Saturday, June 2, 2012

Why my nickname is Franco Pepe Kalle?

 Franco "Grand Maitre"                

Pepe Kalle "Giantafrique"

Some people wonder why I am such a Franco and Pepe Kalle fanatic or a better one: Why do I love Franco and Pepe Kalle so much? Or what is my real name or Why do I call myself Franco Pepe Kalle?

Well those who want to know why my main nickname is Franco Pepe Kalle, you better hear this story from me.

OK, well it started back in 2007 when I was getting bullied by many of my colleagues. Before I used to be a big time Clan Wenge fan (I still am though) and I used to love Papa Wemba big time and I used to hear primarily urban music (hip hop & R&B). I would sometimes sing some R&B music and hip hop music because I was so into it back then but people would insult and call me a phony headed fool. I was so mad and I continued. People said to me to stop listening to new music and new stuff because I was ruining those records. I was so mad. It led to some heated arguments where I was slaughtering everyone and I was mocking others for dicing me. I did some rapping degrading other people. I said afterwhile, I had enough of this and it got childish. I also did less hearing of Papa Wemba and Clan Wenge.

So I decided to hear some old school Congolese music and for some reason, I started liking these two people much more than I expected. They were Grand Maitre Franco and Giantafrique Pepe Kalle. These two men I would become obessesed over. With Franco, I would be addicted to hearing Kimpa Kisangani, Mario, Fabrice, Mamou, 12,600 Letters, Tres Impoli, and Les Rumeurs. As you see I loved Franco's 1980s records big time. The song that always stook out from Franco was Fabrice. It was a recorded that was never made like Franco made it. The way he talked and dialogued about Fashion is quite blunt and real. That is a good thing. I mean that is quite something that was a unique thing in my view. Franco's guitar playing also stood to me. I mean the way Franco played his solos were very fierce and were Grand Master like. I would sometimes act like a moronic kid and I felt that I did some stuff as a Franco. I would cry sometimes when seeing Franco because he died before I was born. Franco also was real in his songs and sometimes he spoke about the very flaws of society and knew how hard life was as he was a streetboy himself. That is why I am such a Franco fanatic.

With Pepe Kalle, it started when I decided to hear soukous I felt was blocked by other people. So I did. I was so happy hearing some Pepe Kalle records. For me with Pepe Kalle, it was Roger Milla, Pon Moun Paka Bouge, Moyibi, Johnny Bitoto, Article 15, Mama Leki Ndeya, Guy Guy Mandimba, Young Africa, and Gerant. These songs made me so into Pepe Kalle. I felt that Pepe Kalle's soukous was more unique than even Clan Wenge. Pepe Kalle just made soukous something bigger and better. Pon Moun Paka Bouge, you had something where Pepe Kalle could sing and animate at the same time. It was a genius for my opinion. Pepe Kalle was the entertainer throughout the song. Roger Milla was always one of my favorite songs. As I kid, I used to always jump and act like a total moron. Another thing I found interesting about Pepe Kalle, he was one of the best lead singers I have seen for a while. Pepe Kalle was a great musician. Because I had found some uniqueness of Pepe Kalle also due to his understanding of life and how he was for the underclass in society. That explains why I am a Pepe Kalle fanatic.

Because of these, I would be into Franco and Pepe Kalle so often in my life. By 2011, I decided that it was time to make my known nickname known as Franco Pepe Kalle. I am convinced that Franco and Pepe Kalle are the Kings of Congolese Music. I listen to music in general but I am more into Franco and Pepe Kalle.

So now I call myself Franco Pepe Kalle. If you want more of info about this topic from me, you can tell through my emails either or


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hi, I'm Nounou.
    Up until now, I was convinced that I was the only true and biggest Pepe Kalle and his Empire's fan on the planet, but when I found your blog, my belief was shaken to it's very foundations!!! I like Franco too, and have tens of his songs, but for me Pepe Kalle is Numero Uno!!!

    I am very impressed at your dedication and the amount of time and resources you put in making Pepe Kalle's name be known and not just fade away. You have also a lot of interesting knowledge about Congolese music in general (although some of your ideas about church and faith are rather... "interesting" :-)

    Well, I also have a story I want to share about Pepe Kalle.
    I am very sad that I never had the opportunity to see him when he was alive, but he sure was a great musician, and he had a very deep impact on me in my younger days. I'll get back to that soon enough.
    In today's Congo music, you can't almost tell who is who. The songs are so alike, maybe because of lack of creativity, but in my younger days, when you heard a song, you could instantly tell what band it was, and Pepe Kalle was so creative, so original that his songs never sounded like any other!

