phone speakers in my daily treks around town. He did however appear in the 1997 film Gadjo Dilo, which is all about Gypsies and music and how totally awesome they are.
True story about how I first ever heard (of) Adrian Minune:
I was on a very long train journey, I believe going from Brasov to Cluj, but don’t quote me on that.
BTW for a background on what riding Romanian trains was like, see my post here.
Then a group of young men boarded the train and decided to liven up the journey. The first thing they did was take a boombox and plug it into the electrical outlet in the bathroom (the only place there is one) and then set the boombox at the end of the hallway, facing the passengers.
The CD they put on was all Adrian Minune songs, blaring at top volume (as is required by Manele Listening Law), severely distorting the speakers but definitely loud enough to mask the rumbling of the train. Among the songs I heard that day were “Strig La Cer” and Doua Vorbe, which were all mostly about how women suck and break your heart but gosh darn it, us men still remain so generous and loving and big-hearted nonetheless!
The boys also had a large assortment of cans of beer and decided to camp out in the hallway, turning the train into an impromptu party. There was an older couple in my compartment, who began complaining bitterly about the noise, etc but my curiosity was piqued so I ended up venturing out into the hallway and going up and talking to the guys.
As soon as they found out I was actually interested in the music, they universally hailed me as an especially fine and upstanding individual and many beers were passed back and forth and consumed in fraternal heartiness and many fine anecdotes were shared at top volume (to be heard over the music) and the trip just flew by in no time at all.
I then went home and managed to remember the names of some of the songs (as well as Adi himself) despite my ahem, inebriated state when I arrived. And that’s how I first heard of Adi Minune!
Obviously if you hate manele and don’t want to listen to it at top volume in the train, the experience wouldn’t have been quite so enjoyable. But compared to the staid, boring way most people travel long distances, you have to admit cracking open beers and blasting party music and laughing and telling jokes and befriending strangers… well it was a heck of a lot more fun for me.
So Adi Copilul Minune, wherever you are, I raise a glass in your memory!