Sudanese hiphop star, Emmanuel Jal, to perform in ZImbabwe

By Chief K.Masimba

Harare, Zimbabwe – Sudanese hiphop star Emmanual Jal will perform for the first time in Zimbabwe on Fridayin a show aimed at promoting inter-linkages and popularity of African music. The music performance scheduled to be held at the Book Café in Harare will headline Jal and his 6-piece band. He will be supported by a star line-up of some of Zimbabwe’s best, including, feisty mbira star Chiwoniso Maraire, ‘Comrade Fatso’ and Chabvondoka, and ‘Outspoken’ and The Essence.

Emerging from a vicious background of child-soldiering in Southern Sudan, and after escaping to Kenya, Jal fell in love with hiphop and felt it could provide the easiest and most effective vehicle to express his story.  Emmanuel Jal’s music grew in Kenya, reached the word through the airwaves, and he is now an internationally renowned hiphop artist, with a strong message of peace for the world.  “Jal set the hip-hop bar higher,” wrote the Washington Post in 2008.

Despite his accomplishments in music, Jal’s biggest passion is for Gua Africa, a charity that he founded. Besides building schools, the nonprofit provides scholarships for Sudanese war survivors in refugee camps, and sponsors education for children in the most deprived slum areas in Nairobi.

Jal, whose own childhood was robbed from him, aims to protect the childhood of others through music. “Music is powerful.  It is the only thing that can speak into your mind, your heart and your soul without your permission” he said.

Jal will be making powerful music on Friday 9 September, alongside Zimbabwean artists who also have a story to tell, gifted young musicians, songwriters and poets who have achieved some acclaim in the world, also gracing stages from New York to Berlin and Capetown to Zanzibar.  The open air concert kicks off with the Zimbabwean artists, followed by Emmanuel Jal at 10pm.

‘War Child’

A documentary film about Emmanuel Jal called ‘War Child’ was made in 2008 by C. Karim Chrobog.  It made its international debut at the Berlin Film Festival and its North American debut at the Tribeca Film Festival, where it won the Cadillac Audience Award, and an autobiography under the same name was released in 2009.

As part of the Emmanuel Jal programme, ‘War Child’ will be screened on Thursday 8 September, at the Mannenberg Film Club

The African Tour Circuit

A project by Jo’burg based African Synergy Trust and Harare arts development organisation Pamberi Trust, the African Tour Circuit was established in 2006 to facilitate intra-African cultural exchange and arts collaboration through a ‘tour circuit’ of arts venues, festivals and creative enterprises.  It links touring African artists with the ‘tour circuit’ and practically implements tours, offering artists access to new audiences, and offering audiences experience of diverse African arts.

The visit of Emmanuel Jal (and previously Eric Wainaina from Kenya, on 3 September) is part of the circuit, bringing the music of Africa to Africans.

The performance of Emmanuel Jal in Harare is presented by Pamberi Trust in cooperation with African Synergy Trust (SA), and supported by British Council, Commonwealth Foundation, Prince Claus and MassMart.

Emmanuel Jal

Born in the village of Tonj in Southern Sudan, Jal was recruited as a young child to fight in Ethiopia, until he ran away and ended up in Kenya, where he resumed his studies with help from friends.

While studying in Kenya, Jal started singing to ease the pain of what he had experienced. He also became very active in the community, raising money for local street children and refugees. With the encouragement of those around him, Jal became increasingly involved in music and formed several groups. His first single, “All We Need Is Jesus”, was a hit in Kenya and received airplay in the UK.

Through his music, Jal counts on the unity of the citizens to overcome ethnic and religious division and motivate the youth in Sudan. After escaping to Kenya, he fell in love with hip hop in the way that it identified issues being faced by the neighborhood, which he was able to identify with in a unique manner. Although he lacked any music background or knowledge of its history, he felt that hip hop could provide the easiest and most effective vehicle to express his story.

Jal, whose own childhood was robbed from him, aims to protect the childhood of others through music. “Music is powerful. It is the only thing that can speak into your mind, your heart and your soul without your permission.”

He has also passionately criticized the current state of hip hop culture in the United States. He sees hip hop as a vehicle to communicate an authentic message, rather than a space to pursue street credibility.  He has expressed concern about the message being sent by American hip-hop artists, saying “American hip hop is still entwined with gang culture, drugs, sexual violence, and greed.  It’s a battleground.”  “Jal set the hip-hop bar higher,” wrote the Washington Post in 2008.

Despite his accomplishments in music, Jal’s biggest passion is for Gua Africa, a charity that he founded. Besides building schools, the nonprofit provides scholarships for Sudanese war survivors in refugee camps, and sponsors education for children in the most deprived slum areas in Nairobi.

Emmanuel is a spokesman for the Make Poverty History campaign, the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers and the Control Arms campaign. In 2008, Jal also got involved in the musical movement of spreading awareness about current slavery and human trafficking by performing various songs for the rockumentary, Call+Response.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Sudanese hiphop star, Emmanuel Jal, to perform in ZImbabwe

  1. Pingback: Emmanuel Jal coming to Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique and … Australia « africanperspectivesblog

  2. Pingback: Emmanuel Jal coming to Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique and … Australia « africanperspectivesblog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s