Now Playing:

The Austin 100: J.S. Ondara

Courtesy of the artist

Hometown: Nairobi, Kenya / Minneapolis, Minnesota

Genre: Folk

Why We’re Excited: J.S. Ondara grew up in Nairobi, where he obsessed over Neil Young and Nirvana, but lacked the resources to so much as acquire an instrument. Now in his 20s, he’s relocated to Minneapolis — where he moved in part due to its connection to Bob Dylan — taught himself to play guitar, dropped out of college and developed his own distinct singing voice, playing style and folk-rock sound. On Tales of America, he sings a story of hope, displacement, wonder, opportunity and disappointment, all from the perspective of a man who’s still living it every day.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit

Read More