NON-COMM Recap: J.S. Ondara improvises through illness

J. S. Ondara | photo by Makena Duffy for WXPN

On most days, J.S. Ondara is a 26-year-old folk singer with a voice like no other, who can fill a room just by singing his songs. Today, however, Ondara asked the audience to imagine that he was 80 years old, an aging musician trying desperately to revive his career. There was a reason for this unusual request — after flying in from Paris, Ondara had woken up this morning to find that he caught a bout of what he’s calling the “French flu,” and his voice was gone. Continue reading →


J.S. Ondara shares video for “Television Girl”

J.S. Ondara | photo by Josh Cheuse | courtesy of the artist

After he released his debut album Tales of America earlier this year, there’s been a lot of buzz surrounding J.S. Ondara, XPN’s February Artist to Watch. Sold-out audiences are now to be expected for the folk singer-songwriter, but Ondara shuts out any outside noise in his intimate new video for “Television Girl.” Shot in black-and-white, the minimalistic video captures Ondara with just an acoustic guitar, his captivating voice echoing throughout the room. It’s easy to see why Ondara, who immigrated to Minneapolis from Kenya just a few years ago, cites Bob Dylan and the American folk tradition as influences — and why everyone is calling him an artist you need to know. Continue reading →