O.K. Jazz The Loningisa Years 1956-1961

cover-ok-jazz-planet-ilungamade with love…lots of research and discovering great long lost Congolese music. That is the first impression of this new release by the Belgian label Planet Ilunga. This exciting young label wants to contribute to restore the rich Congolese music archive, firstly through high quality vinyl issues and extensive booklets.

 O.K. Jazz The Loningisa Years 1956-1961

 ∞∞∞ Release date: 1 February 2017 ∞∞∞


After the two earlier releases on Planet Ilunga, focusing on the orchestras African Jazz and Rock-a-Mambo, it makes perfect sense that a third album should explore the treasures of that other major school of popular Congolese music. With this new compilation Planet Ilunga goes back to the very early days of O.K. Jazz, founded in 1956 in Léopoldville and disbanded in 1993. During the late fifties O.K. Jazz was the home of outstanding musicians such as Franco, Vicky, De La Lune, Edo Nganga, Dessoin, Kouka Celestin, Isaac, Brazzos, Mujos and many others. Together they created an unique and hair-raising take on rumba, cha-cha-cha, calypso, merengue and the band’s favourite rhythm: the bolero

Tscha-Tscha Del Zombo

From June 1956 to August 1961 the band recorded 320 tracks for the 78 rpm music label Loningisa. Despite earlier efforts from labels such as Crammed Disc, RetroAfric and African (thank you!), there is still a large part of the Loningisa back catalogue that remains hidden from the public. That’s why Planet Ilunga associated with Yves Luambo Emongo (son of Franco) and Julien Rocky Longomba (son of Vicky) and compiled 32 O.K. Jazz songs that were recorded between 1956 and 1961.

Na Kobala Mimi

All songs on this compilation were originally released on 78 rpm records on the Loningisa label and most of the selected tracks were never reproduced after their original release. I tried to construct a tracklist consisting of different composers and different genres to show the diversity of this great band. Planet Ilunga collaborated for this release with a few 78 rpm collectors. I would once again like to thank them for sharing their rare records.

Mousica Tellama

Vinyl-only release
* 2LP vinyl: 32 tracks (total running time: 93:25): tracklist, see Discogs
* Comes with a 40-page booklet (in English) with lyrics in Lingala, lots of pictures and a closer look to this terrific band
* Full artwork gatefold album cover by Miadana Aurélia
* 180 gram vinyl
* Restored and remastered tracks
* Limited and numbered to 500 copies
* Worldwide distribution through carefully selected vinyl shops
* First orders receive a limited O.K. Jazz concert poster, made by Muzikifan, only 75 made

Mbongo Na Ngai Judas


Compiled with the precious help of Stefan Werdekker from the music plaform Worldservice and Flemmming Harrev from afrodisc.com.

Special thanks to Julien Rocky Longomba and Yves Luambo Emongo, respectively sons of Victor Longomba (aka Vicky, tenor voice in O.K. Jazz) and François Luambo Makiadi (aka Franco, guitarist in O.K. Jazz).Thanks to the 78 rpm collectors Christian Van den Broeck and David Manet. Thanks to Alastair Johnston from the Muzikifan website who made the poster and revised the booklet. Melesi mingi Christian Ongoba & Henriette Alipaye for the transciption of the songs in in Lingala.

Order info

Shops and distributors that would like to distribute this release, please contact Planet Ilunga for wholesale details.  Readers can already pre-order a copy of this release by sending  an email at planetilunga@gmail.com or going to the shop page on the Planet Ilunga blog. For those who don’t have the second Planet Ilunga release (Rock-A-Mambo/African Jazz – Souvenirs From Esengo 1957-1961) yet, feel free to ask for a copy. A few copies are still available. The first release (Souvenirs from the Congo) is completely sold out.

Links to order:




More info on the label

Planet Ilunga specializes in archiving, documenting and sharing the “Rumba Lingala” sound from the fifties and sixties from both the Congos. In the following years, Planet Ilunga wants to contribute to restore the rich Congolese music archive, in the first place through high quality vinyl issues and extensive booklets. Your sharing of this mailing, video or info to fellow (Congolese) music lovers would be very welcome.

