Francophonic, Vol. 2: 1980-1989 cover

Francophonic, Vol. 2: 1980-1989


During the last decade of his life Franco spent as much time on his business empire as he did on his guitar playing. Living in exile in Europe, he toured France with part of TPOK jazz, while another part of the band, which at some points swelled to include as many as 40 musicians, remained in Kinshasa. But far from being his twilight years, the 1980s marked one of the most productive and creative periods in his life, as testified by the 13 tracks on this compilation, which include perhaps his biggest hit ever, the lovely, sprawling “Mario.” What makes Franco’s later tracks so enthralling is the band’s total shift towards, and mastery of, increasingly longer sebenes, the repetitive and hypnotic instrumental sections aimed at getting the audience up and dancing. Francophonic Vol.1 and Vol.2 barely scratch the surface of Franco’s discography, but the well researched and lovingly compiled records stand as a monument to a man who changed Congo’s music forever. 

Megan Iacobini de Fazio

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