Franco Luambo — Attention Na SIDA
from Attention Na SIDA (1987)
I’m reading microbiologist Peter Piot’s excellent book about his life working in Africa, No Time to Lose: A Life in Pursuit of Deadly Viruses. It details the discovery and scientific detective work behind big killers like Ebola and HIV in central Africa, especially the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In the book he mentions several campaigns to publicize the threat of HIV in 1980s Zaire. One was the “social marketing” of condoms—supplying them outside bars and nightclubs alongside cigarettes, drinks and cola nuts.
Another way to get the message out was music, like this track by Franco Luambo, from the Tout Pouissant Orchestre Kinshasa Jazz Band, which people danced to in nightclubs across the country. SIDA means AIDS in French—syndrome d’immunodéficience acquise—and Franco’s lyrics talk of protecting oneself to fight its spread.
The track had a personal resonance for Franco. He’d already been living with HIV for some years when he recorded this track, and he died of AIDS just two years later, in 1989.
Props to Rhythm Connection for the rip…