Sunday, October 7, 2018

Kiamwuangana Verckys, Producer Extraordinaire!

No sooner had I posted Likembe's last offering then I realized that I had another, similar pressing. Orchestres Kamale et Kiam was issued in 1981 by Rogers All Stars records in Onitsha, Nigeria on license from Editions Vévé in Kinshasa, reference number VOZ 1003. I now present Voice of Zaïre Vol. 1, VOZ 1001 in the same series. I presume there is a VOZ 1002 and even other volumes, but I've been unable to find out about any. Although they were issued in the '80s in Nigeria, the songs on these collections were all recorded in the '70s.

It all goes to demonstrate the great popularity of the Congo sound in Eastern Nigeria during the '70s and '80s, and especially the productions of Kiamwuangana Mateta "Verckys."

Perusing Alastair Johnston's excellent overview, "Verckys and Vévé: A Critical Discography," I see that the songs in this collection haven't had a lot of distribution outside of Africa. Several were featured in the Sonodisc/African "360" series issued in France, now long out of print. A couple were included on CD reissues and may still be available in that format. Nonetheless, listening to these tracks should evoke a sense of déjà vu. They've been remade numerous times and included on medleys by such artists as the Soukous Stars and Soukous Vibration. Moreover, they acheived such widespread distribution back in the day that they're part of the DNA of African music from Kenya to Senegal. A comment on YouTube about Orchestre Kiam's "Masumu" is representative: "...I was a little boy at that time when my late Daddy and his Seamen friends used to rock those songs on a 45 rpm turntable. Guinness was 30c, Heineken 25c in Sierra Leone.  Music is sure History...."

All of these bands have been featured on previous Likembe posts, which you can access here. Another version of Orchestre Vévé's "Lukani" was included on this post.

Download Voice of Zaïre Vol.1 as a zipped file here.


zaikonik said...

Brilliant! Thanks!!

zaikonik said...

VOZ 1002 is more Verckys productions - LIPUA LIPUA
A1 Nouvelle Génération 1ér 5:17
A2 Nouvelle Génération 2eme 5:42
A3 Tika Kosaboter Motema 4:24
A4 Mombasa 5:54
B1 Nsayi 5:20
B2 Kuelo 5:05
B3 Kinzenge Nzenge 1ér 5:04
B4 Kinzenge Nzenge 2eme 4:55

John B. said...

Thanks, Nick!

Dave said...

It promises to be really great, I will definitely listen to you today, I love your musical proposals and I often come back to them, hopefully more in the future, best regards.

glinka said...

As ever, thanks again for all the background information that provides much needed context. I realized Verckys was popular back in the 1970s and early 80s, but never just how popular he was.