Franco: King of Rhumba

In the 1960s, The Republic of Congo was the music capital state of Africa. Among the many Congolese musicians to enjoy success, Francois “Franco” Luambo Makiadi was the only one to reach the status of a music legend. “Faces of Africa” brings you the story of this extraordinary African artist.

Francois “Franco” Luambo Makiadi is still one of African music’s best known artists. He toured the United States in 1983, but stayed in Africa for most of his career.

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 Franco was sometimes called the “Sorcerer of the Guitar” because of his mastery of the instrument.

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The young Franco (in color) poses alongside his friends and fellow musicians. They were to become Congo’s most famous band to be called OK Jazz.

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Franco agreed to a political pact with the second president of Congo, Mobutu Sese Seko and wrote songs supporting his political campaigns.

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Franco (third from right) was involved in a number of disputes over pay with musicians from his band. He was known to keep the lion’s share of the band’s profits for himself.

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Franco’s 1987 song “Attention na Sida” (“Beware of Aids”) prompted speculation that he was himself afflicted by the disease. He died not long after in 1989.

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Tune in on AfricaLive on November 3, 2013 1730GMT on DStv channel 409, Zuku 567, Star Times 123