Hit Parade Africain -Spring 2013 Mix -rumba, soukous, afrobeat

hit parade africain cover voor

to kick off the new month here is a groovy mix of great rumba, soukous, afrobeat…all tracks taken from ‘Hit Parade Africain Vol 4’, released by the wonderful label Melodisc Records Ltd that was based in London.  No year of publication is indicated, so I estimate that  this release is from mid 70s.  Melodisc Records Ltd released a remarkable selection of early ska, rocksteady and African music and the records are quite rare these days….so enjoy this mix!

Hit Parade Africain Vol 4 -Orchestre Les Noirs, Orchestre Sinza, Franco & Orchestre TP Ok Jazz, Orchestre Les Rebelles, Les Bantous, Orchestre Mando Negro, Orchestre Hi-Fives MLP 12-198 UK

hit parade africain cover achter

hit parade africain label side 1

Hit Parade Africain Mix 1 April 2013

 Orchestre Sinza -Mahoungou

Franco et l’Orchestre TP OK Jazz -Ye Nr. 1

Orchestre Les Rebelles -Manicero

Les Bantous -Macaro

Orchestre Les Noirs -Sikiya Sauce Nr. 1

Orchestre Les Noirs -Amin Nr. 1

Orchestre Hi-Fives -Belina Mon Amour

hit parade africain label side 2

Franco & Le TPOK Jazz Live in Holland 1987

Zairean music owes its popularity to people like Franco, Rochereau and Docteur Nico. From Docteur Nico, Franco learned the modern style of guitar playing. Franco’s well-known way of playing is holding his guitar against his voluminous stomach and because high tones are beyond the reach of his deep bass he adjusts the sound of his guitar with the ‘capo dastro’.

When Franco plays one tone lower, the female dancers, La Zumarette come on stage in a floating manner, dressed in colourful clothes. They move around, swaying their hips, clapping their hands and dancing the fast dancing steps, characteristic for Zaire. By their dancing the musicians get inspired.

 Franco & Le TPOK Jazz En Hollande side A

Franco & Le TPOK Jazz En Hollande side B

In 1953, Franco got his first real guitar from his record producer at that time. In 1956, he set up his first band O.K. Jazz. After the independence of Zaire, Franco scored a hit with ‘Musumbuku’. His band grew from 9 to 37 persons and became famous as T.P.O.K. (Tout Puissant Orchestre Kinois’) Jazz. With this group he played in most African countries and also in the USA and Europe. The sales of his records were enormous. Now he has his own record company in Zaire, he owns immovable property in that country and he also owns a house in Brussels, Belgium. Besides, he is the owner of the club Un, Deux, Trois in Kinshasha, a dance-hall and a meeting place for musicians who are members of the Zairean Union of Musicians.

Franco is a dynamic and friendly person with a good sense of humour, which he assimilates in his texts. He jokes about the contact between men and women; he not only sings about love bu also about historical events in the world.

The atmosphere of his music is cheerful; a dazzling, inexhaustible show radiant with energy. In short: what you and hear is the grand “maitre” himself.

This album was recorded in Holland during the Africa Mama Festival in 1987 and features members of T.P.O.K. Jazz

Lutumba Simaro, Madilu System, Kiesse Kiambu Wanted, Malage de Lugendo, Lokombe N’bal on vocals and the well known Nigerian saxophone player Pedro.

The poet Lutumba Simaro, who has been workin together with Franco for 30 years, is also Franco’s right-hand man and his ‘chef d’orchestre’.

The album ‘Franco & Le TPOK Jazz Live in Holland’  is like a Holy Grail to most lovers of Zairean music since it is one of the rare live-recordings of Franco just a short time of his decease. Soul Safari is happy to share it with you.

There is such a great energy on this album and a memorable line-up of 24 musicians and a group of 3 dancers La Zumarette

 Franco & Le TPOK Jazz En Hollande -Africa Mama Records 87.01-1 Holland 1987

See also Francorestored