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Biography

At age 18, Verckys, born Georges Mateta Kiamuangana, became a member of the Congo’s most dominant and influential band: Franco Luambo’s OK Jazz. This relationship was short-lived, however, as Verckys, 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 modernizing the Congolese sound. Blending the ever-influential prowess of James Brown with Congolese merengue, rumba, and soukous, Verckys stripped away the conventional approach that OK Jazz had pioneered, allowing his saxophone-laced melodies to dominate. Verckys also began recording young urban artists with guitar-driven cavacha sounds and releasing their work on his label, Les Editions Vévé; Les Freres Soki, Bella Bella, Orchestre Kiam, and others shot to stardom overnight, making Verckys quite wealthy.

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