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Date: 27/04/17

Franco & Le TPOK Jazz - "Azda"

OK, it's time I got cross-cultural on yo' ass again.

This is a track I first heard in the early 1990s (though it dates from about twenty years before that) when it was played by the great John Peel.

François Makiadi (aka Franco) was a Congolese/Zairois guitarist and singer who was active from the mid-1950s to his death in 1989, and who was a master of the Congolese rumba style. He became one of the major figures in African music, although his image was somewhat tarnished by his acceptance of an award from the somewhat unhinged dictator of Zaire, Mobutu; an award which allied him with the autocratic élite which did enormous damage to a country which had already suffered from the peculiarly vicious type of colonialism practised by - of all nations - the Belgians.

I suppose we all have to eat. And it may have been that same impulse which compelled Franco to compose this song.

Because it is an advertisement. Not - as you might think - for an English supermarket chain now owned by the repulsive Walmart, but for a car dealership in Kinshasa. Azda sold Volkswagens, and you can hear regular mentions of "Vé Wé" (i.e. "VW") throughout.

Whatever your views on this type of thing, you have to admit that it's one of the most exuberant promotional songs you're ever likely to come across: