Review | Verckys et l´Orchestre Vévé – Congolese Funk, Afrobeat & Psychedelic Rumba 1969-1978


Words by Max Reinhardt

More oddball 70s funk from Afrobeat’s bottomless well

You have to hand it to Frankfurt-based label Analog Africa. The fuel on which it runs is a passionate obsession with African and South American music from the 70s and 80s. Many of the artists featured on their compilations will be new to most people’s ears. I’d certainly never heard of Verckys (aka Georges Mateta Kiamuangana), even though Verckys played with Franco’s OK Jazz, was a major force in recording and producing bands like Zaiko Langa Langa and Tabu Ley Rochereau and used the new studio technology of the 70s to bring a new sound to Kinshasa.

As you can hear on every track, he and his band brought a raw energy, vibrancy and sheer funkiness to the Congolese rumba scene, partly because of the spikier arrangements and faster tempos, partly because of the increased profile of the drums in the mix: he was influenced by the funk of James Brown, the Afrobeat of Fela Kuti and by the ubiquitous psychedelic blues of the day. Check the flawless pulsing blues of ‘Sex Vévé’, the Afro-funk of ‘Cheka Sana’ or the fat funky organ ofOui Verckys’. But this band could also stand up against the classic rumba bands with sax-drenched tracks such asSisa Motema. Essential.

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