Verckys et L'Orchestre Vévé – Congolese Funk, Afrobeat and Psychedelic Rhumba 69–78
- Stewart Smith
- 18 December 2014
Irrestistible Congolese grooves with a strong Latin flavour
Waiting for the delayed Ali–Foreman 'Rumble In The Jungle' in 1974, James Brown used his time in Kinshasa to check out the local bands. Above all, the artist who blew him away was Verckys, the charismatic leader of L'Orchestre Vévé. Verckys formed the group in 1968, seeking to modernise Congolese pop with the heavy grooves of the Funky President himself and elements of merengue, rumba and soukous. It's almost inconceivable to imagine someone not enjoying this music, with its irresistible grooves, hip saxophone melodies and balmy South-American influences. Take 'Bassala Hot', with its pimped out bassline and Afrobeat vamp, or the salacious 'Sex Vévé', in which a saucy organ rides a dirty blues and a saxophone yelps indecently. Then there's the lovely psychedelic rumba of 'Zonga Vonvon', and the warm, easy afropop of 'Nakobala Yo Denise'. A cut above the average African funk reissue.