Wednesday March 28 2018
François Makiadi - the artist known as Franco - was a major figure in 20th-century Congolese music, and African music in general. Known for his mastery of rumba, he was nicknamed the "Sorcerer of the Guitar" for his seemingly effortless fluid playing. As a founder of the seminal group OK Jazz, he is counted as one of the originators of the modern Congolese sound.
Franco was born in 1938 in the former Belgian Congo. Late in his career, he became an AIDS activist, working to dispel the stigma and prevalent mistruths surrounding the disease. He toured the US only once, in 1983, and passed in 1989.