In addition to all the symbolism, Jeangu Macrooy has that infallible song

Overwhelming, that’s how singer Jeangu Macrooy (27) experienced the first time he performed on the expansive stage of the Eurovision Song Contest in Ahoy Rotterdam. As if he and his two singers, twin brother Xillan and singer A Mili, and dancer Gil The Grid “were swimming in the open sea”. But after the second rehearsal on Saturday morning, during which the Dutch entry for the European song festival could again perform ‘Birth Of A New Age’ three times, the foursome is already clearly more familiar. The stage act, which changes from modest heaviness to light and exuberant in three minutes, looks sleek. “The energy on stage felt good,” the singer notes afterwards.

The Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam starts on Tuesday with the first semifinal. The rehearsals for the live shows on this corona-influenced 65th edition feel like an outing for the participants from 38 countries (those from Australia are not allowed to travel and participate in a video performance) in Rotterdam. Get out of the bubble – all delegations are instructed to stay in and around the hotel as much as possible from their arrival. The organization hopes to keep the risk of contamination as small as possible.

Black Lives Matter as inspiration

As the winner in 2019, host country the Netherlands has directly qualified for the final. With six days to go, it is a long wait for the Surinamese singer Jeangu Macrooy. But he gets his message across as much as he can.

In his soulful song full of empowerment, he emphasizes the role of origin and your self-esteem, partly inspired by Black Lives Matter. “Birth Of A New Age” is “for all champions,” Macrooy told the European news conference in the morning. For the pioneers who raised their heads above ground level. And his chorus in the Surinamese language Sranantongo – „Yo no mi broko mi ” (you can’t break me) – is about “the courage to stand for who you are”. It moves Surinamese compatriots that he sings in that language, he says.

Macrooy’s performance is overloaded with symbolism, in both text and dance, clothing and visuals. Whether those many messages and references will come across is the question, the bookmakers do not estimate his chances very high. But regardless of the content, he stands out for his always infallible vocals.

During the first eight beats of his Eurovision song, an abrasively dissonant tone, Macrooy is back to back with his twin brother Xillan and singer A Mili. Cracks appear on the LED screen behind them. As the fourth performer, the expressive dancer Gil The Grid then depicts raw pain and struggle with tense, locking dance movements.

It’s a small, dark beginning to a song that will eventually become a celebration. Because when the song breaks open and liquid oil projections on the LED screens form a colorful backdrop, the affirmative sentences dance Yu no man broko mi (You will not break me) and “You can’t break me” across the screens.

Tribal patterns of the Maroons

Striking is his outfit, a modern sharply cut cobalt blue suit with a short jacket, in which many elements refer to his Surinamese roots. Such as the straps and cords with red beads at the top of the trousers. They resemble the loin cords of a kamisa (loincloth) of Surinamese Indians. The tribal patterns on his thighs are inspired by those of the Maroons from the interior of Suriname. And also for the looks of his singer and dancer, fashion designer Silvy ten Broeke and stylist Lissa Brandon have been influenced by Surinamese population groups (Chinese, Maroons, Creoles). As a totem, Macrooy’s chest adorns a chain with a Surinamese silver half cent.

The fact that Macrooy always looks explicitly into the camera clearly shows the hand of the Belgian director Hans Pannecoucke. He also took the acts of Duncan Laurence and The Common Linnets to the next level. Macrooy, very active on social media, already put the dance steps in the cheerful closing dance online this week. For the time being, however, it is the French singer Barbara Pravi who is the one with her vulnerable but fervently performed chanson ‘Voila’ is considered a top favorite, closely followed by the Italian glam rockers from Måneskin.
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