Monday, January 25, 2010

Franco & Le TPOK Jazz ''Francophonic - A Retrospective, Vol.1 (1953-1980)''

Almost ten years ago I found some old tape from Africa at a garage sale. I went to my at-the-time place of employment as a cook and popped it in the cassette player. From the first notes of at least three playful echoed guitars, I fell in love. This was before I became a internet junkie so I really had no idea who this band was. I thought I stumbled upon something that only a few knew about but instead it turned out to be Franco. "The Sorcerer of the Guitar." The posthumous Commander of the Order of the Leopard of former Zaire. A national treasure of the Congo, releasing as many as 150 albums in four decades. He was more than just a great guitarist. In many ways, he embodied the revolutionary transitional age from which he emerged: the years when the Belgian Congo became Zaire; when the government's preferred language went from French to Lingala; when the eminent political leader Patrice Lumumba suffered a grisly assassination and Mobutu Sese Seko ascended to power, introducing pro-West policies, platitudes on African authenticity, and torture chambers reserved for political prisoners.


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