Deciding rarely to review bands for Celtic Connections that had no back history for me, certainly those that were not quite on my radar, I took myself to the Drygate in Glasgow for a fusion of cultures, storytelling and music that culminated into a fantastic night of talent. Supported by Les Triaboliques, Jupiter & Okwess performed a plethora of Congolese tracks that started a night of dancing.
Kicking off the night were a folk band that I was highly surprised by, English Les Triaboliques, who set the bar for the evening with their desert blues and worldly string backdrops. Performing tracks such as Black Earth Boys it certainly felt like we had flown out of Glasgow, definitely England for a night as their tales of reverie, albeit dark, left the stage and mingled in with the audience, an audience that eagerly applauded after every performance from the trio.
Jupiter Bokondi had some act to follow and yet, he did, with his worldly rhythmic percussion, enthusiasm and hip-shaking tracks. Born in Kinshasa 48 years ago, into a family of griots from the Mongo region, Jupiter was introduced by his grandmother to traditional rhythm music that are said to cure the sick. However, it was in Germany East-Berlin, where he spent his adolescence, and where his father was appointed executive assistant for the Congos embassy in 1974, that he discovered Europe and its vibrant music scene, which also had its bear of influence on the musician.
Performing with a full band of five, Jupiter threw his influences back to his crowd, as you could distinguish all sorts in there as a gig-goer and listener. One thing was clear, it was impossible to stay still. Tribal, yet rocky, the band, with Jupiter, clearly had a wonderful time on stage in Glasgow as the crowd were immersed into their folklore tales and rhythm percussion. Having worked unsurprisingly with Damon Albarn and WARP Records, it is unlikely these guys are going to disappear, and will no doubt continue to pleasantly grace our doorstep with their rocky rhythm providing us with our dancing shoes.
A night of new finds, Celtic Connections did it again, they blew my socks off with these bands that brought dancing and far-flung tales.