Photographer:Micky Clement | Jupiter and Okwess Photographer:Micky Clement | Jupiter and Okwess Photographer:Micky Clement | Jupiter and Okwess Photographer:Micky Clement | Jupiter Okwess, Warren Ellis
08 Jul / 2018Program by:

The World is My Land of Jupiter and Okwess

This spirited Congolese group plays exhilarating grooves matched only by the exuberance of their live sets. Charismatic band leader Jupiter Bokondji represents the innovative scene of street musicians in Kinshasa, with a mission to reactivate the forgotten rhythms and melodies of Congo by injecting them with the urban groove of the city. With lyrics focusing on overcoming the country’s painful past, Jupiter & Okwess’ political messages range from criticism of the DRC government to calls for the Congolese to realize greater potential for their homeland.
Heavy afro-funk, hip hop grooves, fast rock guitars, traditional Congolese rhythms: it is the reflection of Jupiter’s many musical experiences. Born in Kinshasa, he started as a boy with drumming at his grandmother’s sessions, a traditional healer. His teenage years he spent in East Berlin, where his father got a job as a diplomat. Jupiter discovered the pop music of the 1970s and founded his own band, ‘Der Neger’. Convinced that the music he heard in Europe has roots in the history of many ethnic groups in Congo, he returned to Kinshasa at the age of 20. He traveled all over the country in search of new sounds. He wanted to revive the forgotten rhythms and melodies of Congo by mixing them with Kinshasa’s urban groove. Thus he came to a style far from the Soukous dominant in the country. In 2007, after the chaotic times of the civil war, he became the subject of a French documentary, ‘Jupiter’s Dance’. The attention he received brought him to Europe, collaboration with Damon Albarn, his breakthrough album “Hotel Univers”, a performance in 2012 at Womad in the UK (in that same year also in Hertme), Glastonbury in 2013 and now new Album ‘Kin Sonic’ with a partially modified band.

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