Angolan-Portuguese singer/rapper’s new EP ‘Uwa’ (out now on Caroline Intl) – arrives just ahead of her headline shows booked for next month.
UK HEADLINE TOUR INCL. LONDON EartH – APRIL 18, 2020
Angolan-Portuguese artist Pongo today releases the new video for her latest, 6Music play-listed single ‘Uwa’, the title track from her widely-praised new EP, out now via Caroline International. The new video – directed by French photographer Lou Escobar – arrives on the eve of Pongo’s appearance at this year’s 6Music Festival, where she will perform at London’s Dingwalls alongside Holy F and Ghum on March 5, 2020. The festival appearance will precede a second run of UK headline shows from Pongo, including her largest London gig to date, at EartH Hackney on April 18, 2020.
Escobar’s directorial debut, the vibrant, choreography-led video for ‘Uwa’ was filmed on location in Dakar. Poignantly for Pongo, the shoot marked the first time she’d returned to Africa since fleeing Anogla with her family as a child, to escape the country’s civil war. ‘Uwa’ itself takes its name from a word in Angola’s traditional language of Kimbundo meaning ‘step’. Used in the games of dodgeball played by children in the streets of Pongo’s Angolan hometown of Luanda, on ‘Uwa’ Pongo interpolates this nostalgia with the pulsating rhythms of the Kuduro genre to infectious effect.
The ‘Uwa’ EP – also featuring 6Music & 1Xtra-supported single ‘Quem Manda No Mic’ – follows Pongo’s debut EP ‘Baia’, which has been streamed over 6 million times and counting, also spawning remixes from 20syl and Anoraak (the latter issued via Kitsuné). It’s the latest chapter in an again-the-odds trajectory that has seen Lisbon-based Pongo struggle with various personal upheavals. Settling with her family – aged just 8 – in Portugal in a city just north of Lisbon with a very small African-immigrant population, she experienced prolonged racist abuse whilst completing her schooling in the area. Already seeking solace from a disturbing present tense by retreating into the music, dance & slang words of her former life in Luanda, Pongo’s route to becoming one of Kuduro’s fastest-rising young stars was completed when she encountered the Denon Squad, a group of boys practicing kuduro dance on the streets of one of Lisbon’s largest African communities. Soon rapping over their routines – in defiance of her father, himself a kuduro dancer back in Angola – a tape of Pongo’s recordings made its way into the hands of Lisbon-based club night turned kuduro collective Buraka Som Sistema. Aged just 15, Pongo (taking her artist name in tribute to feminist Congolese singer, M’Pongo Love) then went on to make her debut on their ‘Black Diamond’ album, alongside the likes of M.I.A. and Kano.
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
In the Press
“An aural Vitamin D shot” – Guardian
“In a pretty hopeless era, her imminent breakout looks perfectly timed” – Observer One To Watch
“Pongo’s songs are a punchy, self-assured take on the musical style known as Kuduro, blending frenetic African rhythms with blaring techno beats and rapping” – New York Times
“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
“A thrilling, hands-in-the-air invocation” – the Quietus
“The concept is Pongo’s most raw and honest” – Mixmag
“Pongo’s music is a carnival celebration of belonging” – Dork