Who is George Verckys Kiamuangana Mateta?

George Verckys Kiamuangana Mateta

Georges Kiamuangana Mateta, popularly known as Verckys, was born in Kisantu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on May 19, 1944.

He gave himself the name Verckys by mistake because he wanted to be named after the famous American saxophonist at the time, King Curtis. Mistakenly, he heard the name “Curtis” as “Verckys” and to this day, we all know him as Verckys.

Verckys’ father was a rich businessman, so Verckys got a good education. He displayed his musical talent at a tender age, as he knew how to play several wind instruments such as flute and clarinet; he finally started learning saxophone in a church group under the famous Congolese pastor Simon Kimbangu.

In 1962, he joined a band called Los Cantina, later he moved to Jamel Jazz and in the same year, his journey led him to the Conga Jazz group under another famous veteran in Congolese music named Paul Ebengo, popularly known as Dewayon.

In 1963 he moved to TP O.K. Jazz, the group that came to officially introduce him to the world of music. He played the saxophone so good that people used to refer to him as ‘The man with the lungs of iron’, he became very close to Luambo Luanzo Franco, the leader of TP OK Jazz.

In 1968, Franco got a tour to Europe, took some musicians and went with them.

Verckys and singer Youlou Mabiala gathered their colleagues who had been left behind. They did rigorous practice and recorded four songs before Franco’s return.

The move did not augor well with Franco after he returned from his tour and finally on April 5, 1969, Verckys had to leave TP OK Jazz and start his own group called Orchestra Veve.

This group consisted of talented young singers including Matadidi Mabele, known as Mario, Marcel Loko, known as Djeskain, and Bonghat “Sinatra” Tshekabu, known as Saak Saakul. These young people later deserted Verckys and started their own group that came to shake up the oldest bands of the time, this group was called Orchestra Sosoliso and together they named themselves Trio Madjesi.

ALSO READ: Congolese Rhumba icon George Verckys Kiamuangana Mateta is dead

Back to Verckys, he and his group Orchestra Veve came to record many famous songs like ‘Mfumbwa’, ‘Bankonko Baboyi’ and a song composed by Saak Saakul called ‘Fifi Solange’. The great success that came to Verckys enabled him to officially enter the music business by establishing his own label and signing contracts with various popular bands at the time. Some of the bands that released songs for that label and rocked the whole of Africa were, Les Grand maquisards, Orchestra Kiam whose name Kiam was an abbreviation of the name Verckys of Kiamuangana, Orchestra Bella Bella of the two singing brothers, Soki Vangu and Soki Dianzenza, Orchestra Lipua lipua, Les Kamale, and Pepe Kalle’s Empire Bakuba.

In 1972 Verckys opened his studio in what he called the Veve Center. He started doing many great things in musi. In 1978, he was elected president of Zaire musicians, after Franco Makiadi completed his term.

Verckys history in short is full of great musical achievements. At the age of 18 he joined the oldest group TP OK Jazz, when he reached the age of 25 he started his own music-recording studio. In 1972 he brought on board Pepe Kalle and together did popular songs like ‘Sola’, ‘Mbuta’ in collaboration with Bella Bella. He also featured Nyboma Mwandido on the song ‘Kamale’ played by Orchestra Lipua Lipua. Verckys is the source of Orchestras Baya Baya, Lipua Lipua and Kiam, as a result are popular songs like ‘Amba’, ‘Mombasa’, ‘Niki bue’, ‘Mbale’, ‘Kamiki’, ‘Bomoto’ and many others. You cannot fail to recognise Verckys when you mention the success of the Cavasha style that caught the whole of Africa in the seventies.

In 1976 Verckys changed the name of his label from Editions Veve to Zadis, which was short for Zaire disc. With this new label, Orchestra Veve released two songs that touched the hearts of his music lovers until today, including ‘Papy Baluti’ and ‘Muana Mburu’. At that time Orchestra Veve had the following musicians; Tino Muinkwa, Djo Roy, Nejos Tusevo, Pepitho Fukiau on vocals, Lambion playing solo guitar, Aladji Baba on rhythm guitar, Ndolo and Celi Bitsou playing bass. On drums there was Bayard, Ponta Vickys on congas, himself Verckys, Dibuidi and Sax Matalanza playing Saxophone, Makamba playing trombone.

In 1978 he recorded a young man named Koffi Olomide, Koffi’s story is now known to everyone.

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