Saturday, March 17, 2012

Le Grand Maitre Franco - Attention Na SIDA (1987)

What better album to begin a second year and the second hundred posts than this masterpiece from the grand Franco Luambo? The long title track is a polemic and a protest, an outcry and a public health message, a heartfelt entreaty to the world to beware the scourge of AIDS. One cannot listen to Franco singing, with more emotion than ever before, without being moved. His outrage thunders forth with the authoritative voice of a god, while ache and despair are just below the surface. Two years after producing this tremendous recording, Franco would die of the dread disease.

Recorded in Brussels while on business without his band, Franco recruited members of Victoria Eleison to back him. The music absolutely sparkles. While the first magnificent moral diatribe carries a message, the two songs on the flip side are built to move the body. The Checain song "Mpo Na Nini Kaka Ngai?" swings with a retro feel, while the more concise "Na Poni Kaka Yo Mayi" carries the youthful energy of the Langa Langa generation. Feast and . . .

6 comments:

LeFranck said...

I remember when "Attention Na SIDA" was released in Zaire in 1987.
The song was played everywhere.
Franco made people aware of this disease called Aids/HIV.

A great song about a killer disease.

LeFranck

FrancoPepeKalle said...

Man, Rhythm Connection you make a excellent post once again like almost all the time. I enjoy this post.

The song you are speaking of is Attention Na Sida (Beware of Aids) by Grand Maitre Franco. Franco decided to work with other musicians. That band was Victoria Elesien led by King Kester Emeneya. So he asked King Kester if he could get Victoria Elesien musicians involved for this project. King Kester said yes. So Franco promised King Kester that he sound send his trumpets and saxophonists to King himself. This promise was fullfilled on King Kester's album DEUX TEMPS (1988). That project included Empompo Loway.

Rhythm Connection said...

Thank you both for the great additional information, which adds a lot of color, about this wonderful record.

dial africa said...

In Rwanda it was also played around 1988 and everybody started discussing on AIDS.
But for many it was already too late. A young collegue of mine who'd just finished his studies went sheer mad after beeing tested positive. Not my best memories ...

Apurva Bahadur said...

Thank you for a great copy of an all time classic. Apurva from Pune, India.

David said...

Thank you for this one, and to other commenters for the interesting context. I hadn't realised till now that Franco had missed a career as a public speaker - he's a great orator, very clear very passionate delivery, a deliberate pace & a 'standard' accent that doesn't get in the wat, readily-understandable even if you have only limited French. The song is important & enjoyable - rare enough - but the glimpse of Franco the gifted and passionate & caring public speaker is precious.