Guardian’s ‘One to Watch’, featured in Pitchfork, NY Times and regularly played on BBC 6 Music, Pongo brings a melodic, artistic and soulful approach to the classic kuduro sound from Angola.
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.