An Introduction to Franco Luambo Makiadi
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Genesis of TPOK Jazz
The 1960s
The Early 1970s
The Late 1970s
The Early 1980s
The Mid 1980s
The Late 1980s
After Franco
Profiles of Ok Jazz alumni

He was born Francois Luambo Makiadi on July 6 1938 in the village of Sona-Bata , in the Bas Zaire region. His father , Joseph Emongo was a railroad worker while his mother sold home made bread at the local market. He began his musical career at a tender age. By age 7, he had already built his first home made guitar. He played the guitar to attract customers to his mother's market stall.

His musical talent was first tapped by guitarist Paul Ebengo Dewayon who took him under his wing and taught him the subtleties of guitar playing. Franco made his professional debut in Dewayon's Watam band at age 12. While at the band He wowed audiences with his exemplary guitar skills while playing a guitar which was almost as big as himself. He cut his first solo record titled Bolingo na ngai na Beatrice ( my love for Beatrice) in 1953.

In 1956 along with Jean Serge Essous , He formed the band OK Jazz which was later to be renamed TPOK Jazz. Two years later when Essous left the band, He took over as band leader and never looked back. The band grew from the original 6 members to over 50 members 30 years later. For over 30 years He recorded prolifically and performed for audiences the world over, while maintaining a distinct style. His band dominated the charts and produced over 150 albums most of which sold over 50,000 copies.

Franco had several marriages which resulted in 18 children of which 17 were girls.

He died on October 12 1989 leaving a huge legacy Today, several decades after his passing, Franco and TP OK Jazz songs remain among the most popular songs based on CD sales and radio play.