Deconstructing Manele – Nu-i Carutza Ca Mertanu

I’ve been wanting to break down this song for a long time – it’s full of hilarious Gypsy slang and is a funny, silly song by Nicolae Guta.

It has ALL the classic elements of a good Guta video: showing off money (wife slipping Euros in her pocket), total over the top brazenness (putting a radar detector on his horse’s muzzle), gypsies dancing and having a super time and the whole works. My favorite bit of this video is the sullen old lady wearing a black jacket and black head scarf (around 0:53 mark) looking like “how the hell did I get in this video?” LOL

Romanian Literal English Regular English
(bis) (chorus) (chorus)
Nu-i caruta ca Mertanul No is the wagon like the Mertan My wagon is not quite like a Mercedes
doar cu ea imi castig banul only with here to me I win the money (but) using just my wagon I make money.
e descurcaret tiganul the Gypsy is enterprising This gypsy uses his ingenuity
nu face tigania no does Gypsy-dom and all of the Gypsies around can’t
cat face caruta mea how much does wagon mine make as much money as I do with my wagon.
(vers 1) (first verse) (first verse)
Am o tiganca desculta I have a Gypsy woman with no shoes I’ve got me a barefoot Gypsy woman
si cea mai tare caruta and that most strong wagon and the coolest wagon around.
si moare tigania and die Gypsy-dom And all of the Gypsies are dying of envy
ca mi-am pus radar pe ea that me I have put radar on her because I put a radar detector on it.
taga daga daga da lala … opa asa … (la la la la yippy) (la la la la yippy)
(vers 2-a) (verse 2) (verse 2)
Am caruta de viteza I have wagon of speed My wagon zips along
si ma bate vantu-n freza and me hits the wind in the haircut and the wind blows my hair back.
m-am incarcat de lovele me have loaded up with kale I make fat stacks of cash
numai cu un cal putere with only one horse power with only one horse power
(vers 3-a) (verse 3) (verse 3)
Moare tigania moare die, Gypsydom, die Hey Gypsies, check it out
mi-am pus si retrovizoare me I have put also rear looker I also installed a rear-view mirror
si la mine in caruta and at the me in the wagon and while driving my wagon
canta maneaua lui guta sing a maneaua of guta I sing a manele song by Guta

The funniest slang in this whole thing is the “Mertanu” part which is apparently how some Romanians completely mispronounce the word “Mercedes”. In fact, “Mertanu” is now almost just generic slang for a luxury vehicle from any company.

BTW, I always play this song during parties after everyone is drunk and no longer watching carefully if a certain sneaky, prankster American is around LOL – but you know what? This song is awesome to dance to and everyone has a great time.

5 thoughts on “Deconstructing Manele – Nu-i Carutza Ca Mertanu

  1. ‘My wagon is not quite like a Mercedes’. No, no, no ! ‘There’s no ( better ) Mercedes than the wagon’, or otherwise ‘Wagons are the best Mercedes’.


  2. Well, “Mertan” is rather a term of endearment (like Chevy) than a mispronunciation, although most Romanians, including Mercedes owners, do indeed mispronounce the full name of this brand (pronouncing the “c” as “ch”, not as “ts”, as it is proper according to German phonetic rules). In fact, the form “Mertan” (Mertsan) does more justice to the original pronunciation in this regard:).


  3. :)) this is not exactly a “manea”, by the sound of it. Only the lyrics. I’d say it’s “etno-dance” / modern lăutărească :p – more bearable than true manele.


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