Artist Profiles: Mandinga

Mandinga represented Romania at Eurovision in 2012, after dominating their national selection. The group performed the upbeat number ‘Zaleilah’, which finished in 12th place at the contest overall.

Who is Mandinga?

Mandinga is a Romanian ‘Latin pop’ group originating from the nation’s capital, Bucharest. The line-up has changed over the years, with Elena Gheorghe the original lead vocalist. She departed the group back in 2005, with Elena Ionescu joining the band. She performed as the lead vocalist between 2006 and 2016, meaning that she was the lead vocalist during their Eurovision performance. The current lead singer is Barbara Isasi. Other members of the group include Alex, Chupi, Zach, El Niño, Omar and Tony.

The Journey to Eurovision

After forming in 2002, the group released their debut album ‘…de corazón’. Two years later, the group released their next album, ‘Soarele Meu’. Armed with a new lead singer, the group then released ‘Gozalo’.

During 2008, Mandinga released ‘Donde’, and in their Eurovision year, released ‘Club de Mandinga’ which is still their most recent full album release. The album featured their Eurovision hit, ‘Zaleilah’ as well as ‘Europarty’ and ‘Papichulo’.

Mandinga was one of 15 acts selected for the Romanian national selection, Selecția Națională. The group received 10 points from the jury and 12 from the televote, overall finishing with 22 points. The second placed act finished with 19 points. In the televote, Mandinga received a total of 6930 votes, which was over 4500 votes more than the act finishing in second with the televote.

At Eurovision, Mandinga finished in third in the semi-final, meaning they would progress to the final. In the final, they finished in 12th place overall with 71 points.

What Happened Next?

In the years since Eurovision, the group has released a number of singles, all within their signature Latin Pop style. In 2013, the group released the songs, ‘La vita e bella’ and ‘Bling’.

In 2014, they released ‘Ce poveste’ with Connect-R, who was featured in the Moldovan Eurovision entry of 2006. In the following year, the group released ‘Adrenalina’. In the same year, they released ‘Hello’ with Fly Project.

In 2016, the group saw a line-up change, with Barbara Isasi replacing Elena Ionescu. Two singles were released in 2016, ‘Cand va fi mai rau (asa s ana fie)’ and ‘Aventura’.

In 2017, Mandinga released a salsa version of Adele’s hit, ‘Hello’. They also recorded a Salsa version cover of the popular track by Charlie Puth, ‘We Don’t Talk Anymore’. Both tracks received over a million listens on Spotify.

In the same year, the group released ‘Besame’ which eventuated into an EP featuring four remixes plus the original version of the song. To close out 2017, the group released a salsa version of ‘Mayores’.

In 2018, Mandinga released a Salsa cover of the Bruno Mars hit ‘Finesse’.  The next single was ‘Arquitectura’ which was released in both the original version, and true to their style, a Salsa version.

To close out 2018, they released ‘Soy de Cuba’ which was also released in remixed versions. The following year, they released a handful of singles including ‘Provocador’, ‘Boa’, ‘Niña Sincera’ and ‘Bandida’.

In 2020, the group released ‘Celosa’ which also featured Connect-R. Their next single was ‘Háblame’. Their final single of 2020 was titled ‘Macho Man’.

Three singles have been released in 2021 thus far, and they are ‘Con Calma (Salsa Version)’, ‘No Tengo Dinero’ and their latest single, ‘Reina’ which is a collaboration with Johnny Made This.