Mario, from Jonal & Malage de Lugendo

A couple of nights ago heard a radio documentary on Franco Luambo Makiadi on BBC World African Perspectives.  You can get it as a podcast from the African Perspectives website.

'Mario' was Franco's most famous song, the opening soukous guitar chords are unmistakable, as is his voice.  This is OK Jazz, from the Congo.  Aboubacar Siddikh has posted a 1985 version in two parts:  there's an interview and discussion in the middle between 4:16 - 6:30.  This is the link to Part 1, then it continues in Part 2.

African jazz was the soundtrack to my life in the early 90s where I would spend the summers in Calgary and drive to Austin Texas for the rest of the year.  The drive down in mid August was terribly gruelling: the temperature goes up 10 degrees each day, so one leaves Alberta at 15°C (5° at night) and arrives in central Texas at 45°C.  These were the days of cassette tapes, of which I had two shoe boxes.  By the end of the day when a campsite showed on the map and one could leave the relentless, fiery heat of the highway, I'd put on my African tapes — Salif Keita, the Malathini Queens, Franco: spirits lift, the pets would know we were about to stop, all would be repaired.  This is music for heat and high humidity where languid is the only way to move.

While looking for Franco's Mario, I found Scott Shuster's posting of Mario done by Jonal and Malage de Luendo.  This is long - 17 minutes or so, but just the thing to ameliorate the coming week of deadlines, deliveries delayed, and all that work to do.  

Shuster writes (on the original YouTube posting):

LOKASSA YA MBONGO rhythm break about 12:45-minutes into the clip, & great Franco-style solo work by Shiko Mawatu throughout. Also modern Congolese male dancing -watch the WHOLE 19-minutes! They play the Azda Volkswagen commercial commercial at the end, brining back radio memories of the 1970s for millions of Zairoise, Congolese, and others of the Central and East African region. Congolese rumba newbies can learn more about this music at africambiance.com and at tribes.tribe.net/soukousguitar