The Lumineers released their third studio album called III in September 2019. The Grammy-nominated band began touring the album in February 2020 with support from Mt. Joy and J.S. Ondara. While both support acts are pretty remarkable, the latter recently offered a sweet surprise at the recent two-night run at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. III: The World Tour has been a celebration of community, love, and relationships. On Valentine’s Day, Kenyan singer-songwriter J.S. Ondara started the evening with a string trio and his pure vocals. The singer recently released his debut album Tales of America in 2019 and with it came a slew of impressed listeners and a Grammy Award nomination for Best Americana Album. Ondara also earned a nomination for Best Emerging Act at the 2019 Americana Awards but seeing the young artist at Barclays Center this February, you’d have thought he’d been at it for decades. There is a comfort and grace about Ondara when he commands an audience on the stage with songs like “Torch Song” and “Saying Goodbye.”
The special treat in Brooklyn came later in the evening when Ondara returned to the stage to perform a cover of Leonard Cohen’s song “Democracy” alongside The Lumineers. Ondara performed with heart and soul, and the audience quieted in reflection while taking in the song’s meaning.
J.S. Ondara will support The Lumineers on tour until March 14, 2020.
Main photo credit: Josh Cheuse