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!