Franco & TPOK Jazz: Alimatou




Franco & TPOK Jazz


Francophonic: Franco & le TPOK Jazz (Sterns Music 3041/3042)

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Franco (guitar, vocals), Sam Mangwana (vocals),

and unidentified band which probably includes Lola Chécain (vocals) Josky Kiambukuta (vocals), Mpudi Decca (bass), Gégé Mangaya (rhythm guitar), Ntoya Fwala (drums), Nicolas Bosuma Bakili (percussion)


Composed by Franco Luambo


Recorded: Kinshasa, 1974


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

Franco maintained his supremacy among soukous bandleaders by hiring the best talent he could find, sometimes stealing it from his rivals. But the addition of vocalist Sam Mangwana in 1972 was a big coup. Mangwana ranks among the finest soukous singers of the era, and had made his own reputation, starting with his work in L'Orchestra African Fiesta a decade before hooking up with Franco. Here he sings about a married woman trying to hide her affair. Many in Kinshasa thought Franco's songs were vulgar, and a few years later he would even be jailed briefly on obscenity charges. But fans liked the spicy lyrics as much as the spicy music, and "Alimatou" proved to be a big hit for Franco and Mangwana. During this period, many other bands were trying to bring rock rhythms into the local music scene, but Franco here stays true to the African rumba style, with all his signature elements: relaxed vocal harmonies, breezy guitar with those bright, simple Congolese chords, and a light cushion of percussion, all spiced with just a flavor of horns.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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