Rhumba fans to mark 32nd anniversary of Franco's death

Franco Luambo Luanzo Makiadi

Legendary Congolese musician the late Franco Luambo Luanzo Makiadi. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • During the best years of Franco's musical career, which spanned more than three decades, he had built two formidable groups out of his TP OK Jazz Band.
  • Some of Franco’s most popular songs include Mario, Azda, Tokoma ba Camarade Pamba, Mamou and Pesa Position. 

Fans and former counterparts of the legendary Congolese musician Franco Luambo Luanzo Makiadi will on Tuesday mark the 32nd anniversary since his death.

Like last year, though, there will be minimal live shows due to the Covid-19 pandemic .

During the best years of Franco's musical career, which spanned more than three decades (from 1956 to 1989), he had built two formidable groups out of his TP OK Jazz Band.

There was the ‘travelling’ TP OK Jazz, which was based in Brussels, Belgium, and the second one in Kinshasa, considered the mecca of African music, (especially Rhumba in Lingala music).

The later consisted of most of the veteran members of TP OK Jazz band led by long-serving vice-president Lutumba Simaro Massiya (who died in March 2019). Those in the travelling outfit mostly featured former members of the band who had opted to go solo, but still had strong ties with the band.

Some of the few surviving former members of the TP OK Jazz Band include singers Wuta Mayi, (best remembered for his 1980 composition with TP OK Jazz titled, Ayant Droit also known Diya), Michel Boyibanda, Sam Mangwana, Lokombe Natal, Malage de Lugendo, Prince Youlou Mabiala, Nana Akumu and Baniel Bambo.

Franco’s most popular songs

Former top singer Josky Kiambukuta died in March this year at a Kinshasa hospital. 

Among the surviving guitarists are Dizzy Mandjeku, Michelino Mavatiku, Nedule Papa Noel (composer of the popular Tangawisi song), Celi Bitchou and Flavian Makabi.

Some of Franco’s most popular songs include Mario, Azda, Tokoma ba Camarade Pamba, Mamou and Pesa Position. Franco is remembered for having groomed many singers, guitarists and composers through his band.

In Kenya starting this weekend to the next, most FM stations and TV stations are expected to dedicate shows to his music. Veteran radio and TV rhumba show presenter Fred Obachi Machoka is expected to dedicate his “Roga Roga” shows to Franco’s music. Others will be Haggai Isanya (Mulembe FM) and Simeone Mfumu Kibangu (KBC Radio),

Some of the clubs to feature his music include the Touchdown Sports Bar and Restaurant in Greenfields estate, Nairobi, and Summit Grill VOK in Mombasa. Rhumba fans among them musician Ken Makokha ( of Ulinzi Orchestre band fame), Jasson Sumba, James Lando Khwatenge and Nicholas Murithi will celebrate his music throughout the week.

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