It’s one of the last competing songs of Eurovision 2021 to be released — and one of the most anticipated. Azerbaijan’s Efendi has released her song “Mata Hari”, telling the story of the seductive Dutch exotic dancer who was convicted for spying during World War I.

The song will not disappoint fans of Efendi’s Eurovision 2020 entry “Cleopatra”. In fact, the lyrics even throwback to the fan favourite, saying Mata Hari is “Just like Cleopatra”.

The lyrics paint a picture of the legendary seductress, saying she’s “Mesmerising / Moving my hips you are trying / You can’t resist / Try to fight it”. Azerbaijan will hope that come May, Europe will also be under the spell of “Mata Hari”.

Efendi talked about the meaning of the song for her:

“It is very important to talk about strong women in order to remind our beautiful ladies that despite the fact that we still live in a world full of prejudices, a woman can do anything and female power cannot be compared with anything. And if suddenly you do not have enough inspiration now, let the stories of strong women in history become the source of that very charge of energy with which you can cope with everything and achieve even bigger success. There is a queen in each of us and I want to remind you that it’s time to release her.”

As well as being a contemporary dance track, “Mata Hari” also makes use of traditional instruments. The song features the sounds of the instruments known in Azerbaijan as the wind instrument zurna, drum nagara and the rhythms of the Azerbaijani folk dance yalli.

The song also includes a short chanted phrase in the Azeri language — the first time this has been heard in a Eurovision entry from Azerbaijan.

Efendi – “Mata Hari”

While Efendi’s “Cleopatra” video was ambitiously set in a desert with a large cast, the “Mata Hari” video keeps it simpler — but is just as effective.

The video is filmed in a dark, illuminated by gold and blue lights. Efendi is joined by five dancers and together they work their choreography, serving seductive silhouettes.

Efendi’s journey to Eurovision 2021

Samira Efendi has long been on many fans’ wishlists to represent Azerbaijan at Eurovision. She was reportedly one of the shortlisted acts in 2019, and was finally given the ticket to Eurovision in 2020.

After much hype and speculation, Efendi’s song for Eurovision 2020 was confirmed as “Cleopatra”. The song came with a bold music video, which promised an equally thrilling live performance at Eurovision.

However, little over one week after “Cleopatra” was released, the EBU announced that, sadly, Eurovision 2020 would not go ahead. But Ictimai TV didn’t want to let go of their diva. Just two days after the cancellation, Efendi confirmed that she would be back at Eurovision 2021.

What do you think of “Mata Hari”? What sort of staging should Efendi bring to Rotterdam? Tell us your thoughts below!

Read more Azerbaijan Eurovision news here

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
280 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Andrew Trasas
Andrew Trasas
7 months ago

Let’s start a fire???

Last edited 7 months ago by Andrew Trasas
Fredrik
Fredrik
7 months ago

My favourite this year. Thinks this is much better then “Cleopatra” =)

raylee
raylee
7 months ago

How funny when people comment about their positive opinions about this song (or 2020 entry) , a group of 20 people are gathering and downvote the comment 😀 people are free about what to like and dislike. Oh i am sorry i forgot you can’t stand a country and their representative. whatever good luck Efendi , keep shining and driving these people mad !

Last edited 7 months ago by raylee
Ende
Ende
7 months ago

I loved her 2020 song but this ones tastes like a frozen pizza cooked in a microwave… so disappointing.

Last edited 7 months ago by Ende
12345
12345
7 months ago
Reply to  Ende

I so agree with this.

Fredrik
Fredrik
7 months ago
Reply to  Ende

This years song is sooo much better

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
7 months ago

This is a lot of fun, although it does suffer a bit from being Cleopatra’s B-side. (For those of you who don’t know what a B-side is… how young you are.) Efendi is very good live, so there is a chance she can pull this one off. But, given the high number of uptempo numbers this year, Azerbaijan might struggle a little with a mid-tempo homage to someone who died by firing squad.

Alex
Alex
7 months ago

this is cleopatra pt 2 but messier.

i love cleopatra bc it’s very instant and catchy. mata hari is silly in a bad way and not as instant as Cleopatra. However, I think they will nail the staging!

Ashton Schier
Ashton Schier
7 months ago

also, finally some Azerbaijani from Azerbaijan!

Tulia
Tulia
7 months ago

It doesn’t offer much as a song, ethnic sounds are the only good part but other than that it’s quite empty.

Jairo
Jairo
7 months ago
12345
12345
7 months ago
Reply to  Jairo

We don’t care honey.

Vladimir P.
Vladimir P.
7 months ago
Reply to  12345

Some of us do.

