Franco Luambo Makiadi

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François Luambo Makiadi
Franco Luambo Makiadi.jpg
Background information
Birth name François Luambo Luanzo Makiadi
Also known as Franco
Born (1938-07-06)July 6, 1938
Sona Bata, Belgian Congo
(modern-day Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Died October 12, 1989(1989-10-12) (aged 51)
Mont-Godinne, Province of Namur, Belgium
Genres Rumba
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, guitarist
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1950-1980s
Associated acts OK Jazz

François Luambo Luanzo Makiadi (6 July 1938 – 12 October 1989) was a major figure in 20th-century Congolese music, and African music in general. He is widely referred to as Franco Luambo or, simply, Franco. Known for his mastery of rumba, he was nicknamed the "Sorcerer of the Guitar" for his seemingly effortless fluid playing. As a founder of the seminal group OK Jazz, he is counted as one of the originators of the modern Congolese sound.


He was born in 1938 in what was then the Belgian Congo. His mother had a market stall in Ngiri-Ngiri, and he played harmonica and other instruments to help attract customers.[1]

In 1955 Franco formed a band that debuted in the OK Bar. The following year the band was renamed OK Jazz in honour of the place it had begun.[2]

Franco only toured the USA on one occasion, in 1983.[3]

He died in 1989, resulting in 4 days of national mourning in Zaire.[2]


Contributing artist
Year Album
1969 Franco & Orchestre O.K. Jazz* - L'Afrique Danse No. 6 (LP)
1973 Franco & OK Jazz* - Franco & L'O.K. Jazz
1974 Franco Et L'Orchestre T.P.O.K. Jazz* - Untitled
1977 "Franco" Luambo Makiadi* And His O.K. Jazz* - Live Recording Of The Afro European Tour Volume 2 (LP, album)
1977 "Franco" Luambo Makiadi* & His O.K Jazz* - Live Recording Of The Afro European Tour
1981 Soki Odefi Zongisa (LP, album)
1982 Franco Et Sam Mangwana Avec Le T.P. O.K. Jazz* - Franco Et Sam Mangwana Avec Le T.P.O.K. Jazz (LP)
1983 Franco & Tabu Ley* - Choc Choc Choc 1983 De Bruxelles A Paris

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Al Angeloro (March 2005). "World Music Legends: Franco". Global Rhythm. Zenbu Media. Retrieved 14 July 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Franco: biography". allmusic. Rovi. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  3. ^ Ted Giola. "The James Brown of Africa (Part One)". Archived from the original on 25 March 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2011. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Graeme Ewens, Congo Colossus: Life and Legacy of Franco and OK Jazz, Buku P. (12 October 1994), ISBN 978-0-9523655-0-1
  • Gary Stewart (2000). Rumba on the River: A History of the Popular Music of the Two Congos. Verso. ISBN 1859843689. 

External links[edit]