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Tribute to Franco Luambo

“Our music works like a GPS. This is the whole problem of this continent, which has been brainwashed from its roots. The young people are  dreaming of going abroad but they no longer know where they come from. This is why you have to listen to Franco, whose music is more relevant than ever. »

Ray Lema always had the wish to transmit all the heritage that has made the identity of his country to the new generations. Not to make museum pieces, like a folklore preserved in formaldehyde, but indeed to feed creativity again and again. With a career of more than 50 years, his creativity is no longer to be demonstrated. He has been able, like few, to reconcile cultures that many people oppose: the scholarly and the popular, the written and the improvised, the symphonic and the so called worldmusic, rhythms and harmonies, melody and so on… for him, only one thing remains in all this: music.

François Luambo Makiadi whose genius is measured by the nicknames attributed to him: “The Grand Master“, the “Venerable Yorgho“, “the Wizard of the guitar” … is the one who brought the Congolese rumba on Africa’s dance floors and far beyond. Just looking at Franco as an ambiancer would limit the message his music was carrying. Franco was speaking for the common people, telling the story of a finally liberated Africa. Everyone, the beautiful women of Kinshasa like the jealous guy, could recognize himself in Franco’s words. Franco said out loud what everyone thought.

“After all these years, Franco’s music has not aged. »

Ray Lema is more convinced than ever with this statement. When he was a kid, he was a ngembo (bat in lingala) of Franco, that is to say like a bat on a tree which would spend the night listening to listen to the all-powerful creator of OK Jazz. Listening to Franco, native of Sona-Bata, Ray Lema hears the huge musical tradition he had discovered since the 1970s, as musical director of the national ballet, as well as the modernizations he provided and more in specifically the sebene, which makes the guitar the axis of its music, like a rhythmic wheel.

The album of the Live concert recorded in Kinshasa, will be released on April 24, 2020. Touring for summer festivals 2020 and 2020/2021 season.


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