Florence Petit
Florence Petit
7 months ago

I think it is good she sent an upgraded version of Cleopatra, whats wrong with that since Cleopatra could not make it to the big stage.

Jairo
Jairo
7 months ago
Jo.
Jo.
7 months ago

Lots of dance songs this year, that’s unusual…

Day one
Day one
7 months ago

It’s quite a banger tbf

I love the references to last years song like a little Easter egg for fans

I fully expect Azerbaijan to come top 6 at eurovision this year

Really strong effort from Azerbaijan and going back to the ethnic Middle Eastern sound they did so well with.

Florence Petit
Florence Petit
7 months ago
Reply to  Day one

I could not say it better…love this ethnic vibe

Benny Hill
7 months ago

Out of curiosity I just checked the comments under Samantha Tina’s song and I didn’t see Amy ‘copy + paste’ comments there. Not sure what is the problem here.

I think Mata Hari is a great follow-up.

Dandi Dansa
Dandi Dansa
7 months ago
Reply to  Benny Hill

Just because people like Samanta Tina’s song doesn’t mean we’re obligated to like this one too. Mata Hari is just a different version of Cleopatra and that song wasn’t good either, it was only liked because 2020 had mostly ballads.

Max
Max
7 months ago

To me, Cleopatra sounded a bit juvenil, almost Junior Eurovision-like, and had a couple of ideas too much put into a song of 3 minutes. Mata Hari is much clearer and has a smoother melody. However, some of the parts that were so striking in Cleopatra can still be found here: Spoken word, mumbling, the high-energy final.
I like it A LOT. One of my absolute favorites this year!

Last edited 7 months ago by Max
Tibor
Tibor
7 months ago

This is basically a tidied up version of her last year’s enry. Luckily, apart from the Eurovision bubble, few people know about the existence of “Cleopatra”, so the audience has nothing to compare “Mata Hari” to. I always thought, “Cleopatra” was massively overhyped, but if you didn’t, you should be rather optimistic about “Mata Hari”‘s chances at the contest.

Ffs
Ffs
7 months ago

bottom 3

tylos
tylos
7 months ago

“Just like Cleopatra”
OMG, they actuality joke about how unoriginal they’re being. This is great. Send more of the same!
The only people who know this is a rip off of her 2020 entry are the die hard ESC fans.

Nils
Nils
7 months ago

the lyrical theme, the distorted vocals, that slight hip-hop influence … this is pretty much an exact clone of ‘cleopatra’, only a bit more mainstream-pop-oriented.

unfortunately though, this sounds like the b-side to ‘cleopatra’. i predict something in between 9th and 14th in the final.

Ron
Ron
7 months ago

Has anyone seen her Instagram page? Full of hate speech!

Last edited 7 months ago by Ron
Escjesc
Escjesc
7 months ago
Reply to  Ron

But she can‘t top iveta by hating. Iveta is completely out of control. Full of hate

Sabrina
Sabrina
7 months ago

I did my best to not let comparisons cloud my judgement about the new songs from the 2020’s class, but how can I do it now if the song rehashes a lot of ideas and even mentions by name the previous entry? “Cleopatra” grew on me with time, maybe “Mata Hari” will also get there. Though her 2020’s song had a bonkers charm that I’m missing here. The chorus was way catchier also. On the other hand, I like the use of Azerbaijani instruments, I’m a fan of ethnic sounds like these.

Kalla
Kalla
7 months ago

Wow, well this is definitely a very elevated version of Cleopatra, and I really enjoyed it. Sounds a lot better produced. Video was a little cheep and brings the entry down a little in my opinion, synchronisation was way off in some of the dancing. That’s not to important though, I think this will perform really well at ESC with some good staging. The ending was a big dissapointment, I can see what they were trying to do, but it lost its edge and was a little jesus christ superstar.

Héctor
Héctor
7 months ago

They’ve taken a lot of elements from “Cleopatra”. It is kind of original, if we compare it to other uptempo entries this year.

I’m not that much into these kind of songs but I suppose it would be fun to watch “Mata Hari” on stage. Maybe top 10 contender with an impressive staging.

Tom Ripley
Tom Ripley
7 months ago

SOUND LIKE THIS.

Actually, she send almost the same song. Don’t appreciate that. Sorry.

Colin
Colin
7 months ago

Mata Hari was a queen like me, just like me, oh, just like me! … Oops, wrong song! Or is it? 😉

Yeah, this is exactly the kind of cheesefest I wanted to hear from Efendi. The only difference is that this year also has Moldova and Cyprus fighting for the place of the ”new Cleopatra” and I need some time to see whose cheese do I prefer this time around. 😉

Last edited 7 months ago by Colin
Sabrina
Sabrina
7 months ago
Reply to  Colin

Moldova it’s actually a cheesecake, given all the sugar.

