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Why Franco's legend endures

Sunday November 3 2019

Congolese rumba icon Franco Luambo Makiadi.

Congolese rumba icon Franco Luambo Makiadi. 

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Franco Luambo Makiadi is a name that has been firmly engraved into the hearts and memories of music lovers. The Congolese guitarist, composer, bandleader and folk hero was truly a legendary figure.

In a 40-year career, the once street child from the Lower Congo via Leopoldville (Kinshasa) grew to become one of the best known, most loved and most controversial personalities in Africa and the African diaspora.

On the way up, he earned several nicknames, sobriquets, epithets and honorific titles, progressing from Le Fou (Crazy Kid), through Franco de Mi Amour (Franco My Love), Sorcerer of the Guitar, Yorgho (Godfather), the Balzac of African Music, Grand Maitre of Zairean music, Officer of the Grand Order of the Leopard, and Congo Colossus.

Thirty years after his death, his music and heritage live on, even among generations of listeners who have been born in the interim.

Read the full story here.