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Ondara is an folk artist based in Minneapolis, but originally from Nairobi, Kenya, whose music is deeply steeped in the American folk tradition. When he plays solo, on his acoustic guitar and harmonica, he becomes a torch bearer for a tradition that goes back to artists like Woody Guthrie and Peete Seeger, as well as his personal idol, Bob Dylan. Perhaps not so much in how he sounds, but stylistically and in spirit. The effect is still there when he is accompanied by a band. His songs tend to be very much in the same vein, often focused on social observations and the documenting the lives of ordinary people and their struggles. He is a talented songwriter and performer with a soulful and heartfelt voice. His 2020 pandemic album took his isolation as a springing board to create music that talks about everyday experiences under extraordinary circumstances.
Courtney Marie Andrews, Ray LaMontagne, classic folk artists lke Guthrie and Seeger.
Ondara used the name J.S. Odanda early on his career.