Lockdown has stolen headlines from a lot of great musical releases in 2020. One such release that maybe didn’t get its due is Folk n’ Roll Vol. 1: Tales of Isolation, an album by Kenya-born singer Ondara. Released in May, Folk n’ Roll is a spectral snapshot of the hard times that we all have felt during the global coronavirus pandemic. Ondara (formerly J.S. Ondara) uses his pure vocal tone and raw guitar-playing to communicate the incredible emotions that he and others have felt in a time of separation and uncertainty, with songs like “Pulled Out of the Market,” “From Six Feet Away,” and the tune featured in this video, “Isolation Blues.”
The steady, pulsating drive of the acoustic guitar lays a foundation for Ondara’s ghostly voice to fly over and cut right to the uneasiness that has become familiar to so many in 2020. The video depicts confusion and anxiety in a very relatable way. The first release since his debut, Tales of America, Ondara was quick to write, record, and release the album, making it a true window into the human experience in the early stages of a global pandemic. To reflect on what we’ve come through and to hear our shared human experience manifested into song, watch the video for “Isolation Blues” below.
Photo credit: Ian Flomer