Luanda. End of the 90s. The Angolans were trying to forget, as best they could, the civil war that was devastating their country. On Sunday, in the Cuca neighbourhood, a dance competition took place. A girl attended the show, fascinated. Her name is Pongo, she was 8 years old. Amidst the cheers of the crowd, a man feverishly danced Semba and Kizomba’s steps. It was her father. This image will remain with her forever. From her native Africa, she set aside the chaos and kept close to her heart the fragrances, colours and endless games with her sisters. But above all the sounds, vibrations and omnipresent songs, those cheerful bubbles that brought rhythm to her childhood, she who had started to dance before she knew how to walk.
Violence and fear will ultimately defeat innocence. Exile was inevitable for Pongo and her family. Europe, Lisbon. Pongo discovered a new world. A new light. But also uprooting, difference, the cruelty of other children. She remained silent and observed. Music returned and with it her hope. First at church, where she sang with great pleasure. Then as a teenager, on her way to school. The boys would hang out near Queluz Station. They sang, danced and tried to attract the girls’ attention. They had a group: the ‘Denon Squad’. Evidently, naturally, Pongo joined them. Initially as a dancer, later behind the microphone at her first neighbourhood concerts.
She grew up, discovered the nightlife and it was always with the same imprudence that she penetrated the Lisbon Kuduro scene. Her made her first recordings in studio. She enjoyed this environment and realized that she had to follow the path that music was taking her down. Buraka Som Sistema discovered her and asked her to join them on stage for a mythical concert at Music Box in the Cais de Sodré district. She shone, burning with talent and energy and made, the very next day, her debut on the social media networks. The received her first compliments, the way friends looked at her changed and everything took off very quickly. She accompanied the group on a tour where they played the planet’s largest cities and festivals. Pongo took off, feeling that everything was possible from then on.
Today, the little girl from Cuca is twenty-five years old.
Diva of a mestizo and progressive Kuduro, she writes and interprets her own songs. Pongo incarnates the renewal of the genre, mixing the combination of her African roots, langa, zaïco, with EDM, bass music, dancehall and tribal pop. Her powerful, rhythmic but equally fragile and sensitive voice draws us into her universe, to the confines of dance and saudades. Where no one has ever taken us before. For her EP, she worked with Florent Livet (Bloc Party, Cassius, Phoenix), Pavlé Kovasevic (Sebastien Tellier, Edbanger…) and Raphaël d’Hervez (Pégase, Minitel Rose).