Being one of the most important vocalists of Angola’s post-colonial period, Kuenda Bonga is a pioneer of Africanity: his music takes roots from Latin, African, Brazilian music traditions. Singer and songwriter Bonga’s story is as interesting as his music: he began his career as a professional football player in 1970s. Then during his trips abroad, he developed a resistance against Portuguese tyranny, both in his political behaviour and his musicianship, protesting Africa’s humiliation and misery in his songs of independence. This activism resulted in his exile in Europe. Since then he released more than 30 albums and has been travelling around the world to bring his message against violence.


The inspiring concert was Bonga’s first performance in Turkey: while he sings, he plays both congas and dikanza. The latter is an Angolan percussion instrument made out of grooved bamboo. Bonga’s warm but expressive voice is combined with his endless energy. His band accompanies him with drums, guitar, accordion and bass, with every band member singing back vocals.

Bonga gig (Photo: ingiliz filiz)

What made the concert exciting was both the lively music and Bonga’s warm contact with the audience that he established right after the first song. He knows how to entertain and involve the audience while performing and enjoying his rhythmic music. Except one, the band only played up tempo songs. The audience which crowded the venue; answered it by smiling, clapping hands, accompanying the band and dancing all the time! Bonga, in exchange, has been very satisfied with the audience: he stated that he liked to play in Istanbul. In conclusion, it is possible to say that this infectious enthusiasm of the band led to an endorphin rush in the body of all the audience!

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