Jendog Lonewolf
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Jendog Lonewolf

Brooklyn, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Brooklyn, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Duo Hip Hop






By Janani Balasubramanian

Overheard and Above Street Level are two queer strangers with a lot in common, about to share space with each other in a way that is at once public and intimate. In a way, the mashup of these two performance pieces mirrors the crossings that each, individually, addresses: the baring of our most private moments on both the subway and the stage. The bravery of moving from one place to another. They’re both about the hustle, the community, the pieces of our lives that are at once easy and difficult to forget, precisely because we are constantly living them.

Overheard is a solo piece written and acted by Kirya Traber, and directed by Sara Lyons. Both Traber and Lyons come to the work with a desire to bring the ‘master’s tools’ of theater, as it were, to deeply queer and challenging performance. Overheard brings our total attention to the everyday stories of a body being and becoming queer in public—and in particular with fellow passengers on a subway. In the piece, Traber embodies 18 characters on a train car who encounter and respond to a gender non-conforming person of color. Her characters dance, sing, and spit poetry. Traber describes her work as primarily dialogic, of the conversation between the artist and trauma, between the artist and art, between the artist and the audience, and, in Overheard, between public and private.

Above Street Level—also, interestingly, a reference to the New York underground—is a hip-hop and performance collaboration rooted in the experiences of long-time duo YaliniDream and Jendog Lonewolf. In the piece, Jendog and Yalini blend hip hop songs, poetry, theater and dance— juxtaposing stories about youth in neglected, pre-hipster Brooklyn with tales of war-affected Sri Lanka. Yalini comes from a performance background, whereas Jendog, a hip hop MC, describes herself as a ‘modern day griot’ with roots in Brooklyn. While Jendog’s contributions to Above Street Level emerge from her experience in a marginalized community in Bushwick, Yalini’s come from her experiences in the Sri Lankan diaspora. The duo then models solidarity between those experiences through collaborative, mixed-genre storytelling

For YaliniDream, Jendog and Kirya, this presentation of their work brings up some basic conundrums about the life of a working artist. Being on a split bill, in theory, should produce more revenue for all parties involved (with ostensibly a wider reach and content), but often creates a split honorarium instead. And so the demands of capitalism often actively discourage artistic collaboration, which discourages innovation and growth. As Yalini puts it (which is so spot on), “Capitalism is a war for the artist’s soul.” We don’t speak enough about art as a labor product; artists need to pay rent, and creative work is often an unclear economic proposition. The challenge these four artists have articulated, as well as the opportunity, is using the split bill as a means of crossing: of bringing their respective followings together with the audience at the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance. And using that crossing to widen each of their reach. Being a working artist in New York City is exactly a mixture of the subway and street and hustle, and of just how big every day can be.

It’s that difficult economic/political context that makes split bills like this both so rare and so exciting. Kirya, Sara, Yalini, and Jendog come to their work as responses to trauma, to oppression, to the train, to the New York underground arts scene, to queer bodies, to communities, to identity, to living and breathing and working creation. Overheard/Above Street Level is one battle in capitalism’s war on our souls. It’s also the bringing together of diverse and careful craft. So for whatever reason—for the resistance, for the aesthetic, for the sake of wearing a cute outfit to a great show—you should go see it.


Above Street Level & Overheard at BAAD! (Bronx Academy of Arts & Dance) as part of the #OUTTHERE Festival, June 19, 2014, 8pm. "Above Street Level" was written & performed by YaliniDream & Jendog Lonewolf. "Overheard" was written & performed by Kirya Traber, directed by Sara Lyons. - Janani Balasubramanian

"Hip-Hop Workshop Provides Students, Teachers With Outlet For Creativity"

By Bodeline Dautruche (Staff Writer)

With finals week approaching, a diverse group of students and teachers came together in Hendricks Chapel on Tuesday night to participate in an evening of group games, breathing exercises and rapping.

A workshop, entitled “Reshaping Realities: An Arts & Activism Workshop,” was facilitated by YaliniDream and Jendog Lonewolf. The purpose of the workshop was to engage students in creative and artistic games that would help promote their individuality. YaliniDream, whose roots trace back to Sri Lanka, is an activist for social justice causes and uses these workshops to implement her personal beliefs. Jendog, hailing from Brooklyn, N.Y., is a hip-hop artist who uses her music as a platform for social activism.

Together, they blended their artistic abilities into one workshop where the simple goal was to make a difference in someone’s life.

As everyone settled in their seats, YaliniDream positioned the chairs so that everyone sat in a circle, which made her seem more engaging and personal. A trailer for a documentary that discussed the issues of Bangladeshi and Indian women domestic workers in Queens, N.Y. played when everyone was seated.

The first activity involved splitting the room into two smaller circles and having every person recite their name while making a movement of their choice. The rest of the circle would then follow.

The next activity involved volunteers of eight, where one person pretended to be a goat while another was a tiger. The remaining volunteers were to protect the goat from the tiger without speaking to each other. Afterwards, the entire group was asked to participate in different breathing exercises, working on the diaphragm, lungs, vocal cords and the mouth.

In between each activity, YaliniDream asked the group how they felt the exercises could work as a form of activism. One student shared a personal poem about love after the meditation period, while a teacher from the Community Folk Art Center saw the goat and tiger activity to be a metaphor for a college kid working towards his or her degree while random life battles stopped them.

