Features🇵🇹 Portugal

🇵🇹 The Black Mamba: “We were about to participate last year”

The band reveal that they were originally supposed to participate in Festival da Canção 2020

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of [virtually] sitting down with the winners of Festival da Canção 2021 – Miguel, Marco, Pedro and Guilherme from The Black Mamba. In this interview, we discussed the reaction to “Love Is On My Side”, their writing process, the recent changes to Festival da Canção and their hopes and expectations for Eurovision.

The Black Mamba will be performing in the second half of semi-final two on Thursday 20 May 2020 with “Love Is On My Side”. This will be the first time Portugal has sent a song entirely in English in 53 years of participation.

You can watch our full interview below:

Reception to their win

Many international viewers were surprised by the final result, but voting figures revealed that the band had been frontrunners from the start, having won the first semi-final. The always believed they had a strong entry, however they also knew that Portugal had never sent a song in English to Eurovision before.

We were very surprised to have such support from the audience because we had other contestants that have a lot of followers. That was one of the factors that we weren’t expecting. We knew that the audience liked us, but it was a surprise.

Drummer Miguel Casais on the surprising level of support from the Portuguese public

Fate is on their side?

After Carolina Deslandes revealed that she had been approached by RTP before, I asked The Black Mamba the same question. To my surprise, they revealed that they had been approached to participate in 2020 and only didn’t take part because of touring commitments. They also revealed that “Love Is On My Side” had already been written a year ago.

We were about to participate last year, but we couldn’t because we were touring during the winter to celebrate our 10th anniversary, to the invite kept to this year. We’re happy we did it, it worked well I guess.

Lead singer Pedro Tatanka on their near-miss

The song was a product of a few writing sessions following a trip to the Netherlands back in 2018, particularly the “unique characters” they came across in Amsterdam’s Red Light District.

Impact of RTP’s changes

As with most of my conversations with Portuguese friends and artists, I asked the band for their reflections on the changes RTP made to Festival da Canção following Salvador’s win. They noted that these changes had been implemented the year prior in fact, which is how Salvador’s participation came about in the first place.

For most of us and most of the musicians in Portugal, after winning Eurovision it adds so much hype all around the world. After that, everyone wants to be part of Eurovision and Festival da Canção. For me and for us, it was a big important part. I think RTP changed the concept the festival and brought more new artists and indie artists.

Keyboard player Guilherme ‘Gui’ Salgueiro on the impact of recent changes to Festival da Canção

On this note, I asked each member to share a recommendation of a Portuguese artist for fans across the continent and beyond to discover.

Hopes and expectations for Eurovision

My final question to the band was their hopes and expectations for May. Aside from the obvious excitement around millions of people across the continent hearing their song and presenting international opportunities, they are looking forward to the experience itself.

I have zero expectations, I just want to have fun with my friends…and write some music there.

Keyboard player Guilherme ‘Gui’ Salgueiro on the impact of recent changes to Festival da Canção

However, there was also a sense of responsibility to the Portuguese people who voted for them to do them proud and get a good result for their country.

From now on we represent the Portuguese people, we’re not only representing ourselves and that’s a big burden to carry. But we’re very confident in our abilities to do that really well.

Lead singer Pedro Tatanka on the responsibility of representing the Portuguese people

What do you think of “Love Is On My Side”? Are you rooting for The Black Mamba in Rotterdam? Let us know! Be sure to stay updated by following @ESCXTRA on Twitter@escxtra on Instagram and liking our Facebook page for the latest updates! Also, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to see our reactions to the news in the upcoming months.

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