She has often been described as the new diva of kuduro. And for good reason: since her debut, Pongo has never stopped renewing the heritage of this genre by feeding it with sounds from all over the world. Born in 1992 in Angola, this dance enthusiast grew up to the rhythm of an infinite amount of music. Traditional Angolan tunes, West Indian zouk, Brazilian rhythms… the soundtrack of her youth was very rich. But it is in Portugal, which she joined with her family at the age of 8 years after having fled the civil war of her country, that her love for the kuduro really takes shape.
As a teenager, Pongo joined the Denon Squad, a local band that she first accompanied as a dancer, then behind the microphone during small neighborhood concerts. Within this joyful band, she quickly took a liking to the stage, and to the idea of creating emotion through her voice alone. This is how she gradually penetrates the Lisbon kuduro scene, and ends up being spotted by Buraka Som Sistema, a group known for having popularized kuduro in the 2000s. Fascinated by the aura of the young woman, they asked her to accompany them on stage. In 2009, they unveiled together “Kalemba (Wegue Wegue)”: a track fed by Pongo’s childhood memories, which remains to this day the biggest success of Buraka Som Sistema.
With millions of listens around the world, this track lays the foundations of Pongo’s musical DNA: an intimate music with a universal message, which invites us to get up and dance, to get out of sadness and despair, and to fight. This idea of struggle is actually at the heart of “Tambulaya,” his first solo single released in 2018. With its video in homage to the Black Panthers, this song clarifies the combative nature of his music, and his desire to transform painful memories into a bright and positive work.
Thus, in his first EP Baia released in 2018, images of his native Angola come to life through hybrid sounds mixing kuduro, melodic pop, dancehall and EDM, and lyrics sung in Portuguese or Kimbundu (an Angolan dialect). Whether on the nostalgic “Kuzola” or on the solar “Chora”, Pongo bewitches and intoxicates us, giving birth to a mixed and progressive kuduro, which she specifies two years later on her second EP UWA.
Praised by the New York Times, Dazed and the BBC, and popular with festivals such as Dour and MaMa, Pongo is back with “Bruxos”, released on June 10 on COLORS. Fusing kuduro, afrobeats, favela funk or afrofunk, this new track underlines a little more his desire to mix genres and languages, to free himself from the notion of cultural barriers. Explosive and heady, “Bruxos” announces the color of the next project of Pongo: a music of party and club, as powerful as addictive.