The Black Mamba "Love Is on My Side" | Portugal Eurovision 2021 Interview

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Published on 26 Apr 2021, 12:00
We speak with Pedro Tatanka and Miguel Casais — the founding members of The Black Mamba. The group, which explores the universe of blues, soul and funk, will sing "Love Is on My Side" for Portugal at Eurovision 2021. The Festival da Canção winners discuss their song, which was inspired by an old woman they met in Amsterdam's Red Light District during a tour of the Netherlands. She fell into drugs and prostitution, but never gave up hope that love was on her side.

"We were playing in this small coffee shop called The Bulldog and we were staying overnight two doors from that," Tatanka says. "We had all our meals there and had the opportunity to meet a lot of people at the counter who told us their story. That old lady was one of those [people] we had the luck to meet. Her story really inspired me. She had a really, really sad story. She managed to flee an [Eastern European country] in the late 60s or early 70s. She was young, had loads of dreams, she thought it was the perfect opportunity to be happy and to change her life in a better way. But everything went wrong. She became a drug addict. She became a street prostitute. She had a really sad life. But at the same time she told me she felt love was always by her side, that love would always overcome evil and violence. After all she'd been through it was really inspiring me."

But her story is just one of many that have inspired songs for them. "Now we are working on some new songs like 'Crazy Nando' — a Latin lover that all the women fell for. And one about a scuba diver who was in the middle of the Red Light District streets with a scuba diving helmet and a dildo hitting people in the heads. If you're there for five or six days you get to meet these crazy people that you don't meet everywhere else in the world. It was really a breakthrough for us."

In "Love Is on My Side" he hopes to embody the woman who inspired him. "I'm trying to put myself in her shoes. That's why I sing in that high pitch. I don't sing that high normally. I brought the key higher than I normally do to pretend [I have] a woman's voice. And I speak in the first person, 'I thought I would be a queen.'"

Tatanka says the production and arrangement create a "sad environment in the verses", while the chorus represents hope. "That's the main message about the song, so everything opens up and it's like not that sad anymore. It's a hopeful kind of mood that we wanted to represent."

They have no plans to release the song in Portuguese, and believe that the power of music conquers language barriers. "We respect everyone's opinion. There are people who would rather go with a Portuguese song, but we are proud to represent this change. If people love this music or like this music the most, why wouldn't you vote for it just because it's not in your native language? We are proud to be representatives of that mindset changing. I believe that from now on people will get more into music itself instead of thinking if it's Portuguese or in English or in Spanish. if the song touches your heart and that's your favourite song vote for it. Music is a universal language."

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