Romania Entry: Mandinga - Zaleilah

31 May Critic Jonni 0 Comments

Mandinga represented Romania in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2012. The band has been around since 2002 but in 2006 they split and reformed with a new front singer. Unfortunately there is a rule with Eurovision saying that only 6 people can be on stage during an act's performance, so someone had to stay backstage. The 7 band members are: Elena Ionescu, Alex, Chupi, Zach (Valle), El Nino, Omar Secada and Tony. Been searching for hours for last names so if anyone can find them out for me with sources I'll be very grateful... So Romanian music has hit big here in the UK, with the likes of Inna (who was nearly the Eurovision act to come from Romania), and Alexandra Stan, will this band follow in their footsteps?

"Zaleilah" was written by Consti Ioniţǎ, Elena Ionescu and Omar Secada. Zaleilah is the dance they perform in the music video, and the verses is about Elena and her love interest, which is sung in Spanish. The fact that the band helped to write the song, is what makes it so much more interesting, as they believe what they are singing and would have performed it to the best of their ability. I like how it's a two-language song, and having English for its chorus and the bridge, makes it that little bit special. This is definitely my favourite song, and if it were down to me, the UK would have given this 12 points, but no matter how many times I voted for this band, the UK didn't award any points at all, which was quite disappointing. Romania came 12th in the Eurovision, but clearly deserved to be in the top 10. Funnily enough, in 2009 Elena Gheorghe represented Romania. Elena is an ex-member of Mandinga. She only managed to get to number 19th, whereas Mandinga got 12th, and 31 points more than what Elena did...

This music video is full of everything, there is a narrative with that purple ring, there are performance pieces, there is choreography, and even more there is scenes that doesn't relate, but fits well with the verses of the song. Usually this is what makes a good music video, but is it too much information? Is there too much going on for one person to handle?

Let's start off with the performance piece, I love how there is bagpipes from the start, and that they are performing on a stage. I also like the fact that each member of the band is included, and although focus is on Elena Ionescu, the other band members do get scenes. And how can you not love the choreography? It's easy to follow, and I can't stop doing the Zaleilah whenever it come on.

The narrative is a little different, you follow the ring, but it's not as clear to see what the storyline is. Clearly it is a special ring, that flashes due to light, but what does it do? We find that out at the end, but I don't think we know enough about it to be perfectly honest. And the sexy scenes of Elena, made me think it was Inna when I first saw it on the music channels, as it's sort of a typical Inna music video scene. I love how they are transported to Baku, Azerbaijan with the ring, it's quite clever.

Overall a great song that I can't get enough of, but it's accompanying music video is better than most Eurovision music videos, I just don't know how you can refuse to do the Zaleilah, as it's quite easy to do. I wish Mandinga the best of luck, in the future. They should be a hit in the UK, but it doesn't look like this song is going to chart, which is unfortunate. I hope they return to the UK, and give it one big shot.