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Romania brings the latin beat to Baku

A hit before coming to Baku, Mandinga have a popular and catchy song that they hope will do very well on the 22nd of May and hopefully again on the 26th. The band are of mixed Romanian and Cuban backgrounds, which has created a very special sound and the first rehearsal in Baku was a chance to demonstrate this. 

Calm and Collected Backstage

Backstage, Mandinga from Romania were very calm, busy with their in-ear microphone checks and talking quietly amongst themselves. Once all "rigged up" to the various equipment, we asked them what they thought people would take away from their stage performance of Zaleilah. They answered "we really hope that that people will remember the dance and that even after the competition is over, they will still sing and dance to our song"

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Fiery performance with a heart

Love and party are two very dominant themes of Romania's performance. The huge LED screens that make the backdrop to the stage in Baku light up with images of drums moving along to the beat of Zahleilah, with its very pronounced Cuban influenced sounds. 

Following on from this, the stage lights up with images of beating hearts in various colours including purples, yellows and oranges, representing the strong fiery nature of the latin beat. Towards the end of the song the purples return to give a slightly softer bridge, working up to a very festive ending with strobe lighting. 

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The choreography of the song is very interesting and resembles what can be seen in the offical preview video and the national final performance, with a few changes. The central focus of the choreography is of course the signature "heart" dance which has been designed so that fans and viewers at home can all dance along to the song, and as mentioned above hopefully will be able to remember it for a long time after the contest. 

Vocally the group were very strong with lead singer Elena Ionescu giving a very convincing performance with her impressive voice and latin inspired charm. 

During the final performance by the band, pyro effects were added to the performance as they will be on the night of the 22nd where they will perform in the first Semi-Final. To go with the previously mentioned fiery and hot performance, flames rise up from the stage in quick succession and then at the end of the performance, fireworks went off at the rear in front of the LED screens. Very impressive!

"We aim to be top 5"

When Mandinga came into the press conference they received a warm applause before the head of press introduced the band and the delegation to the waiting press. 

Before the questions started, the band came with a surprise; an acapella version of the introduction to Zaleilah

The band were asked about a flashmob that take place in the streets of Bucharest for the song to which they replied, "our aim is to bring the latin dance to Romania and people in the country know the dance now so it felt right to have a flashmob". They also went on to say, "Mandinga is a band and we are not dancers", making their performance even more impressive. 

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The team and band are very confident of their chances at the Eurovision Song Contest and the delegation have an "aim to be top five but Madinga have the aim to be the hit of Eurovision", according to the band's manager.