August 3, 2021

Pongo, new kuduro star

« Life goes on ! »Meadow of Filters, on the banks of the Garonne, beating heart of the Toulouse Rio Loco festival, Thursday 17th June. Angolan-Portuguese singer Pongo puts words to what is happening in front of her eyes: the audience is dancing in front of the stage and most of the smiles remain visible. Inevitable. Everyone complied with good grace in controlling the sanitary pass at the entrance, but for the rest – wearing a mask and seated position compulsory – it’s a different story. A thunderstorm deprived the Kolinga group of concert. Pongo and Gaël Faye, headliner of the evening (he gives Toulouse the first concert of his tour), benefit from the mercy of heaven.

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On stage, at around 7 p.m., Pongo spends himself lavishly, electrified by the powerful sound (drums, keyboards, programming) of his two musicians and the enthusiasm of the audience. « I need this energy. I was depressed during this period when everything stopped ”, confides before going on stage this young star of kuduro, an electronic music and a nervous dance very effective to firm the buttocks muscles (kuduro is a transformation of «Cu duro», “Hard ass” in French), which appeared in the 1990s in Luanda, the capital of Angola. Kuduro was the urban soundtrack of the rebirth of a country martyred by decades of conflict. « Street music, not very well seen at the start ”, comments Pongo, born in the suburbs of Luanda in 1992. A sound acclaimed by the children of Angolan immigrants in Brazil, Cape Verde and Portugal where she herself arrives with her family at the age of 8. A few years later, she naturally turned to kuduro: « Seeing guys dancing in a train station where I passed regularly. I have always loved dancing, a passion that my father passed on to me. »

“Hacker side”

Discovered with Buraka Som Sistema, a group formed in 2005 in the suburbs of Lisbon, Pongo hopes to release their first album at the end of the year, after releasing two EPs. It offers a foretaste to the Toulouse public, with witches (“Sorcerers”), designating those malicious people who, in Angola, out of jealousy, cast spells on the lucky ones.

Pongo has embodied the current of particularly active and creative electronic music for several years among African artists, both on the continent and across the diaspora. « I wanted to affirm this observation loud and clear, explains Hervé Bordier, artistic director of Rio Loco. I like the hacker side of this contemporary music and many DJs are present at this 2021 edition. No less than 22 African countries are represented, mainly through musicians, but also remarkable visual artists. “ However, he adds that this “Afrika” edition « lost 50% of the initial programming, planned last year ”. It will be the last of Hervé Bordier, who chooses to go on other adventures. Life goes on.

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