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J.S. Ondara: 2019

J.S. Onadara at WFUV

J.S. Onadara at WFUV (photo by Olivia Brewer and Nora Doyle)



Few musicians have a backstory as ready-made for an uplifting movie than J.S. Ondara. The Nairobi, Kenya-born singer and songwriter’s journey to the United States is an extraordinary one and it's the heart and soul of his captivating debut album, Tales of America.

A love of Bob Dylan landed J.S., or Jay, in Minneapolis, Minnesota as a young songwriter. Like Dylan, Ondara is attuned to both the beauty and injustice of this complicated country, a conundrum that he eloquently explores on Tales of America.

Most of all, Ondara's arrival in the States is a galvanizing example that artists should always pursue a life’s dream, no matter what barriers or borders they might face. His remarkable story is one of perseverance, optimism, and great songwriting—as he discussed when he visited FUV's Studio A.

[recorded: 12/4/18]