As I am typing this, I have split my desktop screen. On my left, there is an Mp4 of Franco and his band performing. On my right – well, that is where I am doing all the typing.
The Grand Master Franco Luambo Makiadi, in 1987, trooped Utrecht, Holland, with his Tout Puissant Orchestre Kinshasa (T.P OK Jazz) and if there is anything to go by, the saying “bringing a city to a standstill” must have been motivated by this performance. The hall is full to capacity, not even a housefly could have gotten its way through. The audience is electrified, appetising for a piece of T.P OK Jazz.
Sure, as in the name, T.P OK Jazz had very powerful segments that were and still too difficult to ignore, instrumentally, vocally and lyrically. If Franco and T.P OK Jazz’s were to be studied in nutrition and dietetics classes, then their songs would have been recommended for eating for a healthy living.
On the stage, Dizzy Mandjeku, a lethal solo guitarist, has just set the stage, introducing the band to the excited audience. Franco has just left the stage after a brief appearance. Immediately afterwards, Petit Pierre, rhythm guitarist, hits the strings, and instantly, the drummer, and other guitarists, hit the cords, and from this brief notification, Josky walks to one of the microphones, and the song is Cherie Obebisi Na Motema also known as Amour Viole.
Josky is the lead vocalist, and he is ably backed by the calm Lola Checain, the Most Wanted Kiesse Diambu, and Djo Mpoyi Kanyinda. The guitar segment is commanded by Petit Pierre, who plays the flawless, sweet rhythm, Flavien Makabi is firmly on the bass, Gerry Dialungana playing solo, Dizzy Mandjeku playing the second solo, and Thierry Mantuika doing the interjections on the solos.
Josky is deeply into singing and watching from where I am seated, it is fair to observe that he is possed. He unleashes his sweet melody, with flawless perfection. He hits high and low pitches with admirable easiness. He has mastered his strength, and surely, he knows his fan base loves to hear from him. he disappoints not.
Then there is a sebene segment, with the guitarists putting up a thorough dance, then the stage is charged, and just when the sweetness epitomises, the band chief orchestra signals the end of it. The drums, the guitars, saxophones, trumpets, all end beautifully. The visibly charged audience is left yearning for more. It is a practical example of what suspense is. But, the concert has just begun with such vigour, yet, the Grand Master is yet to grace the stage.
Then the majestic Franco appears, huge like the Biblical Goliath, and huge enough to fit his huge name. And just when the vocalists and anyone else is getting a breath, Franco hits the mic: “Papa yoyo…” and it is on.
The song being performed now is called Nostalgia written and sang by Josky Kiambukuta Londa. In the studio version, Franco is not featured in the vocals. However in this powerful performance, he is part of the lead vocalists, with back up from the young Malage De Lugendo, Pepe Ndombe Opetum and Djo Mpoyi, and other segments are delivered by Josky.
At first, it appears like Franco wants to sing it all, gesturing if Josky would chip in. Then without saying it, Josky sings it. Franco, in his thunderous vocals, enjoys singing his part, other times gesturing the other vocalists, instrumentalists to keep the fire burning, and when Josky hits the vocals, the fire, literally burns. Josky and Franco are thrilled. It is a talent-experience galore.
I found myself singing along to this song, and I let my tears to do as they wish. It is emotional, yet entertaining. Painful. Nostalgic. It is a cocktail of thoughts, emotions. I am overwhelmed, yet captivated so strongly by the rare talents at the display.
Apart from physical therapy, guidance and counselling, among other diagnoses offered to patients who are suffering from various illness and problems, Josky Kiambukuta’s song – thus his vocals – should be enlisted as part of the recovery processes. His, Josky’s vocals, to say the least, are medicinal.
Josky Kiambukuta Londa, aka Djo Sex, aka Le Commandant De Bord, rested this morning 7th March 2021 at Ngaliema Hospital, Kinshasa, in the Republic Democratic of Congo, at 76.
Rumba fraternity, world wide is mourning. And as we accept this, I have selected some of the songs by Josky – the ones he either sang or composed just to keep our memories fresh. And for the rest of this month of March, keep it here as we continue to celebrate our departed icon.
- Salima – composed by Michellino Mavatiku Visi.
- Chacun pour soi
- Medicin De Nuit
- Sans Retcur
- Concience Tranquille
- Lassez Passez – composed by Sax Matalanza.
- Nganda Lopango Batekisi – composed by Simaro Lutumba.
Josky is gone, yet he is much here with us. Mama Wiiiiiiva!
May you rest in power, Le Commandant.