Jupiter & Okwess



With their second album Kin Sonic, Jupiter and 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.



Newport Festivals Foundation has made a donation on behalf of Jupiter & Okwess to Guitars not Guns to provide guitars and lessons to foster children and at-risk youth. All funds will be used to purchase guitars for students. Students are provided with a beginner guitar, strap, tuner, gig-bag and an instruction book.  Once they complete all lessons they take a test - students that pass the test get to keep their assigned guitar. 

Quote from Jupiter & Okwess

When Newport Festivals Foundation asked which organization we wanted them to donate to, we knew wanted to pick a music education program that supports underserved children, specifically foster children. We think kids are the most important thing, we are helping kids in the streets of Kinshasa, Congo. The kids are our future. We strongly believe that culture is more powerful than weapons to change the world. Guitars not Guns is a great match - they provide guitars and lessons to foster children and at-risk youth as an alternative to violence which is directly in line with our values. Thanks, Newport Festivals Foundation!

Quote from Ray Nelson, Nonprofit Director

Thank you Newport Festivals Foundation for your support of the Guitars not Guns Music Program. The guitars and lessons we provide are tools to help kids, who are emotionally damaged by their circumstances, find a way to cope through music.  We know that music heals and can be used as a solution to violence - especially gun violence in schools.