Mandinga is a unique kind of band. The cultural variety resulting from mixing Romanian and Cuban musicians is guaranteed to bring the best show on stage and it is also capable of pleasing the most difficult of crowds. Mandinga consists of 6 members: Elena Ionescu (lead vocals), Chupi (drums), El Niño (congas), Omar (piano), Zach (saxophone) and Tony (trombone).
The band started 11 years ago, in 2002. Since then they have made themselves know as one of the best bands in Romania.
December 2002 – Mandinga is born. At the beginning the band consists of 8 members, and their music is known for their latin flavor.
June 2003 – Mandinga opens the Rafaga concert in Bucharest.
June 2003 – Mandinga launches its first album, „De Corazon”. The first single on the album, „Doar cu tine” is played in heavy rotation by the radio stations and becomes one of Mandinga’s biggest hits.
2004 – 2005 – Mandinga is part of a TV show, “Un barbat adevarat” broadcasted by Acasa TV.
2005 – Mandinga’s second album, “Soarele meu” is on the market. The first single on the album, “Soarele meu”, becomes one of Mandinga’s biggest hits ever. The album was awarded with a Golden Disc for more than 15.000 copies sold.
February 2006 – Elena Ionescu becomes the leading vocal of Mandinga. She was selected from hundreds of girl during a TV show broadcasted by the national television.
2006 – Mandinga launches its third studio album, „Gozalo!”.
May 2006 – Mandinga opens the Havana Lounge concert in Bucharest.
2008 – The band launches a new album, “Donde”, with very strong latin influences.
2009 – Mandinga wins Best Lives awards at the Romanian Music Awards.
2009 – Mandinga in invented to play at the Sibiu Jazz Festival and is the opening band for the famous trumpet-player, Arturo Sandoval.
2011 – Mandinga wins the “Best Performance” award at the Romanian Music Awards.
2012 – Mandinga’s shows are getting more and more diverse, and the band becomes popular not only for their mainstream show, “Club de Mandinga”, but also for their jazz performances, “Mandinga Latin Jazz” and “Mandinga Balkan Social Club”.
2012 – Mandinga wins the national selection for Eurovision Song Contest and represents Romania in Baku, Azerbaijan. Mandinga represented Romania with the song “Zaleilah”, which qualified from the first semi-final and went on to place 12th in the final, scoring 71 points. Elena won “The sexiest female singer” award, and “Zaleilah” was declared by Eurovision specialists the biggest hit of the contest.
Zaleilah was released to iTunes Romania on February 9, 2012 and it has quickly entered the Romanian Digital Chart, where it peaked at number-one selling over 20,000 units as of May 1. The song was also a smash hit in the airplay charts as it peaked at number one the official Romanian Top 100. On the Romanian Radio Airplay Chart, “Zaleilah” debuted at number-six on March 12, 2012, registering 152 plays from 6 radio stations allover Romania. It has since rose a position to number-five. Its music video has also gained over 10,000 plays since its debut on Romanian television, of which 117 plays within five days on only two Romanian music TV channels of eight existing, entering the Video Chart at number-nine for the week of March 12 and then move as high as to number-three. The song also entered the airplay charts in Moldova and Israel.
June 2012 – Mandinga launches a short documentary, “Mandinga. Primii 10” about their first ten years on the Romanian music stage.
July 2012 – Mandinga launches a new stuio album, “Club de Mandinga”, including some super hits like “Zaleilah”, “Papi Chulo”, “Europarty” or “Sufletul zâmbea”.
June 2012 – Mandinga is awarded with a Golden Disk. “Zaleilah” is the most successful Romanian hit on iTunes.
October 2012 – “Playing Happiness” is the new motto of the band, which bring a rebranding of their music and their image.
January 2013 – Mandinga reached the top of the most popular Eurovision 2012 contestants. “Zaleilah” reached 6th place in Top 25 – most popular Eurovision contestants.
March 2013 – “The Mac Mac Song” is a special gift for Mandinga’s fans. The song is a parody and its launched on Women’s Day on Mandinga’s Facebook Page.
March 2013 – Mandinga founded “Happiness Production”, a concept that puts together all the production efforts.
April 2013 – Mandinga feat. Muneer launches “Bling”, a co-production between Cat Music and Happiness Production. The song was premiered live during one of “Romania’s Got Talent” semifinals, the highest rated entertainment show in Romania.
June 2013 – Mandinga is selected to play at the Supercupa Romanian (Romanian Supercup) Final, one of the biggest Romanian football events. The band sang among other hits a special and unique version of Ciuleandra, a very old and famous traditional Romanian song.
July 2013 – Mandinga is the first mainstream Romanian band invited to play at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Their show, “Madinga Balkan Jazz” got amazing reviews and was considered one of the biggest surprises of the festival.
“Mandinga Balkan Jazz” is a special Mandinga project, a perfect combination between jazz and some Balkan rhythms, a news and innovative approach of Balkan music sang by some very versatile artists!
Mandinga is involved in different jazz events in Romania. “Jazz! Avem” is a special project developed by the band to sustain young musicians. Among the years Mandinga sang with big names of the international music scene: : Buena Vista Social Club, Bamboleo, Arturo Sandoval, Manolito Simone or Mercado Negro.