An Introduction Franco Luambo Makiadi and TPOK Jazz
Franco was for 30 plus years Africa's most popular and influential
musician. For 30 years he thoroughly dominated the music charts all over
Africa while producing almost 150 albums most of which topped the
Franco was a social maverick and commentator. His artistic genius is unparalleled, this despite having a limited formal education. His songs touched on a wide variety of topics affecting Congolese in all sections of society as well as Africans at large. He sang praises and also denounced certain individuals whose behaviour he considered disagreeable. Indeed Franco's words amounted to the gospel for most Congolese people. His lyrics often landed him in trouble with the authorities as is evidenced by his two stints in Jail.
He was dubbed "The sorcerer of the guitar" for his exceptional guitar stringing skills. But it was his ability as a bandleader and organizer that put him a cut above the rest. He also earned several other nicknames and titles such as "Le Grande Maitre" .For over 30 years his band maintained its position as the most influential band on the continent despite several departures and defections of certain influential members. Now more than a decade after his death , his music is still extremely popular among Congolese and Africans in general , which is a testament to its quality. While other bands and musicians come and go as fads and dance styles change, His music has remained close to the heart of several people , many of whom do not understand the language. His legacy is eternal. There is not a single African musician who can claim popularity anywhere close to what Franco had. His music transcended generations. It was the kind of music which parents and their children could listen to and enjoy. The volume of his discography is incredible. He released upwards of 150 albums, many of which are still best sellers.