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Emmanuel Jal

Sat 22 Oct at 8pm, Gates 1 & 2 open at 6.30pm, 2hr 35min with interval at Sidney Myer Music Bowl, King’s Domain, Cnr Linlithgow and Alexandra Avenues, Melbourne 3004

Emmanuel Jal who is featuring on the line-up for this year’s closing night concert, notes from the hard road. A musical journey from revolution to redemption, Emmanuel Jal will be joined by Mavis Staples, Joss Stone, Paul Dempsey, Rickie Lee Jones and The Black Arm Band at the event taking place at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl on Sat 22 October.

In the war-torn region of Southern Sudan, Emmanuel Jal was born into the life of a child solider on an unknown date in the early 1980s. Through unbelievable struggles, Emmanuel managed to survive and emerge as a recording artist, achieving worldwide acclaim for his unique style of hip hop with its message of peace and reconciliation born out of his personal experiences.
 
Emmanuel’s live appearances have included Live 8 and Nelson Mandela’s 90th Birthday Concert. He has performed with acts such as Faithless, Razorlight, Supergrass and Fat Boy Slim in Europe and has toured the United States as part of the National Geographic All Roads Film Festival, in which he performed in New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles and New Orleans. Jal also performed with Moby and Five for Fighting in the 2007 live concert film, The Concert To End Slavery and, more recently, with Alicia Keys at her Black Ball in New York.
 
Emmanuel is in demand as a speaker and has addressed the UN, US Congress and the highest tiers of several governments. In 2010 he was involved with the British Council, Clinton Global Initiative, Adolescent Girls Initiative (World Bank in association with the Nike Foundation), Child Soldiers Initiative and the launch of Ericsson’s Refugees Reunited Software. He was one of the faces of Amnesty International’s 2010 World Refugee Day Campaign and appeared at Alicia Keys’ Keep a Child Alive Black Ball 2010 in London.
 
This year alone he has taken part in the Oxfam Climate Change Campaign, CNN Freedom Project and spoken alongside Kofi Annan and Martti Ahtisaari for CMI in Finland and Matt Dillon for Refugees International in Washington DC.
 
In 2008 a full-length documentary on his life was released. The film, Warchild, won 12 prestigious film festival awards worldwide. In the same year, his autobiography, also called Warchild, was published by Little Brown.
 
Despite his accomplishments in music and film, one of Jal’s biggest passions is Gua Africa, the charity he has founded to work with individuals, families and communities to help them overcome the effects of war and poverty. Besides building schools, the charity provides scholarships for Sudanese war survivors in refugee camps and sponsors education for children in the most deprived slum areas in Nairobi. Gua Africa recently reached the target amount of $220,000 needed to complete the first phase of an education centre in Leer, in Jal’s native South Sudan, and is now fundraising to complete phase 2.
 
Emmanuel will be releasing his forth album See Me Mama in September 2011 before undertaking his Lose to Win Campaign, which will see him visiting up to 200 schools, colleges and universities world wide to tell his story and raise funds for Gua Africa, Africa Yoga Project and My Start for Windle Trust International. For more visit  www.melbournefestival.com.au

Read an interview with Emmanuel Jal on the latest AfricanOZ in Print Spring 2011 issue.

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