The Angolan beauty Pongo comes with her ‘Baia’ EP that features tracks blending Portuguese lyrics with musical references to the Angolan genre of Kuduro. After fleeing Angola to escape the country’s violent civil war, Pongo settled down in Lisbon, Portugal. Her music is nothing you’ve heard before. With ‘Baia,’ Pongo elaborates on her experiences with soca and samba sounds alongside techno and dancehall.
What got you into music?
Nostalgia for my childhood in my neighborhood (Cuca) in Angola. When I make music, I find the innocence of my childhood again. It allows me to escape sometimes from the reality of adulthood.
Who did you look up to musically while growing up?
I have always listened to traditional Angolan music such as Semba, Kuduro and I was also very influenced by the Zouk music style from the West Indies. My musical education started from there. My dad has always been connected to music through dance and all this has aroused great curiosity. It makes me want to be part of this world of music and dance
I like when recording my songs helps me to create emotions. Then it’s like I’m going on a trip with all that, all those friends, those feelings, and we’re sharing everything, all of these together with the audience.
What’s your song-writing process like?
I compose my music wherever ideas and memories come to me. Whether I’m standing or moving, in the middle of a train ride, in the supermarket queue. Alone or in the middle of other people, I create my songs!
Where do you most get inspiration for writing songs?
My inspirations are the deep memories of my childhood and my experiences in my neighbourhood of Luanda in Angola. In the middle of my big family, neighbours and friends of the neighbourhood. All a world inside. Great pleasure and also sorrows.
Who would you like to collaborate with?
I like different artists. It depends on the moment. I do not have an idol. But I like all the facets of the artist Rhianna. Maybe one day I can collaborate with her ;).
What type of music do you enjoy listening to- what are you listening to at the moment?
I like to listen to all kinds of music, whatever their style. It is important for me to discover new sounds that most often contribute to my evolution as a songwriter. At the moment, I listen to a little bit of all musical styles, and from the past too, Zouk, reggae, African soul music, dance, electronics … I’m very in love with an album from INNA DE YARD (The Soul Of Jamaica), a very interesting sound discovery for me, which was given to me by a musician friend, Fixi. I made a song with him called ONE NOTE. She is part of the album BIG BROTHER of the duo Winston Mcanuff and Fixi.
Is there anything you’re doing in the future that we should be looking forward to? (Like tours, festivals or upcoming album?)
I am preparing a new EP that will be released at the end of the year. He will be of great musical diversity, with all facets of PONGO, full of diverse feelings.
WORDS BY ROJAN SAID