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Verckys et l'Orchestre Vévé - Congolese Funk, Afrobeat & Psychedelic Rumba 1969-1978 (CD/2LP, Analog Africa, 2014)

Every new Analog Africa release is a celebration. Label founder and main activist Samy Ben Redjeb is deeply involved into hard digging, traveling in Africa or South America to gathers long lost and forgotten vinyl gems, but also photos & stories, and then, with the help of an international small crew, cooks some amazingly beautiful reissues and compilations. The artworks are splendid and there's a real visual coherence to the label. The liner notes and photos are always a treat, going deeply into the story behind the music. And the tunes are fantastic. Yes the tunes, the main thing in a record. Analog Africa knows its job. After Ghana, Benin, Angola, Togo, Colombia, and Brazil, the focus this time is in late 60s and 70s Congo, with a splendid compilation of tracks produced in Kinshasa by Georges Mateta Kiamuangana, better known as Verckys, sax player in Franco's TPOK Jazz (for "Tout Pouissant Orchestre Kinshasa Jazz"), until 1969 when he left and launched his own band Orchestre Vévé, who went on to become one of the most successful acts in Zaïre. The afrobeat/afrofunk/afro-blues tunes (1, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 8) are just killer (some of them even dancefloor filler) and the rest is more subtler, a bit more traditional, mainly about guitars-filled psychedelic rumba - as opposed to the Carribean rumba's pianos - making the whole a very fluid program that you're gonna end up playing on repeat at least a few times.

Note that we advise you to buy your CD, double LP or digital version on Analog Africa's Bandcamp page (conceived and updated by Paris DJs!), where you'll get 3 exclusive bonus tracks you won't find anywhere else!

Verckys et Orchestre Veve Congolese Funk Afrobeat and Psychedelic Rumba 1969-1978
Verckys et l'Orchestre Vévé - Congolese Funk, Afrobeat & Psychedelic Rumba 1969-1978
(CD/2LP) Analog Africa AA077, 2014-12-02 (bandcamp) 2014-12-09 (everywhere else)

Tracklisting :
01. Bassala Hot
02. Ya Nini
03. Cheka Sana 04:43
04. Oui Verckys
05. Nakobala Yo Denise
06. Sex Veve 04:25
07. Sisa Motema
08. Talali Talala
09. Zonga Vonvon
10. Nakomi Paralise
11. Matinda Comono
12. Zumbel *
13. Nitarudia *
14. Lina Omesana Boye *
* tracks 12, 13 & 14 are exclusively available when you purchase the CD, 2LP or digital on Bandcamp

Links :
Buy on bandcamp
Analog Africa : official | bandcamp | discogs | facebook | juno | parisdjs | soundcloud | youtube

Press Release :
Congo's turbulent and exhilarating '70s: Nightclubs and dance floors were packed to the brim in the capital, Kinshasa. Exuberant crowds, still giddy from independence a decade prior, grooved to the sounds of the country`s classics. In fact the whole continent was submerged into the Congolese Rumba craze. Encouraged by the fantastic productions of the Ngoma label, vibrant radio waves had been spreading the Congo sound from Leopoldville all over the continent, becoming the countries' No.1 export. The unexpected success nurtured an incredible wealth of talented musicians. One of them was Verckys, who, at age 18, became a member of the country´s most dominant and influential band; Franco´s OK Jazz.

This "relationship" however was short-lived as Verckys, aka Georges Mateta Kiamuangana, now a versatile and potent multi instrumentalist, had plans of his own - the formation of Orchestre Vévé in 1968, with the aim of reinventing and modernising the Congolese sound. Blending the ever influential prowess of James Brown with Congolese Merengue, Rumba and Soukous, Verckys stripped away the conventional approach that O.K. Jazz had pioneered, allowing his saxophone-laced melodies to dominate.

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.

But that wasn't enough for an ambitious man with a vision. He built a sprawling entertainment complex called Vévé Centre, and dispatched a team to learn the intricacies of record pressing to set up the first pressing plant in the country. This was followed by 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 travelled to Kenya for a 2 month tour. "Bassala Hot", "Cheka Sana" and "Talali Talala" were some of the tracks recorded in Nairobi for the Kenyan market, songs which are now available to the ears of the world for the very first time.

Analog Africa has now the privilege to present 11 tracks (+ 3 bonus tracks only for bandcamp!!) by Verckys et l´Orchestre Vévé at the height of their most funky capabilities. Compiled over the course of many years in a land of hardship, we welcome you to the grooviest era of the Congo with a CD, digital, and double LP release accompanied by in-depth liner notes and vintage photographs.

Verckys, who James Brown dubbed "Mister Dynamite" after seeing him perform in Kinshasa in 1974, is available for interviews and will be touring Europe in the summer of 2015. Fingers crossed !

Mastering by Michael Graves at Osiris Studio (Atlanta)
Graphic Design by Kathrin Remest
Biographies by Samy Ben Redjeb (Frankfurt) and Florent Mazzoleni (Bordeaux)
Text editing by Jimmy "Trash" Alexander (Berlin), Jutta Weise (Hildesheim) and Esra Kaliber (Istanbul)
Vinyl Record Cutting Emil Berliner Studios (Berlin)
Special Thanks To: Kiamuangana Mateta "dit" Verckys, Simon Mbaki Mazakala, Janssen Mbaki, Jean Paul Botulu, Philippe Noël, Fabian Altahona Romero, René Gorenflo and Fiston Komunga Sobela for giving Samy Ben Redjeb a shelter in Kinshasa

Compiled by Samy Ben Redjeb - All tracks fully licensed
Executive Producer : Samy Ben Redjeb for Analog Africa


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