Verckys & Orchestre Veve / Cheka Sana

Verckys, born in Kisantu, Bas-Congo in 1944 as Georges Mateta Kiamuangana, is a recording artist, composer, saxophonist and band leader in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He took the name Verckys after being impressed with American sax player King Curtis and he heard the name “Curtis” as “Verckys”.

In 1963, he became a member of the soukous band OK Jazz, led by François Luambo Makiadi, which dominated the Congolese music scene from the 1950s through the 1980s.

In 1969, Verckys left OK Jazz and formed his own band, Orchestre Vévé. Verkys also managed two other bands, which he owned: Orchestre Kiam and Orchestre Lipua Lipua. Among the musicians who played for Verkys in the 1970s are Nyboma Mwandido and Pepe Kalle.

Around 1970 a new important area began with the foundation of the label “les Editions Vévé” on which Verckys would release his own productions. A studio was built and Verckys started recording young urban artists, with guitar-driven Cavacha sounds; Les Freres Soki, Bella Bella, Orchestre Kiam and many more shot to stardom overnight, making Verckys a very wealthy man. He built a sprawling entertainment complex called Vévé Centre and oversaw the construction of the Congo’s most modern recording studio in Kinshasa, in which he recorded the legendary Tabu Lay Rochereau. Orchestre Vévé‘s popularity poured across borders and in 1974 the band traveled to Kenya for a two-month tour. James Brown, upon seeing Verckys perform that year, was moved to dub him “Mister Dynamite.”

German label “Analog Africa” released compilation of his tracks “Congolese Funk, Afrobeat & Psychedelic Rumba 1969-1978” in 2014.

“Cheka Sana” is one of the tracks recorded in Nairobi for the Kenyan market. Song was originally released as 7” single in France 1975(?) by the label “African”.

Artist / Verckys, Orchestre Veve
Track / Cheka Sana
Album / Cheka Sana / Talali Talala
Label / African
Format / 7", Single
Released / 1975
Genre / Funk
Links / Bandcamp
Find it at / Bandcamp, Juno

Also known as / Verckys Kiamuangana Mateta, Georges Kiamuangana
Origin / Democratic Republic of the Congo
Genre / Soukous, Funk
Links / Wikipedia, Discogs

Orchestre Veve
Also known as / L'Orchestre Veve, Orch. Veve, Orchestre Vévé, Orquestre Veve
Origin / Zaire, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Genre / Soukous, Funk
Links / Discogs