LIVE AT BBC 6MUSIC FESTIVAL
MARCH 5, 2020
UK HEADLINE TOUR INCL.
LONDON EartH – APRIL 18, 2020
Bold super-positive pop Metro Sounds of 2020
Her invitation to the dancefloor is easy to accept Pitchfork
Blending her penchant for dancehall and Kuduro she’s proving herself as one of the most inventive and exciting performers around right now NME 100 Essential New Artists
Multi-disciplined artist Pongo has a rich cocktail of musical cultures behind her Complex
An eclectic mix of sounds and genres that defies classification The Line of Best Fit
Wastes no time in kicking into high gear The Fader
Charismatic & eclectic to the bare bone, Pongo is the name circulating on everyone’s lips Clash
African rhythms melding upbeat electronic sounds and Pongo’s lush vocals Indie Shuffle
Angolan-Portuguese artist Pongo today releases her new EP, ‘Uwa’ (available now via Caroline International) – streaming from here. The follow-up to her 6Music-supported debut EP ‘Baia’ – which has since been streamed over 6 million times – ‘Uwa’ arrives ahead of an appearance from Pongo (alongside Girlband and Ghum) as part of this year’s 6Music Festival, at Dingwalls on March 5, 2020. Pongo will be back in the UK again in April, for a string of headline shows, including London’s EartH Hackney on April 18. The ‘Uwa’ EP features singles ‘Quem Manda No Mic’ – supported by 1Xtra and playlisted at 6Music – and recent release ‘Canto’ – watch the video, shot in Pongo’s adopted hometown of Lisbon, here.
NEW EP ‘UWA’ – OUT NOW
WATCH THE VIDEO FOR ‘CANTO’
Originally hailing from Angola’s capital city of Luanda, as a kid Pongo was forced to flee to Europe with her family to escape its lengthy and harrowing civil war. Eventually settling in a city north of Lisbon with a very small African-immigrant population, a young Pongo experienced racist abuse whilst completing her schooling in the area. Already seeking solace from a disturbing present tense by retreating into the music, dance & slang of her former life, Pongo’s route to becoming one of Kuduro’s fast-rising young stars was completed by the closest of near misses. Falling several storeys out of a window as the result of a prank gone horribly wrong – escaping with only a broken ankle – Pongo was forced to catch a train each week for physiotherapist treatment. Stopping at the city’s Quelez Station, Pongo encountered the Denon Squad, a group of boys practising kuduro dance on the streets of one of Lisbon’s largest African communities. Soon rapping over their routines, a tape of Pongo’s recordings made its way into the hands of Lisbon-based kuduro collective, Buraka Som Sistema. Pongo (her artist name a tribute to feminist Congolese singer, M’Pongo Love) then went on to make her debut – aged just 15 – on their ‘Black Diamond’ album, alongside M.I.A. and Kano.
‘Uwa’ itself takes its name from a word in Angola’s Kimbundo language meaning ‘step’ – on its title track Pongo interpolates the calls of children playing dodgeball on the streets of Luanda to irresistible effect. Lead-off single ‘Quem Manda No Mic’ seldom lets up across its pacey 3 minute span, teeming with Pongo’s no-nonsense sass and centred around a chorus as infectiously insistent as ‘Who rules the mic? Pongo!’. Elsewhere, the languorous ‘Canto’ re-roots Latin rhythms with results that feel both futuristic and without borders. Whilst Pongo has always blended lyrics in both Kimbundo and Portuguese, across ‘Uwa’ she bring english into the mix for the first time, to particularly startling effect on the fluttering ‘Wafu’, a state-of-the-nation counsel to her fellow Africans for unity, tolerance and peace.
With Pongo now choosing to live in Lisbon’s Quelez neighbourhood, and still sporting the large scar across her calf which remains from her death-defying accident, you sense it’s more than just coincidental that the kuduro movement took its name from an Angolan slang word meaning ‘hard-ass’.
5 March LONDON Dingwalls 6Music Festival
15 April NORWICH Norwich Arts Centre
16 April BRISTOL Jam Jar
17 April BRIGHTON Patterns
18 April LONDON EartH Hackney