When the list of finalists in Romania was initially released, there was quite a buzz going on with regards to the fact that one of the groups had a massive fan base behind them and had already gained recognition in the music industry. The group Mandinga had initally come in the top three true but did not win the playback phase of the competition but then performed great live and ended up being the winners with the song Zaleilah. In recent days, the popularity of the group has expanded far beyond Romania following two strong performances and therefore, it might be a case of a surprise at this years' music competition.
This is actually the fourteenth appearance of Romania in the Eurovision Song Contest and following years of disappoinment, they managed to succeed on a number of occasions and have not failed to make the final in any of their respective attempts. In the past two years, they finished fourth in the semi-final and one of those entries entitled Playing With Fire finished in third place in the long run giving the country the best result ever tying it with Luminita Anghel and Sistem. In this interview, Juergen Boernig and Lilian Brunell speak to the group about their experience in Baku thus far as well as their clothing selections amongst other things.
Time flies when one is having fun and in day three of our reviews, we head onto the sixth nation carefully analyzed by a set of professional individuals who hail from countries who have won the Eurovision Song Contest on more than one occasion. Together, they seem to have compiled a list of qualifiers but nevertheless, this will be revealed closer to the actual event. In the meantime though, all of the marks being presented within the reviews are an opinion on the song and not within the frame of the competition. Their chances of qualification will be rate more or less through this system but believe me, some interesting results will be noted. The sixth country is Romanian who will be represented by the group Mandinga with the song Zaleilah composed by Costi Ionita and penned by Elena Ionescu & Dihigo Omar Secada.
Mandinga is a unique band in Romania. The cultural variety, as a result of mixing Romanian and Cuban musicians, guarantees the best show on stage. The group is capable of pleasing the most heterogeneous crowds. Mandinga consists of 7 members: Elena (lead vocals), Alex (trumpet), Chupi (drums), El Niño (congas), Omar (piano), Zach (saxophone) and Tony (trombone). Only six of them will sing on the stage in Baku, Tony being just their Green Room supporter.
The band started 10 years ago. Since then they have become known as the best latino band in the country. They have released no less than four albums so far and at the moment, the band members are working on a new album which will be released soon. Mandinga's success has gone beyond the borders of Romania and that is because they were not afraid to create and launch new concepts for their shows.
Anyone who meets Mandinga can see and listen to the 7 musicians playing latino music, latin jazz, balkan salsa or even club music, as they do in their Club de Mandinga show. Any Mandinga appearance on a stage turns into a spectacular show due to the blend of sounds, virtuosity and impeccable visual construction. Mandinga is representing Romania in Eurovision Song Contest 2012, after the group received both the public and jury votes in the Romanian national selection.
The Critics Voice Their Opinion
Jan Van Dijck
- Can this song become a summer hit? Looks like Shakira’s sound in the beginning of her career. Big effort to please every European citizen. From Spanish lyrics to the sound of bag pipes. Just have my doubts where this song wants to bring us. It’s all very déjà vu. Well, here's a four (4) pointer from my end.
- Balkan party! But I would have to be quite drunk to truly appreciate this. The song too simple, the production is too bad, and I wish that the singer would spend some more time practicing her singing. It seems like she has spent too much of her time in front of the mirror rehearsing ridiculous posing. I believe that two (2) points is enough for this track.
- A summer smash song that will get a lot of people going crazy on the dancefloor. The accordion is really nice. Vocals could be better, the chorus drops a bit because of a way too relaxed performance. It still has a good melody which saves the song. I will give this six (6) points.
Composer: Costi Ionita
Authors: Elena Ionescu & Dihigo Omar Secada
Romania have been trying to achieve victory at the Eurovision Song Contest since their very first participation which came back in the year 1994 but unfortunately, they would not debut well and their first really good result would ultimately come in 2002 when the duet Tell Me Why by Marcel Pavel and Monica Anghel finished in ninth place. Since then the country has achieved much more success finishing as the second runner-up on two occasions, the first coming in 2005 with Luminita Anghel and Sistem and their song Let Me Try and the second time with Paula and Ovi and their track Playing With Fire. The country remains as one of the most successful countries holding onto the 100% qualification record from the semi-final stage of the competition. Mandinga will be holding to add to that sublime record which last year saw another two names crossed off such a list including Turkey and Armenia.