    It was around 1990 in Goma, eastern Congo (Zaire at that time). I was around 12, and my mom sent me to the market to buy tomatoes to put in some chicken she was roasting. The market was not so far, just 10-15 minutes I guess.
    Before I got to the market, I passed by a music shop in a corner, and they had these huge loud speakers outside by the door, and there was a song playing. The song was very rhythmic and up-tempo, the bass was groovy, and the solo guitar was like nothing I had heard before.
    Then the song ended in the most strange way! Usually when a song ends, it just fades out, but this song didn't. Rather, all the instruments stopped playing, and only the lead singer went on calling up, and the choir would answer Ekoki... Ekoki...Ekoki (that's enough, that's it)!
    This song made such an on me in a way I can't describe. It was just like falling in love at first sight, if you've ever experienced that.
    I completely forgot what I was doing there, and what my mom had sent me to buy. I spent quite a time there, trying to remember, but the only thing that would come to my mind was this song. Eventually I went back home empy handed, and mom got so angry...
    I was just a kid, so I didn't even think of getting in the shop to ask what song that was. I just walked back home, but the solo (or sebene) of that song and its ending never left my head, and from that day on, I started making toy guitars just so I could play that solo.

  3. Only in 1996 did I hear that song again. By this time I was in Uvira, south Kivu region, if you know, and I was walking on the street, and I heard it coming from a plot nearby. The melody was so deep in my brain that I recognized it at once! I stopped, and went to the house, knocked politely, and said, sorry, but can you please tell me what cassette you are playing?
    That day I learned that the song was a Pepe Kalle composition called "Ndako Ya Zeke", the last song on the Pon Moun Paka Bouge album (Actually, the album's real title is "Giant Afrique The Bombe Atomique").
    I was so happy to discover the song, and from that day on I became a hardcore Pepe Kalle fan, and started collecting his albums. Today I have over 21 of them, that is around 150 songs, and I never get tired of listening to any one of them! I have introduced my 3yrs daughter to this music also, so she can take good care of those albums, once I'm not here anymore.

    Also the love of that music made me pick up the guitar. Today I can play most of Kinanga Boeing 737 solos, and although I rather embraced rock and blues guitar style in a band setting, I still play Empire Bakuba in my spare time, and every single day I thank Pepe Kalle and his Empire Bakuba for inspiring me to pick up guitar, and having such a deep impact on me.

    I wish I could find some other people who are interested in this music, so we can start a tribute band or something, but that seems unlikely.

    Well, I just wanted to share that story. If you'd like me to play you Ndako Ya Zeke, the song that introduced me to Empire Bakuba's music, and made me pick up guitar, just contact me at, I can post a video for you on youtube.

    Peace, and Long Live Pepe Kalle (RIP).

    1. Ow wow. I didn't know that you really liked Pepe Kalle a lot. Sorry for my late response. I was doing other things. Actually Ndako Ya Zeke is one Pepe Kalle song that I really enjoy too. I always get happy when I hear this great song.

      Well I would not say I am a diehard Pepe Kalle fan. I am a Pepe Kalle fanatic though. I am also a Franco fanatic. I love how Franco was able to enjoy his mouthy lyrics and raw guitar. I enjoy Franco and Pepe Kalle very equally. They are both my favorite stars in Zaire music.

      But don't worry man. I too have some other music I also like. I enjoy R&B and HIP HOP as I mentioned. I like some KRS-ONE and Kurtis and also Ice Cube. Ice Cube was and still is a real rapper. My favorite Ice Cube record is Today Was a Good Day. That record is dope. I love some R&B singers especially soul singers. I love Musiq Solechild, D'Angelo, Joss Stone, Natasha Bedingfield, Eric Bennet, Robin Thicke, Ne-Yo, Adele, Luther Vandross, Ledisi, Monica, Alicia Keys, Marvin Gaye, and others. Soul Music is love music which I enjoy quite a bit. I love some romantic music so I have no problem if you like something else.

      I do like some rock music somewhat. I do occasionally bands like Led Zepellan, Ac/Dc, The Beatles, Metallica, Green Day & REM. Only occasionally. I do like the song Shook Me all night Long.

      I will say you still remain the diehard PEPE KALLE fan. I will say that I like Pepe Kalle quite bit. I listen to PEPE KALLE very often. Pepe Kalle's Roger Milla is one record that I will never get enough of.

      Don't worry. Want to talk, My email is at


  4. Guys, I enjoyed your inputs. For me, my soul is completely Congolese music especially the old ones. I am now hungry to learn the art of playing guitar, whatever. This will be the only tribute I owe these Giants of the Congolese Music. Those that have gone, may they come back fully prepared to reclaim their possessions because the younger ones have polluted the Congolese music scene. Bahati1977, post that your video. Thanks.


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