“I want to serve as a catalyst for students to step into their own power and learn to be themselves in whatever art form is comfortable for them,” YaliniDream said.

The activities created a robust discussion on strength, achieving goals and many other personal subjects. While the first half of the workshop was reflective and tranquil, the second half became more upbeat.

“I’m sure no one has written rhymes before they got here. But I want students to tap into their voices and see that everyone can be creative,” Jendog said. “When stepping into a new situation, you have to rid yourself of thinking that you can’t and just try it. My mother always told me before she passed — don’t say you can’t, just do.”

Jendog started her part of the workshop by explaining what hip-hop is and discussing her beginnings with the musical genre and lifestyle.

“I am Hip-Hop,” she said, while talking about her first encounters with the music while growing up in Brooklyn.

After playing some of her songs and teaching the mechanics of rhyming, everyone in the audience took a few minutes to write their own rhymes. Some were playful, while others took a more serious approach. Nonetheless, the room was filled with smiles and laughter as everyone recited their rhymes.

“I break out of my shell every time I participate in Jendog’s activities and get so much inspiration from a different style. It affirms that everyone has something to offer,” YaliniDream said.

The audience left with plenty of experiences to talk about. Michelle Dibernardo, lead adviser for theater at the Community Folk Art Center, said she hopes the duo will hold more workshops in the Syracuse community.

Said Dibernardo: “First of all I learned what a bar (in hip-hop) is, but overall, I loved the workshop.” - The Daily Orange (Syracuse University)

"Jendog Lonewolf / YaliniDream / Varuni Tiruchelvam"

They blend Hip Hop, theater, spoken word poetry, dance, and song, emerges from the energies of multiple diasporas in collision.

Jendog Lonewolf is a Hip Hop MC/Lyricist and Photographer, mixed with Blackfoot, Cherokee, and the Grand Cayman Islands. A Self-proclaimed Ghetto Ambassador, born & bred in pre-hipster/pre-gentrified Bushwick, Brooklyn, Jendog navigates multiple spaces, challenging stereotypes and delivering messages of Love, Life, social Justice and Self-defense through her dope, sharp, layered ‘organic’ lyricism. She delivers hard-hitting, factual rhymes loaded with veracity, telling stories of how she lives, loves, learns, and sees.

Sri Lankan Tamil Blood, Manchester Born, Texas bred and Brooklyn steeped, YaliniDream conjures spirit through her unique blend of poetry, theater, song, and dance– reshaping reality and seeking peace through justice in the lands of earth, psyche, soul, and dream.

Playing the cello for 29 years, Varuni Tiruchelvam has been creating improvised music as a spiritual & political vehicle for connecting to the land & community around her : “I play in solidarity with people’s deepest truths.” Her current music is influenced by the sounds within her soul, the dark melodies of the Romantic Era, from composers like Dvorak & Brahms, & the sense of place that American folk music invokes. Born in Sri Lanka, raised in England & Pennsylvania, she continues to yearn for peace & justice in all the places she has called home. In addition to performing with YaliniDream for 12 years, Varuni is a member of Stone Forest Ensemble, a classical/hip-hop/Afro-beat ensemble.

Through collaboration and bringing forth the struggles of their respective communities– Asian (Sri Lankan Tamil), Indigenous (Blackfoot and Cherokee) and West Indian (Grand Caymanian)– they demonstrate a politic of pluralism and solidarity through creative practice. They take the audience through heart-touching, thought-provoking stories, poems and rhymes that, delicately and unapologetically, intersect class, race, gender, and sexuality. - Straight No Chaser (Cape Town, South Africa)

"Jendog Lonewolf, MC on The Streets of Bushwick, Brooklyn"

"...Former town in the woods (Bushwick), where only the strong survived. Cops hated us, society damn near gave up on us, landlords scorched the places we called home and the hipsters have arrived for 'The Last of my Culture'..." For decades, Bushwick, Brooklyn has been trying to kick its reputation for being rife with drugs, poverty, and prostitution. There is still an abundance of vacant lots and deteriorating buildings. While the crime rate is decreasing, there is no denying its existence. However, it is now one of the fastest populating areas in NYC. This photo (of Jendog Lonewolf) is from a series that addresses the effects of gentrification.

-Erin Holland, Photographer (Australia) - National Geographic Photo Contest (Traveler Portraits) by Erin Holland


  1. "5ives Up",
  2. "Beatrock RMX"
  3.  "Destined" 
  4. "Up In Da Spot" 
  5. "Chapter Chi"



Jendog Lonewolf is a Two Spirit/Black-Native, Photographer, multi-disciplinary Artist, and touring Hip Hop MC from Bushwick, Brooklyn.  She navigates a myriad of spaces challenging stereotypes and issues at the intersections of class, race, gender and sexuality while representing the true essence of Hip Hop Culture & Music, as a voice of “the People.“   

She collaborated with Grammy® award-winner Dan Zanes on two Hip Hop-Folk Music collaborations, including a Lead Belly tribute album for the Smithsonian Institute’s Folkways Records and is a proud member of People's Music Network. 

Jendog has also shared stages with icons like Nile Rodgers, Harry Belafonte, Desmond Tutu, Rah Digga, and Joan Baez and is one half of her touring duo, Brooklyn Dreamwolf with her Partner in Art & Love, YaliniDream.  

Band Members