The Black Mamba will represent Portugal at Eurovision 2021 with their song “Love Is On My Side”.
The group earned the right to fly the Portuguese flag in Rotterdam after winning Festival da Canção. They’ll be hoping to bring Eurovision back to the Iberian peninsula for the second time in less than five years.
But who are the men behind the song? We’ve compiled 10 facts you need to know about The Black Mamba. Let’s do this!
Portugal at Eurovision 2021: Facts about The Black Mamba
1. They formed in 2010
The Black Mamba first came together a little over a decade ago in 2010. Founding members Pedro Tatanka and Miguel Casais had a vision. According to the band’s official bio, they wanted to go through the universe of blues, soul and funk, and adapt it to their natural habitat. Ciro Cruz also joined them at this point.
2. They’re a five-piece
Ciro Cruz left the band in 2015. Leaving Tatanka and Miguel as the last remaining original members. The group’s current line-up consists of five musicians. In addition to Tatanka on lead vocals and Miguel on drums, there’s also Marco Pombinho on acoustic guitar, Rui Pedro “Pity” Vaz on bass guitar and Guilherme “Gui” Salgueiro on piano.
3. Their name is venomous
The black mamba is a highly venomous snake found in sub-Saharan Africa. And while the real-world creature’s bite can be deadly, the group are venomous in a different sense. Their official website claims that the inspiration for their name came from their “own infectious venom and they used it to name their first album”. Speaking to our Willaim, Tatanka and Miguel give their own take on the name. “After a show, we went home and there was this National Geographic TV show going on, and it was about the black mamba”, says the band’s frontman. “We thought it was a cool name for a band and that was it”. Miguel’s explanation is a bit deeper — “We also spread our good venom around the globe”.
4. Their influences are rich and varied
The group take inspiration from a bygone era. Miguel tells us that they are heavily influenced by the 1960s and 1970s, particularly Afro-American music. Tatanka refers to this period as the “golden decades” and says that their goal is to pay tribute to the icons from this time.
5. They’ve recorded three albums
The group have released three LPs to date — The Black Mamba (2010), Dirty Little Brother (2014) and The Mamba King (2018). The records have spawned several popular songs. Tatanka recommends that those new to the band should check out “If I Ain’t You” from their first album. This was the song that made people realise that “these guys are good”. A new album is on the way.
6. Their song “Believe” has taken on a new significance
“Believe” was the main single from the group’s last album The Mamba King. The music video features footage filmed in Mozambique and taken from the HELPO ONGD documentary Koshukuru. Speaking to wiwibloggs, Tatanka explains how the song has taken on an extra significance in recent times: “It’s a deep social conscious kind of song. Actually now, it’s getting another significance. Because now Mozambique is under attacks [by Islamist militants], so this song is becoming like an anthem for me personally to give those people strength to believe and to carry on”.
7. They’ve toured all over the world
Eurovision is by no means the band’s first international venture. In fact, they’ve been touring the world for years. The cities of Philadelphia, Luanda, Madrid, Seville, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo have all borne witness to their sweet melodies.
8. They were inspired in Amsterdam
“Love Is On My Side” was born out of a tour in the Netherlands. These performances inspired the group to write and record a yet to be released album called Another Night In Amsterdam. The LP tells the story of “all the characters” they met during this time, particularly from the city’s infamous red-light district. Their Eurovision track was also written during these sessions. Speaking to RTP after their selection, The Black Mamba explain that “this song is inspired by an old lady we met in Amsterdam a couple of years ago, when we were on tour in the Netherlands. She ended up addicted to drugs and that led to prostitution”, recount the band. “But she told us that she never gave up and that she believes that Love was with her all the time”, say the group. More Amsterdam-inspired songs are on the way including ones about the crazy Latin lover and a scuba diver with a dildo.
9. They’ve worked with some of the biggest names in music
In the decade or so since they first formed, The Black Mamba have collaborated with some of the biggest names in music. Most notably, they’ve recorded music with Skyler Jett, a Grammy-winning musician and producer best known for his work with the Commodores and Sly and the Family Stone. They’ve also shared the stage with internationally renowned acts such as Lenny Kravitz, John Legend, The Script and Jamie Cullum.
10. Tatanka also has a solo career
Tatanka also has a burgeoning solo career away from the band. His first steps as a soloist came in 2016. According to the group, this was when “he started telling stories and presenting original songs in Portuguese”. He released “Alfaiate” and “De Alma Despida” in 2017. His debut album Pouco Barulho followed in 2019, which he released on his own record label — La Resistance. Based on his body of work as both a solo artist and with The Black Mamba, the Portuguese broadcaster RTP invited him to compose a song for Festival da Canção 2021.
What do you think of The Black Mamba? Are you excited to see “Love Is On My Side” at Eurovision? Let us know in the comments below.