Patrícia Faria (born on 3rd December 1981 in Luanda, Angola) is a well-known Angolan singer, a radio host and also a lawyer (Wikipedia). No one in her family were singers or musicians. Her strict mother, an elementary school teacher, noticed her talent first and encouraged her to pursue her singing talents, which the very extroverted Patrícia considers a God-given gift she received: “Music choose me” in a very abrupt, selfless way, and she feels blessed and honored to have given that gift; music is the reason of her happiness and sadness as one.
Early years at As Gingas
She started her singer career under the supervision and mentoring of Rosa Rock as a member of the iconic, women-only band called As Gingas. There has never been a band like this before, because the semba and other traditional music scene was historically dominated by men. Although, very noticeable and legendary female singers have emerged right from the start of the semba movement (e.g. the late Lourdes Van-Dúnem as a member of Ngola Ritmos, or the late Belita Palma who also was a member of the same band). The members of the group were taught in the manner that “hard work always pays off”.
Patrícia found a second family there and she missed the unity and company of her co-singers after starting her solo career.
Starting her solo carrier
Her controversial decision was challenging for her since she came out of the protective shell As Gingas supplied. She does not regret it – instead, she thought about it as an opportunity, she looked its bright side.
At the age of 22, Patrícia Faria released her first solo album named “Eme Kia” featuring lot of song (re-)interpretations of known semba artists like the legendary David Zé (killed by MPLA after the “Nitista coup” attempt in 1977), Ngola Ritmos, Bangão etc. It provided new, great experience for her. Her favorite song from the album is “Kibela”.
“An Angolan semba/rumba legend [the late Bangão] and his wife wrote a song for Patrícia’s album, which was a huge responsibility on her shoulders because she was only 21 years old at the time. The song is a satire portraying the toxicity of being in a relationship with a “pacheco” (pronounced pah-shé-koo) which is the Angolan slang word for “gigolo”, or basically any man who depends financially or lives off entirely on the income of his girlfriend/wife. The same song (see video) turned out to be one of Patrícia’s greatest solo career hits thus far” (University of Kizomba).
She remained (and still remains) loyal to semba, Angola-ness, and Africa-ness, instead of making song in more commercial styles like ghetto zouk. This was her personal choice, because she has always felt to be drawn to semba, wanted to represent Angola revealing her patriotic side. Patrícia wants to continue the semba tradition. She stated that “if you don’t know where you come from, you don’t know where you are headed”.
In spite of using the language in singing, she doesn’t speak Kimbundu fluently, but taking lessons to improve her knowledge.
Connection with Bonga Kuenda
The legendary Bonga is a godfather figure for her in semba. There is a huge age gap between them. Bonga loves to educate, share his knowledge for the younger generation in a loving, caring way. “Bonga sings Angola, is Angola. My kota.”, as Patrícia put it. Bonga has written many songs for her.
Patrícia Faria on stage
When Patrícia Faria is on stage, she “becomes a different person” as if she was possessed, puts all her energy and emotions into the performance: “You must give all you got into it”, as she put it. She is demanding to herself reflecting her perfectionist nature. She also said in the interview that she looses 2 kilos in weight on average per performance.
“In mid-December last year , Patrícia Faria and Gersy Pegado (also a former member of the legendary girls-only group “Gingas do Maculusso”) both performed duets with the late Carlos Burity (RIP) in a private concert here in Luanda. This short video was captured when Patrícia and Burity were interpreting his 1994 semba hit “Manazinha”” (source: University of Kizomba).
She was honoured and happy to be able to perform on stage with one of her idols, the late Carlos Burity (RIP), a legendary semba musician and singer. It is very sad that kota Carlos Burity did never get the recognition he truly deserved; his legacy should be passed on.
When she had the chance, Patrícia would love to have a duet with Carlitos Vieria Dias, another big cannon in the semba world, who is the son of the late Carlos “Liceu” Vieira Dias, the founder of the first semba band called Ngola Ritmos. Looking overseas, she imagined performing together with Tina Turner (she actually lives now in Switzerland).
The future of semba
She is disappointed as she does not see a great future for the genre. She gave the reasons:
- Semba is not documented and needs to be decoded with the help of the elderly veterans of semba who are dying (e.g. Carlos Burity deceased at the age of 68 in 2020).
- Semba is continuously watered down, diluted and changed in the international scene that needs to be recognized and educated about. She shared her dystopian view where people may think when they hear a zouk song sang in kimbundu is actually a semba.
- No government support for preserving the tradition.
Albums and personal life
She released 3 albums with a lot of gaps: 6 years between the first (2002, “Eme Kia”) and the second (2009, “Baza Baza”), and 10 years after, in 2019, the third album (“De Caxexe”) was released.
During the first gap, she finished her university law degree and become a lawyer (she is also a radio show host).
In the second gap she got married and became a mother of a son and a daughter (her son very likely inherited her singing talent). She prioritized her family over her career as a singer. In this period she felt disappointed the conditions semba musicians face: they are not treated with respect and dignity. As they do not have the material resources and get enough support, and thus it needs huge effort to produce and release an album. She didn’t have the energy to do it.
She has a supporting family. Her strict mother was wise to insist Patrícia to finish her education to get a job because being a singer is insufficient to make a living.
Being a “ninja”, it is not easy to handle the everyday tasks and to have a balance as a mother, a lawyer, a radio host, and an artists. In addition, she carries a big weight by stepping into the footsteps of former legendary female artists like the late Belita Palma.
She lamented that there is a connotation in Angola that some think female artists (musicians, and those working in the entertainment business) needs to do sexual favours in order to become successful. It is very hard to navigate to get the dignity, the respect for what they are, for their talents, for their art. In general, mistreating woman (e.g. lack of respect, aggressive behaviour) is a problem in Angola. She has even written a song about how a women should be treated.
She is a firm believer in God.
Story of her nickname: she saw it in a movie and took the name as a joke, but it has stick to her, so “La Negra Caliente” (it is in Spanish and it means “The Hot Black”) was born.