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République du Zaïre (Kwamy) - Franco & L'O.K. Jazz 1970

11,997 views 1 year ago
Re-up: HQ, cleaner version.

Contrary to popular belief, this is not a Franco composition. The government paid for this recording, so I used money to illustrate the developements since then. We hear Franco (guitar, vocal), Kwamy (vocal), Simaro (guitar), Bitshou (bass), Ntoya (maracas) and Dessoin (percussion).

Simaro tells us more on the relationship between Franco and Mobutu on:
http://afropop.org/multi/in...... (The link has expired)
(:I will tell you a little about the person who was Mobutu. He was a fanatic for Franco, above everything. He was a fanatic for our team, even before he was president. I found Mobutu at Franco's side when I came in 1961. At all the parties that happened at Mobutu's home, when they hired a band, it was we who played. Baptisms of children, birthdays, all that. Mobutu was a fanatic for Franco as an artist.

It was Mobutu who chose, frankly. When Mobutu rose to power, it was 1965. In '66, we were in Brazza, making a little tour, and Mobutu asked Franco and his band to come back to Kinshasa to play. So we stopped and went back directly with Franco to Ndolo. Ndolo was a small prison in town that was reserved for the military. After a day or two, we went to Franco. The president had told him to stay at his side. "With me in power, you will go far. I will have need of you." So that's how it started. In any case, as I said, as far as the relationship between President Mobutu and Franco, from the start, Mobutu was a fanatic for Franco. And with time, as he became president, he was president of all the artists, not just Franco. Those who were lucky enough to play for President Mobutu received his small gifts that the president gave them. It was not only Franco.

So, when President Mobutu had need of a little publicity, or even propaganda, he would call Franco secretly. But he gave opportunities to many artists. It was Mobutu who decided. He had a whole community. "We'll do it like this. He will speak and tell people to listen. Simaro will make a song. Another will make a song. We'll record them and I'll listen and decide which is the best song." That's how it worked.

When Franco was very sick, near the end, Mobutu did something for him. Even when he was dead, the band found him in Europe, and President Mobutu paid all the bills, the hotels and everything. He asked all the artists to return. He sent a special plane that brought the body")

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