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David Bradford

guitarist, teacher, composer, arranger, and civil rights advocate, was born in Norfolk County, Virginia, to Exum Holland a farmer. His mother's name is not recorded.

Justin Holland recognized at an early age that rural Virginia offered few opportunities for an ambitious young African American. Born on a farm in Norfolk County to free parents in 1819, Holland was only fourteen when he set out for Boston. Massachusetts was the first state to abolish slavery (in 1783 and Boston had a small but comparatively thriving black population Holland found work that provided in his words a good living in nearby Chelsea and became immersed in the energetic cultural life of the city He had shown a knack for music from a young age but farm life provided little opportunity to develop musical talent Now inspired by the performances of Mariano Perez one of the ...

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Elias Bongmba

Congolese (Democratic Republic of the Congo [DCR]) composer, guitarist, poet, social critic, satirist, political commentator, and orchestra leader, whose full name was L’Okanga La Ndju Pene Luambo Makiadi alias Franco, reigned for more than thirty years as king of rumba, a wizard of orchestration, and a monument of the Congolese and the African song. He certainly was one of the intellectual giants of Africa in the twentieth century.

Makiadi was born in Sona Bata on 6 July 1938 to Joseph Emongo and his wife Mbonga Makiesse. He left school and focused on music, and made his own guitar at age 7. In 1953 Franco recorded his first song, “Bolingo na ngai na Beatrice” (My Love for Beatrice), beginning a long engagement with themes dealing with love and women.

Paul Dewayon served as a mentor to the young Franco During his long career Makiadi and his exemplary musicians recorded over 150 ...