In Summary
  • This week, social media has been abuzz with fans sharing and discussing what they consider to have been some  of Franco’s best tracks. 

  • Rhumba fans Peter Mahagwa Luhongo and Eliab Kiemo say they would spend the weekend listening to Franco’s music.

  • Perhaps, it was Tabu Ley,  who died in November 2013, who seriously rivalled Franco in terms of popularity in Congo, and elsewhere.

Exactly 28 years Thursday, Africa lost one of its greatest musicians — Congolese guitar wizard and crooner Franco Luambo Luanzo Makiadi, who died in a Belgian hospital.

To the many seasoned rhumba music fans across Africa and beyond, regardless of age, this week will be a time to savour fond memories of the numerous alluring tunes from his rich discography.

The Nation established through telephone enquiries  that some of his counterparts and family members were due to have a memorial vigil by his grave at Gombe Cemetery in Kinshasa, yesterday. Confirming this, veteran musician Pascal Onema, who also worked with Franco, said he would join others at the memorial.

Franco and his giant musical ensemble, TP OK Jazz Band, will be remembered for having been one of the pillars of Congolese Lingala music. His nearest competitor was Tabu Ley Rochereau, who, incidentally, also died in a Belgian hospital four years ago.

POPULAR TRACKS

This week, social media has been abuzz with fans sharing and discussing what they consider to have been some  of Franco’s best tracks. 

Perhaps, it was Tabu Ley,  who died in November 2013, who seriously rivalled Franco in terms of popularity in Congo, and elsewhere.

Simaro led an offshoot from TP OK Jazz, Bana OK,  from 1993 until a few years ago when illness took him off  the stage. The group featured some of the leading former top  singers from TP OK  such as  Pepe Ndombe Opetum (also deceased)  and Josky Kiambukuta, who like Simaro, has lately been inactive due to poor health.

In Europe, one of the notable former TP OK  musicians is London-based guitarist Mose Fan Fan, who composed the household tune Papa Lolo. Mose Fan Fan a hit in the 1970s, with the song Dje Melasi, with TP OK.

ARMANDO

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