Essential Franco

Franco -  Francophonic, Vol. 2
Franco – Francophonic, Vol. 2

Francophonic, Vol. 2 (Stern’s Africa, 2009)

Francophonic, Vol. 2 introduces the listener to additional essential recordings by Franco, one of the greatest African musicians of the 20th century. This  2-CD boxed set covers the last decade of François Luambo Makiadi’s musical career, which spanned 1980-1989. An excellent guitarist and songwriter, Franco’s music paralleled the evolution of modern Congolese music, which includes Congolese rumba and Soukous. During all those years, Franco worked with some of the best musicians in his country, a band called OK Jazz (which later became TPOK), creating numerous hit songs.

No one knows how many recordings Franco made during his 36 year career. The Francophonic series pays a well deserved tribute to one of the legends of African music in a respectful way. As producer Ken Brown says in the liner notes: "Francophonic is a modest attempt to present selected pieces with the best audio fidelity possible (given the available source material), but the two volumes, comprising a mere 41 tracks, only scratch the surface. These albums will have achieved their purpose if they prompt listeners to seek more Franco." Ken Brown pays attention to detail, with extensive liner notes and a great collection of photos collected in a 48-page booklet.

Franco died October 12 of  1989, leaving an impressive legacy that includes dozens of recordings and numerous musicians in Congo and abroad that are deeply influenced by his music.

Francophonic, Vol. 2 is a must have for any world music collector as it provides a beautifully crafted portrait of one of the most significant musicians from central Africa.

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Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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