October 11, 2009

Quart de Siècle

In 1981, celebrating the 25th birthday of his orchestra, Franco released a series of four LP's: Le Quart de Siècle de Franco de Mi Amor et le T.P. O.K. Jazz, Volumes 1 to 4.

To commemorate the anniversary of his passing away, 20 years ago on October 12, I am posting this series.

Most of this material is from the first half of 1981, except "Lolaka" and "Mamba", which were recorded earlier.

On every volume is one composition by Franco. The only two other songs he played on are "Bimansha" by Josky Kiambukuta and "Bina Na Ngai Na Respect" by Ntesa Dalienst. On these six songs Franco played mi-solo. The solo guitar is played by Gerry Dialungana, except on "Tailleur" (Papa Noel), and the rhythm guitar is played by Gégé Mangaya, except on "Bimansha" (Makosso). It is my guess on these songs (and more) Mpudi Decca played bass, Ntoya drumkit and Bosuma Dessoin percussion. Also note Josky on maracas on "Bimansha" and "Respect".

Many of these songs were released on cd, mostly with equalising, several of them shamelessly cut short; most notably "Bimansha", where Franco's guitar solo is cut short by three minutes (like cutting a piece off a Van Gogh painting to make it fit the room), but also "Mujinga". The songs were never released in the combinations of songs that Franco had intended. The original albums were all torn apart. Here they are in their original Edipop form.

Several of these songs have been posted on YouTube, with some additional information (or explanations by the composers) here and there, most notably "Tailleur" with an insightful translation into English (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dErA-rwenw). Also, live versions of some of these songs can be found on my YT pages ("Bimansha" (version 1), "Bimansha" (version 2), "Mamba", "Mandola").

Note: The copper sounding like they were playing from the corridor and the reeds from even further down the hallway on "Ilousse", "Katebe" and "Tuti" was, according to Ntesa Dalienst, a mixing error, during recording I'm sure, because he added that Franco said it must have been meant to be, so he did not want second takes to be recorded. (Franco did most of his recording in one take in those days.)

There is also a Quart de Siècle Volume 5, but that was released at a later date and does not contain any recordings that Franco made in 1981.

Le Quart Siècle Vol. 1 (POP 01)
Le Quart Siècle Vol. 2 (POP 02)
Le Quart Siècle Vol. 3 (POP 03)*
Le Quart Siècle Vol. 4 (POP 04)

This post is also dedicated to Jerry Zee, without whom this post would not have been possible.

* new link November 2, 2010


Anonymous said...

What can I say?
Many many many thanks...
Kostas from Greece.

Timothy said...

Melesi mingi! Earlier Mr Tear had given us volume 3 you've gone miles further!
I hope you can find time to rip and share Franco's 20th Anniversary albums (1976). Wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Melesi mingi! Asante sana!!

What can I say? You are doing a marvellous job. What can you do better to celebrate Franco than to listen to his work?

Wouldn't you write a second biography about Franco? You know so much about him and his music?

Any place where I can find more Lingala lyrics? (Thank you for the hint on 'Tailleur')

jan duinkerken said...

Thank you very much for your perfect choice of music.
I have a quuestion: what do you think of the sound quality of the recent sterns francophonia-cd's?

Greetings, Jan.

WrldServ said...

@Timothy: Considering the CD has a serious speed problem it may be a good idea to post the 20th Anniversary double album.

@Jan: I haven't heard the second one (yet). It contains no new tracks, so I am not in a hurry...
In general I am disappointed about the (lack of) effort to dig up more of Franco's vast legacy. There is too much recycling of the same songs going on, - and not just with Franco.

internetbob said...

THX, THX and THX, what a great job !!
I'll have a great evening

Anonymous said...

Are you referring to these albums

wuod k

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing these LPs

Wuod K

Anonymous said...

Thank you!


Timothy said...

@Wuod K:

LOL! I seem to find you wherever I hunt for music, be it Ambiance Congo, or here.

Yes, Mr Tear posted the albums you've indicated but the LP he ripped them from was rather crackly. I'm sure WrldServ will have much better quality somewhere in his archives.

Andrew said...

Ntesa explains Bina na Respect in French here:
Basically, he says that the song is from the point of view of the woman. She goes out dancing and can't resist to dance to the TPOK Jazz's music, but she wants the man asking her to dance to know that she is not a prostitute, she is not out dancing to search for a man, just to have a good time - thus the title, "Dance with me with Respect"

Thanks a lot for posting all this great Franco, this is by far my favorite vintage (other good albums for everyone to check out from the same years are "En Colere" Vol.1 and 2)

Thanks again!

DJ Daudi said...

and thanks again. And thanks to Jerry Zee. Bless his soul.

Anonymous said...


Great to have all these LPs all together. Thank you.

Been meaning to ask whether a future Franco post might include the single Johnny Yuma he did in his late brother Bavons name. Ever since Graham Ewens played it on the radio in the 80s I have tried to obtain a copy without success.


WrldServ said...

@Andrew: the YT clip you are referring to was posted by the author of this (blog)post.

@wuod k & Timothy: I've checked the file you mentioned, and I am confident my copy is of a better quality, - as Timothy suspected.

@Anonymous (J): Now you mention it: "Johnny Yuma" is in fact one of the (many) tracks I am still looking for. Franco has released (and especially in the 1960s) truckloads of songs....

Anonymous said...

Late night sessions with Jerry
One beer one spliff one coffee.
From Zaire to Jamacia and back again
album after album.

Michael Lion

Unknown said...

There has never been a musician so great, so committed both body & soul in what he is doing. Just as Mangwana said, it will take upto 100 years before we get another musician as Franco Luambo Makiadi.

akmerlin said...

just amazing, incredible music you are posting. as a long-time African-music journalist jaded with much of the same-old same-old, I congratulate you for bringing fresh air to an overly stale world.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart...

alex said...

Thank you! Thank you!, and thank you! again for posting this amazing piece of music. Comments: On Volume 3, I noticed that there are some saxophones and sounds that are WAY in the background, barely audible, which begs the question: Was there some kind of Quadrophonic or Dolby type multichannel version out there somewhere.

This music makes me cry when I think of the Congo.

d said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, gracias, gracias, gracias, gracias.

Volume 3 is not working, would you mind re-uploading it?


WrldServ said...

@d: It has taken a while, but Vol.3 has been re-uploaded.

oluckyman said...

Masterpieces. Thanks so much. What a treasure this blog is.

Chocoreve said...

Many thanks, these albums are not easy to find ! Thanks for using Mediafire, the links are still alive !

Unknown said...

Music that had and will never lose its taste

Unknown said...

Music that had and will never lose its taste

Unknown said...

Good music

Unknown said...

Music of our generation, outlives itself.

Unknown said...

Great stuff!! The most sentimental music from OK Jazz.For the last 4 decades I only listen to OK Jazz,and the moment it starts I can tell u who was the lead vocalist, composer and the rest of the team players.

Gustavo said...

This records that you posted here have changed my life forever. I hold them very dear, buying the LPs later. It's been about 9 years I downloaded the bunch and listened to them all in a go, driving from Curitiba to Belo Horizonte, Brazil. I was very touched by the sheer beauty of these recordings, many times, and have been rediscoverying each wonderful passage since then. Thank you very much!