FeaturesRotterdam 2021

🇵🇹 The Black Mamba: “The feedback from Portugal has been really amazing” [INTERVIEW]

We catch up with The Black Mamba ahead of their semi final performance on Thursday!

Back in March, 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. This week, I caught up with the band (including Rui this time!) live from Rotterdam, to gauge how they’re feeling about the contest ahead of their semi final. We chatted about how it felt to be back in the Netherlands, the reception to their staging and the inspiration behind “Love Is On My Side”.

The Black Mamba will be performing in 12th in semi-final two on Thursday 20 May 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:

Reaction to their staging

Despite being very much ‘on the bubble’ prior to rehearsals, the reveal of their intimate and moving stage show has pushed them up into the top 10 of the odds to qualify from their semi. In fact, at the time of writing they are now 8th in their semi to qualify.

We did this brainstorm back in Lisbon with members of our delegation. We wanted to see part of the story represented in the graphics. We sent them the ideas we had about having the Amsterdam skyline buildings, that kinda Chicago old school from the 50s kinda mood from those jazz clubs. Gravity came up with this staging and did an amazing job. We’re very excited and glad they did it.

Lead singer Pedro Tatanka on their staging

Those in the press centre were impressed by the staging, so much so that they came second in our day 7 press poll following their second rehearsal. I asked the band about how their staging came together, which was a highly collaborative process.

Support from Portugal

A big part of our previous conversation was about their surprise at how much the Portuguese public got behind them during Festival da Canção, especially with a song in English. This time, I asked them how the reaction has been from Portugal since arriving in the Netherlands.

The feedback from Portugal has been really amazing. Everybody’s loving it and giving us lots of love. So we are very thrilled and happy to be here, and confident also.

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

Being back in the place the entry was born in

As I learned from our previous interview, “Love Is On My Side” was conceived in a trip to Amsterdam. I asked how it felt to be back in the country. Despite being in hotel quarantine for the most part, they have kept busy by filming a video for their upcoming single “Crazy Nando”, which comes out on Friday. They also gave us a teaser, they got the chance to flex their acting chops for the first time!

It’s kind of magical, you know. We’d love to go back there, to Amsterdam, we’re probably gonna do that as soon as the restrictions pass.

Lead singer Pedro Tatanka on how it feels to be back in the country their entry was born

Although we know that the person who inspired “Love Is On My Side” will likely have no idea that they are the muse of a Eurovision entry, and that their likeness will be immortalised as part of this performance, I asked the band what they would say to them if, by some miracle, they become aware of their inadvertent contribution to the contest. To that, Pedro simply said “thank you for existing”.

Future Festival da Canção participation?

With RTP using a mostly invite-only selection for the line-up of Festival da Canção, I wanted to know if any of the band have any artists or composers in mind that they would put forward for next year’s festival. To my surprise, his bandmates put forward their very own Marco Pombinho as a potential composer!

Marco is an incredible composer. He will enter the next Festival da Canção for sure, he just doesn’t know it yet!

The Black Mamba offering their very own Marco as a composer for next year’s festival

Although he doesn’t yet know which artist he would approach to sing a potential composition for the festival, I will be watching like a hawk to see if his name does in fact appear on the composer’s list later this year.

In the meantime, we wish The Black Mamba the best of luck! Ahead of their performance on Thursday, check out a clip from their performance below:

Will you rooting for The Black Mamba on Thursday? 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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