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  • Writer's pictureThe African Dream

3rd 2023 PEPITE (Francesco Nchikala)

Updated: Dec 20, 2022



Francesco Nchikala is the modern troubadour known as the "griot of Congo Kinshasa". Born in Lubumbashi in the DRC, he was introduced to the world of music at the age of seven by the children's choir of his parish. Five years later, he left his hometown for Kinshasa, where he soon joined another choir. After two operations that prevented him from making any effort, he did not start singing again until the age of 19. His mother, who has always loved culture, has had a strong influence on his life. She helped Francesco to fill the gap with literature. He discovered another artistic environment. He began to read and write plays for his school, as well as poems and songs. Winner of the Georges Simenon prize, organised by the Wallonie-Bruxelles centre in Kinshasa, he was able to impose his talent.

But the desire to sing was always present. In 2002, his mother gave him his first guitar. He took music lessons and six months later he was spotted by a group of musicians in Kinshasa and became their second guitarist. His influence came from the street, the books he read and his guitar teacher. He only started singing in 2003.

2005 was the year he returned to his hometown and finished high school. Between his medical and music courses, and live concerts where he accompanies other artists, he gives his first acoustic concert in Safina, which marks a turning point in his career. The band Manus was founded in 2009. Looking for composers and guitarists, he gathered his musician friends and formed a band. Using instruments such as violin, saxophone, accordion and piano, they were able to make a mixture of genres (which he calls Katanga) such as smooth jazz, blues, rock, folklore and rumba...

The same year, he created the Jazz Café at the French Institute in Lubumbashi, where the band Manus performs every last Friday of the month.

In 2009, he was invited to the "Africa Vive" festival in Spain. He then decided to devote himself entirely to music. When Francesco performs, it is a party. The music, the scenography and the dancers are what make his concerts exciting and outrageously fun.

Francesco flew to Barcelona, Spain in 2013 to record his first album 'Open Letters' in the studio. The Open Letters adventure is just beginning. (See

In 2017, he is hired as artistic director by the complex "La Plage" in Lubumbashi and does not stop performing and making his music travel beyond the borders of the African continent (Belgium, San Salvador, Spain, Italy, Sweden...).

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