What things that Franco beats Pepe Kalle in
We have two part post that I have been wanting to do but had no chance. I am sorry for the long delay. I had so many things to do that I did not have a chance to do this.
Where Franco defeats Pepe Kalle
1) The better leader
Franco had a capacity to have leadership that no one else could have ever had. Franco was able to combine some big talents into OK Jazz. Think about Ntesa Dalienst, Josky Kiambukuta, Madilu System, Rondot Kasongo, Papa Noel, Michelino, Dizzy Mandjeku, and many others. Pepe Kalle was never able to do that. He already had a set of musicians before he got other talents but they were not big shots except Djodjo Ikomo who played for Franco's OK Jazz. Very interesting. But Franco was able to make his mark in Congolese music more as a leader and not just a solo star.
2) Bigger Star
While I argue some of Pepe Kalle's best work was outside of Empire Bakuba but Franco's solo or nzingnzong was much better than Pepe Kalle. I mean after all, Franco's work with Tabu Ley was way better than Pepe Kalle's work with Tabu Ley. Franco and Tabu Ley had better chemsitry than Pepe Kalle and Tabu Ley. I wish Franco and Tabu Ley sang vocals together more than they actually did. I like Pepe Kalle and Tabu Ley and their vocals together but I think Tabu Ley's voice would have made more sense with Franco than with Pompon Kuleta, Mbilia Bel, Kiesse Diambu, Pepe Kalle let alone Josky Kiambukuta. Hey does Madilu ring a bell. If you think Franco was so great with Madilu, then Franco would have been better with Tabu Ley. I actually wished Franco and Tabu Ley would have worked together in 1977 since they were becoming the "official legends" of Congolese music and their voices were on top notch. Yes even Franco sounded vocally way better in 1977 than any other year. Imagine it was 1977, Franco and Tabu Ley would have been a even better moment.
3) Tabu Ley
This leads to my third reason. Tabu Ley was a better partner to Franco than Pepe Kalle for not just vocals alone but with Franco, Tabu Ley could really show his true "personality" if you know what I mean. Since Franco loved Tabu Ley's voice, Franco wanted to make sure that some of his singers reminded him of Tabu Ley. It even leads to Franco change his music to make more like "Afrisa" or "African Jazz school" as Sam Mangwana had described. Look at the interview here. He explains Franco's desire to bring Africa Jazz school
Tabu Ley had more passion in his songs with Franco than he did with Pepe Kalle. I mean Tabu Ley was passionate too but with Franco, it was at a very different. Which once again leads to me wondering why Tabu Ley never took a chance to do a collaboration with Simaro. Honestly Simaro likes singers like Tabu Ley. I will do songs where I know Tabu Ley would have fitted in perfectly. Unfortunately King of Soukous Pepe Kalle was not able to get Tabu Ley to be more like "Tabu Ley". King of Rumba Franco was able to. And since Tabu Ley disliked Franco's leadership skills, probably that might have played into another reason why Tabu Ley's voice was so intense at times. Especially one particular song. NGUNGI. Hear it here. Oh boy Tabu Ley was really passionate. Incredible. That is all I can say.
I feel pity for the King of Soukous because King of Rumba had more effect on Tabu Ley. Oh Franco and Tabu Ley, imagine if they had done few more songs together. I will just leave that to imagination for that.
4) Better Storyteller
Franco and Pepe Kalle were both storytellers but the one that was best was really Franco essentially. Franco was able to tell stories that are ordinary and yet make it distinctive from others. The way he spoke about love, politics and controversy was something that made you think and many times, it was very satire which is one part of why I am a Franco fanatic and why I am heavily biased towards. Also Franco was looking well for his citizens. That is not what many powerful folks like to do. They like to look for themselves and not for the citizens as a whole. Franco was a great exception for this. This might explain why many people had disdain for Franco. Because Franco used his fame for call for awareness for life rather than just pity crap.
