The Congolese band Jupiter & Okwess, building on their success,
released a stone-cold banger of an album last year, Na Kozonga. Up
until early 2020, the band was on the international touring circuit,
gaining well-deserved momentum and listeners across the globe, one of
the most reliably exciting shows you could see. But then a funny
Anyway, the pandemic is allegedly at some sort of tipping point, with Omicron taking a quick tour of everyone’s respiratory tracts but—thanks to vaccines—sending a much lower percentage of people to hospitals. While we sit home, waiting for the wave to pass, watching NBA teams fill out their rosters with guys off the street, we may as well remember the good times, and nobody does a good time like Jupiter & Okwess.
Recorded in June 2021 (something of a hopeful high-water mark) for Santa Fe’s Southwest Roots Music festival, I really like how this is shot, from right in the middle of the band. The interplay amongst the band makes for compelling viewing, there’s a dance competition, plus you can get a good look at their luchador-masked drummer’s unique approach to the kit. He seems to be having a blast.
Shows are on hiatus at the moment, but only for the moment, so there's some cautious optimism out in the music scene—can't wait to get back out there and see it for myself.