Jupiter & Okwess to Perform at Opus 40 | Chronogram Magazine

Jupiter & Okwess to Perform at Opus 40

click to enlarge Jupiter & Okwess to Perform at Opus 40
Marcello Quinones
Jupiter & Okwess
Besides being a historic and beautiful sculpture site, Opus 40 just might be the best small outdoor performance venue in the Hudson Valley, at least in terms of its inspired, quality programming. The latest example of this: Congolese band Jupiter & Okwess, which will play at the arts center on August 3.

Led by vocalist Jupiter Bokondji, the group was formed in 1990 and swept the continent with their fusion of funk, rock, and Afropop that pulls from soukous, rumba, cavacha, kwassa kwassa, madiaba, and other styles. The civil war that ravaged the Democratic Republic of Congo from 1996 to 1997 saw several of the band’s members flee to Europe to escape the violence and conscription, but Bokondji, who descends from a family of griots and spent his adolescence in Berlin, chose to remain in his birth city of Kinshasa during the conflict. He calls his band’s sound “Bofenia Rock."

A 2006 documentary about Bokondji's life and music, Jupiter’s Dance, brought the reunited Okwess international attention and tours in Europe, North America, and South America amid collaborations with Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz).

Jupiter & Okwess will perform at Opus 40 in Saugerties on August 3 at 7pm. Tickets are $25.