With their second album Kin Sonic, Jupiter & Okwess transcend the Congo’s unexplored musical heritage and dive into a pool of modernity. Jean-Pierre Bokondji, aka « Jupiter », a sort of ghetto Don Quixote, (or a lanky wading bird dressed in a general’s uniform), was born on the 16th December 1963, in Kinshasa. From East Berlin (where he grew up) to Kinshasa, from James Brown to the ultra-dominant Congolese rumba style, Jupiter decided to create his own mode of musical expression. Just like the writing of the African philosopher, Zamenga Batukezanga, Jupiter’s lyrics focus on the painful past, and how to overcome it. Gathered around Jupiter are the Okwess faithful: Montana (of Staff Benda Bilili) on drums and Yendé on bass, guitarists Eric and Richard and the singer Blaise.
This Jupiter & Okwess concert at 1900 Building provides the opportunity to highlight Kansas City Missouri’s designation as a UNESCO Creative City of Music and the activities of the Cities of Music Network. There are 31 Cities of Music in the UNESCO Creative City Network at this time.
Both Kinshasa and Kansas City are member cities of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and a designated as Cities of Music. Kinshasa joined the network in 2015 and Kansas City joined in 2017.
One of the City of Kinshasa’s goals as a UNESCO Creative City Network member is to organizing joint music events with other Creative Cities to foster exchange of knowledge and the mobility of artists. The performance by Jupiter and Okwess builds upon this goal, as well as the mission of the UNESCO Creative City Network to use music and creativity to build sustainable cities.
For more information about the UNESCO Creative City Network, and Kansas City’s participation as a UNESCO City of Music – please see:
Kansas City: https://en.unesco.org/creative-cities//node/990
Cities of Music Network: https://citiesofmusic.net/music-cities/