Here is an artist often heralded as the new diva of Kuduro. No surprise there, as Pongo always made it her job to constantly freshen up the genre’s heritage by livening up her style with sounds from all over the world. Born in Angola in 1992, the passionate dancer grew up on a wealth of music and rhythms. Traditional Angolan songs, Caribbean Zouk, Brazilian beats…all provided the soundtrack to her music-filled youth. She was barely eight when she and her family fleed the civil war raging in the country to travel to Portugal. It was there that she took her love for Kuduro music to whole other level.
Pongo spent her teenage years in the Denon Squad, a local band who originally recruited her as a dancer before letting her pick up the mic to play shows in the neighbourhood. It was during those playful times, that she caught the stage bug and realised she wanted to keep sharing emotions with her voice. Making a name for herself in Lisbon’s Kuduro scene, she was spotted by Buraka Som Sistema, a band famous for popularising Kuduro in the early 2000s. Fascinated by the young lady’s aura, the band invited her to play a few more shows before releasing Kalemba (Wegue Wegue) in 2009, a track fuelled by Pongo’s childhood memories and which is still the band’s biggest success to this day.
Boasting a few million plays across the world, Kalemba (Wegue Wegue) laid the foundation for Pongo musical’s signature: music that feels intimate but also shares a universal message while inviting the listener to dance, overcome their struggles and escape the feeling of sadness and despair. The same empowering message is at the heart of Tambulaya, her first single released in 2018. The video, a tribute to the Black Panthers movement, highlights the track’s fiery spirit as well as the singer’s urge to transform painful memories into stellar and positive music.
Flashes of her native Angola camw back to life on her first EP Baia (2018), supported by the hybrid sounds of Kuduro, melancholic pop, dancehall and EDM with lyrics both in Portuguese and Kimbundu (one of the languages spoken in Angola): Pongo casts her spell carrying the elated listener through the nostalgic sounds of Kuzola or the sunny Chora, while giving birth to a progressive new genre of Kuduro, one that matured into her second EP UWA in 2020.
Following prestigious critical acclaim from the likes of the New York Times, Dazed and the BBC and great performances at festivals such as Dour in Belgium or MaMa in Paris, Pongo definitely made an impression with Bruxos a new track premiered with A COLORS show.
Connecting Kuduro to Afrobeats, Favela Funk or even Afrofunk, she supports her dedication to mixing genres and languages, a way for her to break down all cultural barriers and sets the tone for het debut upcoming project ‘SAKIDILA’: powerful and addictive party and club music. Bring it on.
A standing show.