Whisker
Whisker
7 months ago

Mata Hari as “inspiration” for women makes me CRINGE!

Trina
Trina
7 months ago
Reply to  Whisker

I actually kind of agree with you here – I don’t mind the music, but I find the framing of this as “female empowerment” disingenuous. This really strikes me as “what a certain brand of men envision female empowerment to be” (remember the 2000s with all the super-sexy girl groups assembled by and managed by some kind of sleazy dudes?). This song does not reframe Mata Hari as a progressive force; it reinforces the idea of women using sexuality to get what they want. Which, fine. I actually don’t have a problem with that, if that is the message they… Read more »

Whisker
Whisker
7 months ago
Reply to  Trina

I don’t have an issue with women using their sexuality either. However, Mata Hari had a tragic life and death, there is nothing empowering or admirable about that. Also, women empowerment in certain societies is no where to be found. It’s all too hypocritical. I don’t know who chose this song for her and why. I won’t vote for it, I guess I won’t include it in my ranking at all.

Kosey
Kosey
7 months ago
Reply to  Whisker

This song could do wonders for female empowerment. However, it seems that a lot of people don’t get the irony nor the historical context and just see it as it is artificially presented so sadly I am inclined to agree that many people are too stupid to understand what this song’s real message is and perhaps it is more dangerous than it is progressive. How sad!

Trina
Trina
7 months ago
Reply to  Whisker

No kidding! Her story is pretty depressing (and she was a terrible spy). If we are being honest, I also don’t love this song celebrating Mata Hari’s “larping as Asian” self-marketing strategy (though I may be more sensitive to this because I am of Asian descent). Either way, this is a weird historical figure to choose in the year 2021 to promote female empowerment.

Bella
Bella
7 months ago

It’s almost comical: they pretty much copy-pasted their song from last year, except they made it sound cheap and tacky.

Kris
Kris
7 months ago

They have tried to recreate cleopatra as much as possible , however they came up short in terms of impact on first listen. The chorus in Cleopatra was catchier and had more singing involved. This is still pretty good and should qualify easily. Not a contender to win though.

Jaguar66
Jaguar66
7 months ago
Reply to  Kris

Why be easy to qualify? There are better songs in competition that deserve to be in the final. It’s annoying that a lot of crappy songs go to final only because people are so ridiculous to like it that much, along the horrible live permance that comes with them; while the good/better songs doesn’t make it. Where is fair in here?

Daan
Daan
7 months ago

Okay I am done! I love this song. To all of you moaning about “recycled” songs, NOONE except for the hardcore fans know that! So stop acting like its a bad thing! Also, for people moaning its “swedish” song.. Its a dutch written song about a Dutch stripper/spy!

Florence Petit
Florence Petit
7 months ago
Reply to  Daan

You are right the song is great, who cares about last years song which could not go to eurovision

Marseille
Marseille
7 months ago

I don’t know wether to be impressed by her commitment to the concept or disappointed that this is extremely similar to Cleopatra. I mean, the direct referencing to her previous song is a bit much imo. At the 2 minute mark the song starts to get monotonous and then it goes wildly into another direction. Having said all that, I like it, it’s an earworm and a bit less jarring than Cleopatra (although consecuentially, less original). Her voice shines a lot more here as well, probably because the production is a tad more stripped back.

Laburnum
Laburnum
7 months ago

I like this tho it’s structured a bit too similarly to Cleopatra, but both are great songs. The only thing about Mata Hari is that it feels a bit empty in places especially in the build up to the chorus. But a solid entry, probably will close the semi final

poe-tay-toe chips
poe-tay-toe chips
7 months ago

You know…as a licensed nerd, …If Efendi created a niche where she sang exclusively about female historical figures…I would not mind at all

Lolek
Lolek
7 months ago

you and me both!

Dawid
Dawid
7 months ago

If Replay was Fuego 2.0, then this is Cleopatra 1.1 :v I mean, it’s really similar concept. They even sampled bits of Cleopatra I think. It’s cool, but I preffered 2020 entry.

Zuzu
Zuzu
7 months ago

Ok, wait a minute. After everything that happened with Armenia they choose to come up with the title Mata Hari. Yeah…sure.
Now somebody please downvote this comment and preach me that this is not about politics and I am just jealous about this masterpiece of an entry.

KRM
KRM
7 months ago
Reply to  Zuzu

Where is the link between Mata Hari and Armenia lol?

