Franco & TPOK Jazz: Marie Naboyi
Franco & TPOK Jazz
Francophonic: Franco & le TPOK Jazz (Sterns Music 3041/3042)
Franco (guitar, vocals),
and unidentified band.
Composed by Franco Luambo.
Rating: 88/100 (learn more)
Franco was the great master of soukous, that hypnotic Congolese musical genre that often sounds more Cuban than African. On this almost eight-minute long track, Franco starts with a typical African rumba sound, but midway through the performance the band shifts abruptly and gut-wrenchingly into a funky horn-driven groove. Yet the band abandons this experiment only a few seconds later, with an electric guitar vamp now establishing its dominance. This rhythm is also disrupted in turn for a plaintive, almost rock-oriented beat. This is nothing less than a suite in four movements, each with a distinctive quality. These types of mid-song shifts are typical of Franco's work, but rarely are they employed so starkly as on this track. "Marie Naboyi" also shows off the other distinctive qualities of TPOK Jazz, especially its conversational vocal harmonies and sweet guitar lines. It's hard to believe that this song, which sounds so lighthearted, was inspired by fraternal strife between Franco and his younger brother Bavon Marie-Marie Siongo, who would soon die in a tragic car accident.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia