Today 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.
The Beat Magazine