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Franco et le Tout Puissant Ok Jazz

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Biography

He was born Francois Luambo Makiadi on July 6 1938 in the village of Sona-Bata , in the Bas Zaire region. His father , Joseph Emongo was a railroad worker while his mother sold home made bread at the local market. He began his musical career at a tender age. By age 7, he had already built his first home made guitar. He played the guitar to attract customers to his mother’s market stall.

His musical talent was first tapped by guitarist Paul Ebengo Dewayon who took him under his wing and taught him the subtleties of guitar playing. Franco made his professional debut in Dewayon’s Watam band at age 12. While at the band He wowed audiences with his exemplary giutar skills while playing a guitar which was almost as big as himself. He cut his first solo record titled Bolingo na ngai na Beatrice ( my love for Beatrice) in 1953.

In 1956 along with Jean Serge Essous , He formed the band OK Jazz which was later to be renamed TPOK Jazz. Two years later when Essous left the band, He took over as band leader and never looked back. The band grew from the original 6 members to over 50 members 30 years later. For over 30 years He recorded prolifically and performed for audiences the world over, while maintaning a distinct style. His band dominated the charts and produced over 150 albums most of which sold over 50,000 copies.

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