Zuzu
Zuzu
7 months ago
Reply to  KRM

There is not a straight link between these two, I just find it insensitive. That’s just me.

Kris
Kris
7 months ago
Reply to  Zuzu

Is there any link ? Let alone straight or gay or inbetween ?

Last edited 7 months ago by Kris
Ron
Ron
7 months ago
Reply to  Zuzu

Please sign the petition: https://www.change.org/ban-efendi

Zuzu
Zuzu
7 months ago

Well, I can’t wait to see this live

LMAO
LMAO
7 months ago

I love how KESC.. oops.. I mean KRM is still here defending everything Azerbaijan does. We all remember that upvote downvote fiasko she did here on New Years!

Alex
Alex
7 months ago

Finalist? Easy. Top 10? Who knows, I think this is less memorable than Cleopatra tbh. Doesn’t sound like a winner but it will be a good contender.

Yikes
Yikes
7 months ago

This is something the “it’s a bop” -gays will like for only the reason that it’s basic pop. And suprisingly this gay ain’t buying!!

Dawid
Dawid
7 months ago
Reply to  Yikes

Another gay here, hi :v Just because it’s basic, doesn’t matter it’s bad. It would be bad if basic song won imo, but it still can end up high. It weirds me out why Czech Republic is so low on everyone’s lists, since going with that reasoning it should be pretty high.

Yikes
Yikes
7 months ago
Reply to  Dawid

I mean generic as it offers nothing that makes it stand out, but let’s be honest Czech Republic is better than this.

Dope
Dope
7 months ago

Ctrl+C & Ctrl+V

12345
12345
7 months ago
Reply to  Dope

I wish I could Ctrl+X it though. xD

Robert
Robert
7 months ago

By the way.. The short Army of Lovers sample of Crucified won’t be a problem..? I hope not!

Michael
Michael
7 months ago

I’ll give it points for being more Azerbaijani than normal, but this is one of the laziest rewrites of the year with all of the basic elements from Cleopatra here as well (though naming her song after a woman accused of being a double agent is very fitting, though not in the way she was intending).

Daggu
Daggu
7 months ago

I loved Cleopatra, and I’m loving Mata Hari as well. In fact, this is probably my favourite right now. From what I’ve heard, they had big plans for Cleopatras staging, so I suppose they will reuse that idea, since the vibe and feel of the song is really similar.

Should safely qualify, not sure if it’s a contender for the win, but there’s no clear winner so far so anything can happen

Sophie
Sophie
7 months ago

I think it’s a creative and tasteful nod to her song last year! It’s not a carbon copy which is great too! I like it and of course, am really excited to see it on stage! 😀

Stef
Stef
7 months ago

The last minute is A M A Z I N G ! Cleopatra was better though…or we need some time to digest it!

Joe
Joe
7 months ago

It’s good! Not great, but good! Maybe you don’t have to actually mention Cleopatra though? You didn’t hear Tamta going “This is basically just Fuego again!” after all.

Daggu
Daggu
7 months ago
Reply to  Joe

Fuego wasn’t Tamtas song though. And you could really tell that Efendi got attached to Cleopatra

12345
12345
7 months ago

Basically a copy from last year. She even mentions the name Cleopatra!!! B-O-R-I-N-G
Of course, they will qualify because it’s Azerbaijan and the level of this year has reached rock bottom.

Last edited 7 months ago by 12345
12345
12345
7 months ago
Reply to  12345

Downvote as much as you want bitches. I don’t give a f.

Benny Hill
7 months ago

It’s not groundbreaking but I enjoy it.

I might be delusional here, but I think a success of this song might push Turkey to reconsider coming back to ESC. I miss them so much.

raspadinha
raspadinha
7 months ago

The ending is the most interesting part, it has a nice building effect. But the middle section is so lazy…

Heartbeater
Heartbeater
7 months ago

Is this the first time that Azerbaijan sent a song with any Azerbaijani at all even 1 line like in this song

KRM
KRM
7 months ago
Reply to  Heartbeater

Yes

Marseille
Marseille
7 months ago
Reply to  Heartbeater

What’s the line in Azerbaijani? Didn’t catch it.

KRM
KRM
7 months ago
Reply to  Marseille

“Yalan de men, yanan da men, yaman da men”

Basically before the chorus

Last edited 7 months ago by KRM
Fatima
Fatima
7 months ago

“Mata Hari” is one of my all-time top 20 Eurovision tracks. Not this one, but Norway 1976. It’s a travesty that it only has 77 views on YouTube (the preview video, that is).