is retired. some of the site's features may no longer work

Aug 14/07

Adieu Madilu

Matt Yanchyshyn @ 09:37

Madilu SystemToday we have a guest post from Benn loxo listener, CC Smith, in memory of Madilu System:

Bialu Makiese, better known as Madilu System, died suddenly on Aug. 11 in Kinshasa from complications of diabetes. He was 57 years old.

A member of the beefy front line of singers of TPOK Jazz since 1980, Madilu was known as Franco’s favorite singer, and his husky, nuanced baritone was heard on many of Franco’s greatest songs of that era, most notably supplying the lead on “Mario.” (This worldwide hit from 1986 was beautifully reprised by Africando on the 2006 Ketukuba album, again with Madilu on lead vocal.)

Following the death of Franco in 1989 and the dissolution of OK Jazz, Madilu proceeded with a solo career and had just released a new recording, La Bonne Humeur, in Paris this summer. He was also an exceptional harmony vocalist, and frequently joined other singers such as Nyboma, Josky and Malage in duets and lush choral arrangements.

His warm cameo “Tapale” on Kekele’s Kinavana album is one of the delights of that production. But my favorite song by Madilu is “Ya Jean” from his Sans Commentaire album of 1994, a gorgeous heartfelt tribute to Franco Luambo Makiadi with Rigo Star providing the lead guitar on the first section, and Syran Mbenza standing in for the ghost of Franco on the second part, channeling the Grand Maitre’s signature guitar lines as Madilu pours out an anguished wail from the depths of his soul.

CC Smith
The Beat Magazine

Madilu System – Ya Jean

Tags: , ,

Oct 13/05

Franco remembered

Matt Yanchyshyn @ 01:04

FrancoOk, so it 12:38am and not officially October 12th anymore. But I still wanted to do a Franco memorial post. Several people, including CC at The Beat and long-time Benn loxo contributor, Gertrud, reminded me that October 12th is the anniversary of Franco’s death in 1989.

While I’m a bit tired and low on time tonight, I figure I have to at least re-post my past Franco tracks and put up a new one in honour of the Congolese musical giant. So much of the African music I’ve featured on this site is indebted to Franco, and nearly 20 years later his sounds continue to sell and influence new generations of musicians.

Three past posts:

And a Franco Three
Franco Deux
Sorcerer Guitar

The track on the Franco Deux post is one of my favourite songs ever to come out of Africa. I used to have this tune as my phone ring, and despite how much I love it, it will forever remind me of 8am phone call wake-ups from work on a Saturday. These Saturday Franco wake-ups are only made good by the idea of the beautiful K curled up in bed beside me.. both of us groaning as Franco sings me out of bed. I love you, Katie.

..and another live track off a 1994 Sonodisc compilation that I picked-up at Jussieu this afternoon:

Franco – Nganda Tosalake Fete

Tags: ,

Jan 25/05

And a Franco three

Matt Yanchyshyn @ 10:50

FrancoAfter yesterday’s slow-jam we need to up the tempo a bit. Here’s the promised third and last track of my Franco mini-series, Lisanga Ya Ba Nganga off 1983′s Omona Wapi.

Yesterday we featured Franco with fellow ex-OK Jazz member Sam Mangwana. Today we’ll have a listen to Franco with another one of his collaborateurs extraordinaire, Tabu Ley Rochereau of Africa Jazz fame. The production is a little off but the energy and musicality of these two guys shines in this soukous track. Nice harmonies over some electric guitar this time, and that rhythm you’re hearing is a classic Zairean rumba-obenda.

As this is the last day of Franco posts, it’s worth mentioning that Franco, born Luambo Makiadi, sadly died at the age of 51 in 1989. Though I don’t believe it was ever made public many believe that he died as a result of AIDS. Regardless, he left us with a massive legacy, loads of great music and many musicians that he personally trained or influenced. He is still seen as the most important fixture of contemporary Congolese music and will be for some time.

Franco and Rochereau – Lisanga Ya Ba Nganga

Tags: ,

Jan 24/05

Franco deux

Matt Yanchyshyn @ 18:13

FrancoAs promised, I’m back with some more Franco.

Today’s pick changes the speed and style up a bit. It’s also my personal Franco favourite. Why this is has something to do with the tone of one of the female backup’s voice. I can’t quite figure out what it is that affects me so much, but regardless this track has been on heavy rotation as I wander around the grey Parisian side-streets.

Likambo Ya Ngana was recorded in 1971. It’s a nice folky tune with acoustic guitar over a slow rumba beat, featuring some nice accordian work by Camille Feruzi. The track is a gentle reminder that Franco isn’t all about dancefloor explosions and soukous-speed guitar.

Franco – Likambo Ya Ngana

Tags: ,

Jan 23/05

Sorcerer Guitar

Matt Yanchyshyn @ 09:39

FrancoBenn loxo has been quiet lately because I’m still not back in Dakar. I promise that by next week we’ll be back in top form.

Anyway. I was on a train this morning listening to some music when suddenly I felt very homesick. I was struck by a sudden and strong desire to dance a Congolese rumba with my beautiful K at some dark, sweaty West African bar. You know, the kind of place where the whiskey pulses through your veins, assuring you that you’re a good dancer. K would be there in a light dress, twirling into my arms as the band’s 2-row deep percussion section looked on…

After this nice daydream I realized that I haven’t ever posted any Franco on this site. The founder and over 30-year leader of Congo’s famous OK Jazz dance band, Franco is one of Africa’s greatest musicians and will therefore get the next three posts. Afropop sums him up as follows:

“The sorcerer of the Congo guitar, Franco maintained one of the most powerful bands in Congo music.”

OK Jazz formed in mid-1950s when Kinshasa was still called “Leopoldville” after everyone’s favourite European villain. At the time Franco was only 18-years-old (and thin). OK Jazz started out as a Central African jazz dance band, with harmony-laden vocals backed up by acoustic guitars and a horn section over a variety of latin rhythms. Over the years both with and without OK Jazz Franco explored many styles but he’s most known for his Congolese rumba and, later, soukous.

I’ll write more about Franco tomorrow but for now if there was a song to go with my aforementioned daydream it would be Franco’s 1982′s collaboration with fellow OK Jazz musician Sam Mangwana, Cooperation. It has a classic Congolese rumba beat, some nice guitar and great harmonies. Play this on Monday morning on the way to work and I guarantee you’ll have a good day.

Franco & Sam Mangwana – Cooperation

Tags: ,

Inflatable Water Slide Buy wholesale direct wholesale wholesale scarves. bedding