5) Better singers
Franco was very good at finding good solid singers. Pepe Kalle had excellent singers but Franco was greater at finding incredible vocalists. Think about Wuta Mayi, Madilu, Malage de Lugendo, Josky Kiambukuta, and even Ndombe Opetum (The closest singer in OKJ to Tabu Ley). Pepe Kalle never cared much about getting quality singers since he had Dilu Dilumona and Papy Tex though he had few impressive singers such as Biya Chante, Solo Sita and Djodjo Ikomo as well as Desouza.
6) Big Recognition
Think about how incredible Franco was. Well some people make a big deal of Franco as it is well deserved. I mean a man that has been in the music scene for three decades. It is a good thing that he's got some well recognized attention for his incredible dedication in life. Franco's greatness just gets more power than Pepe Kalle's greatness.
Franco was the best master of Media which was Franco really defeats Pepe Kalle. Since Franco had more power, media was begging for him. As notice in Franco's interviews, they were scared of him. They wanted to make him so happy though Franco wanted them to know that all things would be good. But the journalists were just scared of him. Franco's power was big.
Just look at this interview here with these "journalists"
Franco was the better composer than Pepe Kalle. At times, Pepe Kalle's best moments in other people's songs. But for Franco, it was almost and always his own songs. You can see how incredible of a composer Franco was. Franco was able to make his songs distinctive and stand out from the cloud. That was I enjoy hearing his songs. Especially the songs composed by Franco and and the ones that he sings in. Because you can feel and smell the greatness of Franco in those songs. Finally, you notice that Franco was able to make his own way into his classic songs.
Franco's fans are much stronger than Pepe Kalle's fans. Whenever you dice Franco, many of his fans get passionate and they will not let you get away with it. With PK's fans, they get mad but they don't have those strong reactions like you would with Pepe Kalle fans. Plus Franco fans do a lot of works to promote their man and they want people to know how great Franco was and important Franco was to Congolese music as well as African music as a whole. Franco just had fans that would come and want to be near him. In Tanzania, people were dying because they just wanted to feel the "magic" of Franco. It is helped by that Franco knew some Swahili. Though Franco was from Kinshasa, he managed to capture some Swahili along his way. That is how much power that Franco's fans had. Pepe Kalle fan's were mere footnotes compare to Franco's fans. Yes Pepe Kalle's fans were passionate but not the way Franco's fans were.
Here references from Simaro in documentary "King of Rumba"
10) Great Influence in African Music
Franco became so much like a king material in his music that other musicians in African countries tried to get him to see him or be like him. For example, some musicians in Tanzania tried to act and play like Franco. Case in point late Tanzania legend Mbaraka Mwinshehe. He was a fanatic of Franco. The biggest fanatic in Tanzanian music crowd. He loved and envied Franco to death. So much so, when he did his music, he wanted to make sure that you noticed "Franco ideology" in his guitar. It worked very well for Mbaraka with many Tanzanians which was why it was so sad when he passed away in 1979 in a car accident. So much promise with Mbaraka Mwinshehe. But Franco had a bigger fan base in another East African country. Kenya. One person that was a big fan of his was Musa Juma. He managed to get a little Franco into his system and he managed to get success from it and he would be a big star until his bizarre death in 2011.
Listen to Mbaraka with two songs from him that I like very much.
With Musa Juma, it was part of a pattern of how much Franco was beloved in Kenya. When Franco set his foot in Kenya, boy the Kenyans were never the same. Since then, many Kenyans whenever they think about Congolese Older music, they think really essentially Franco more than anyone else. Pepe Kalle does not a strong fan base in Kenya. Pepe Kalle never impressed the Kenyans like Franco did. Franco managed to make Kenyans feel like his children. In fact when Franco went to Kenya, he loved Kisumu. He said that was the moment that he found himself. Kisumu was Franco's big place in Kenya. He enjoyed performing in Kisumu. This time was in 1986 and 1988 periods. For those times, Franco found a fanatical base there. I believe if Kenyans chose between Franco and Pepe Kalle, it would be Franco before Pepe Kalle.