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Pungo biography
PUNGO were a short-lived fluctuant Avant / Jazz Rock project around a female multi-instrumentalist (violin, accordion, piano, or organ) & vocalist named Yuriko SUGANAMI, an alto-saxophonist Masami SHINODA, and a bassist Jiro IMAI. Masami got immersed in Yuriko's violin as a member of Machinegun Tango, Tori Kudo's band, and persuaded her to form a musically diversified outfit. The outfit's name PUNGO is a mixture of Tango and Punk, but they have not only these two elements but various kinds of essence - jazz, blues, ethnic, folk, etc. etc., and they said the most important point for them was 'Japanese mind of music'. PUNGO tried to involve lots of musician in the project, including Akihiro ISHIWATARI (guitars, drums), Yukio SATOH, Yoshio KUGE (drums, percussion), and so on (even each member cannot remember all musician joining PUNGO project). They had been active actually only for a year (from 1980 to1981) and been disbanded (it's said one of the reasons is Yuriko's burnout).

PUNGO's material in some live acts were compiled into two albums - '1980 - 1981' (1982) and 'Waltz' (1995).

Masami joined JAGATARA as the key player of the horn section later, but sadly passed away at the age of 34 in 1992.

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PUNGO discography

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PUNGO top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

PUNGO Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
1980 - 1981
3.40 | 3 ratings

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PUNGO Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Waltz by PUNGO album cover Live, 1995
3.40 | 3 ratings

Pungo RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars Hmmm........... Pungo is perhaps the Japanese word for "a hell of a big racket/noise"........

......... which very much describe this album.

Pungo only released two live albums. Their blend of free jazz and folk music is very eclectic, to say at least. Pretty basic folk music songs is being chopped up and put together again. Most of them has got an added flavour of free jazz. If you can't stand rampant woodwinds blowing the brains of the audience, don't purchase this album. There is plenty of that on this album. There is also plenty of odd time signatures performed by piano and vocals. The bass is also all over the place and the drummer also lives his own life. Most of the album is though avant-garde jazz throughout with dissonance taking the main stage.

This may sounds like an advert for a well known washing up liquid brand whose name shall not be mentioned in ProgArchives.

There is no denying this is a pretty charming album with some obvious good qualities. Pungo has created something refreshing here, far of the beaten track. The sound is not that great, but the material is. I have not heard this radical type of folk rock & free jazz before so Pungo scores high in the originality stakes in my books. This is not everyone's cup of tea, but I like this brew. It blows the cobwebs away.

3 stars

 Waltz by PUNGO album cover Live, 1995
3.40 | 3 ratings

Pungo RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars To be honest, it took a lot time for me just to accept that album. And not because this music is too complex or hardly accessible, not at all!

Oppositionally, album contains plenty of nice melodic songs with very acoustic sound, with accordion on the front of the sound in many places. Music is mostly mid-tempo, and even if have some world fusion or jazz elements, very strong element there is folklore,mixed with some free jazz sax screaming.

Looking from now, I think main problem for me was that folk element - quite authentic, with acoustic sound, primitive rhythms and accordion it strongly reminded me North European authentic folk music I grew up listening to. Not like I hate it,not at all, but it associates me with very different cultural layers, than avant prog.

So - after many spins, I just found the way to hear this album in a right manner. And from that moment I really like it (more and more after every new listening!). Very unusual form of RIO, it took me by it's strong roots and melodic, almost tribal folksy free jazz.

Good release for those searching for unusual sound, but without complexity and twisted structures.

My rating is 3,5, rounded to 4!

 Waltz by PUNGO album cover Live, 1995
3.40 | 3 ratings

Pungo RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams

3 stars We can get drenched with PUNGO's music flood in PUNGO-ra box.

Directly we can realize what they had meant to do, especially through Yuriko's strong intention and inquisitive mind. Actually, I consider PUNGO project should be such as a battle among plays, musical viewpoints, and curiosity of all players. Why should they be disbanded after a year play? Suppose they could not help sinking themselves under remarkably tense situation ... This album "Waltz" is a compilation of their live material, and listening to this can easily notify us that there's less similarity among 14 tracks, except keen tension and overstimulated nerve through the whole album. Various sound essence can be in, and Yuriko's sharp-edged violin, dry-fruity accordion, painful piano, and unemotional voices ... all can be fit for every song and draw out the strong characteristic of every song. And Masami's freaky anarchy saxophone solo cannot be ignored of course. His backbone might be jazz music indeed, but he could make every song avantgarde by his funky kinky saxophone play - later he joined JAGATARA, a Japanese jazz-funk-rock project, and could upgrade their music skill, content, and soundscape ... feasibly.

Under any circumstances, we can understand their music theory cannot be categorized easily. Their seriousness, strict attitude, and tense plus tense condition for music ... obviously those were in their mind. Jazz, ethnic, avant, blues, tribalism, and rock - enjoy completely.

Thanks to DamoXt7942 for the artist addition.

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