He’s the Suriname-born singer who is fast becoming a star in the Netherlands. But Jeangu Macrooy — the country’s Eurovision 2021 singer — is also a fighter and someone who understands dislocation. Gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, birthplace, belief — there are endless reasons why people may try to push him or anyone else down. His song “Birth of a New Age” acknowledges the difficulties — but inspires people to push past the shade, all to the infectious chant, “Your rhythm is rebellion.”
“They spat on your crown and they poisoned your ground,” he sings. “They burned your heroes at the stake, your voice will echo all their names, this ain’t the end, it’s the birth of a new age.”
As media pundits talk of a splintered Europe and culture wars that rage around the world, his message is as timely as it is optimistic.
Jeangu Macrooy debuts “Birth of a New Age”
Speaking to Dutch Eurovision commentator Cornald Maas during the livestream reveal, Jeangu applauded everyone with the courage to speak up and stand tall.
“The song is an ode to everyone who stands up for themselves and dares to celebrate the power of their authenticity.”
The song draws much of its fire from Jeangu’s mother tongue Sranan Tongo. These lyrics are chanted by Jeangu and his backing vocalists, creating an anthemic feel that gives this a spiritual vibe. The words derive from a Surinamese saying: “Mi Na Afu Sensi, No Wan Man E Broko Mi” or “I’m half a cent, you can’t break me”. That’s a reference to the lowest denomination of currency in Suriname, which can’t be broken into smaller coins. In effect, that means you can’t tear him apart.
Jeangu was thrilled to perform his song along with the ZO! Gospel Choir. He was backed by three percussionists and his entire band.
“As an artist, there’s nothing I like more than performing. So it was really awesome to be able to present the song live on such a grand scale.”