Photos: Jupiter, Isacov and Dacus thrill crowd at Newport Folk Festival

Photos by Richard W Dionne Jr
Posted 8/7/19

A throng of fans spilled out from underneath a large white tent in the middle of Fort Adams during the Newport Folk Festival on Saturday, July 27. They danced and sang along to Jupiter and Okwess …

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Photos: Jupiter, Isacov and Dacus thrill crowd at Newport Folk Festival

Posted

A throng of fans spilled out from underneath a large white tent in the middle of Fort Adams during the Newport Folk Festival on Saturday, July 27. They danced and sang along to Jupiter and Okwess playing a Congolese rumba style of music on the Quad stage. According to a Newport Folk Festval bio (NFF), Jean-Pierre Bokondji (Jupiter) is described as a sort of ‘ghetto Don Quixote’ dressed in a general’s uniform. He was born in Kinshasa in 1963. From James Brown to the ultra-dominant Congolese rumba style, Jupiter decided to create his own mode of musical expression. Bokondji was accompanied by Okwess during the performance on Saturday. The band features Montana on drums and Yendé on bass, guitarists Eric and Richard and the singer Blaise.

Sailboats and yachts circled Fort Adams during Gregory Alan Isakov and his band played an excellent set on the main stage in front of a large jam packed crowd midday on Saturday. Fans danced and cheered in front of the stage. Many sitting farther back, walked forward to the sides of the stage for a closer look at Isakov playing the guitar in a felt hat with his bandmates including a large bass player. The Colorado-based indie-folk artist is a full-time farmer who sells vegetable seeds and grows various market crops on his three-acre farm, according to NFF.

“I switch gears a lot,” Isakov said in an interview with Newport Folk Festival’s Annie Zaleski. “I wake up really early in the growing season, and then in the winters, I’m up all night. I’m constantly moving back and forth.”

Isakov had an easier time balancing his two passions, according to NFF, while making, Evening Machines. “In between farm duties, Isakov wrote and recorded in a studio housed in a barn on his property. His studio is filled with instruments and gear stored there by musician friends. Isakov leaves the gear on, just in case inspiration strikes.

The dark indie and folk rock Evening Machines possesses a “dusky hue,” according to Zaleski. “Hushed acoustic guitar and sparse piano combine for a moody foundation that’s amplified by ornate and heavy embellishments: distant electric guitars, keyboards, pedal steel, saw, percussion, strings, banjo, and some electronic drums. Lilting background vocals intertwine with Isakov’s watercolor-streaked murmur on “Powder,” while “Where You Gonna Go” applies haunting, echoing vocal effects to his voice,” wrote Zaleski.

“Music helped me get through some of the hardest times,” Isakov told NFF. “I always write in regards to an entire record. Trying to find the music that fits together as a whole piece was the most important thing to me.”

Lucy Dacus also played on the Quad Stage. She played selections from her two albums, No Burden and Historian. In Historian Dacus takes on “life-or-death reckonings, and the ones that just feel that way.” Her lyrics are tearful declarations and moments of hard-won peace.

According to NFF, Historian closes with two stunning songs, "Pillar of Truth," a heartfelt tribute to Dacus' late grandmother, and "Historians," which sums up the album's complex lessons about loss.

Dachas’ message is “You can't avoid these things, so accept them,” NFF wrote.

“There's ways to go about it with grace and gratefulness," said Dacus in an interview with NFF. "Then 'Historians' says that even if you can say that, there's still fear, and loss is terrifying. You still love things, so it's going to hurt. But dark isn't bad. It's good to know that.”

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