It was a sad day in Lisbon on Friday 22nd November, as Portugal mourned the loss of celebrated Angolan singer Eduardo Nascimento. He represented the Iberian country at Eurovision 1967 in Vienna.
Eduardo Nascimento — Eurovision’s first black male performer
His Eurovision entry, “O vento mudou” (The Wind Changed) is historically significant for two reasons. Firstly, at the time he scored Portugal’s best ever result, finishing in joint 12th place.
Secondly, his participation made him the first-ever black man to sing at Eurovision.
His appearance came a year after Milly Scott, a Dutch singer of Surinamese origin, represented the Netherlands in Luxembourg City. She finished in 15th place. She was the first black woman, and black performer, to sing at Eurovision.
Born in then Portuguese Angola in 1943, Nascimento moved to mainland Portugal in the mid-60s to perform with his band Os Rocks, releasing the well-received EPs, Wish I May in 1966 and Don’t Blame Me, in 1968, before returning to Angola in 1969.
The impact of Nascimento’s performance at Eurovision can be felt across the Eurovision community and in Portugal, with the much-loved singer even making a guest appearance at Festival da Cancao 2019.
Nascimento paved the way for a host of black male artists to take to the Eurovision stage, including the likes of France’s Jessy Matador, Johnny Manuel and Trey Campbell of Bulgaria’s Equinox and Sweden’s John Lundvik.
Nascimento even lived to see the first and only black man so-far win Eurovision in 2001, when Dave Benton took the title alongside Tanel Padar and 2XL, representing Estonia with the entry Everybody.
May he rest in peace.