toronto Tag

scars banner OUT NOW

05 Nov EMMANUEL JAL RELEASES NEW MUSIC VIDEO: ‘SCARS’ WITH NELLY FURTADO AND EMBARKS ON EASTERN CANADA TOUR WITH XAVIER RUDD

2nd November 2015

CANADA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

EMMANUEL JAL RELEASES NEW MUSIC VIDEO: ‘SCARS’ WITH NELLY FURTADO

AND EMBARKS ON EASTERN CANADA TOUR WITH XAVIER RUDD

‘When Nelly and I were writing this song together, she suggested the theme of ‘Scars’ and I knew immediately that this was something that I could draw on from my story as a child soldier growing up in South Sudan. However this is also a song with a universal feel to it, something we can all touch on with our own experiences, growing up and going through life.” - Emmanuel Jal

“I feel like Emmanuel and I have known each other since we were children, and the song has a child-like theme to it. Even though we weren’t friends as children, it was like we almost rediscovered some type of connection through song. Scars are what we can all relate to: the common human experience of pain, which every human being feels. I like to focus on the sameness we have as humans rather than the differences we have as individuals.“ - Nelly Furtado

Read More

24 Sep Canada Safe Bet For Former Child Soldier’s Record Label

September 24, 2012  |  By KAREN BLISS - LOWDOWN
Sudanese hip hop artist and peace activistEmmanuel Jal has chosen to headquarter his record label, Gatwitch Records, in Toronto and hire industry veteran David MacMillan to run it. The former child soldier now in his 30s, whose harrowing early life was documented in an award-winning 2008 film, Warchild, and 2010 autobiography, War Child: A Child Soldier’s Story, is in the final stages of becoming a Canadian citizen.
Read More

07 Sep ROLLING STONE: WE WANT PEACE RELOADED- VIDEO PREMIERE

South Sudanese artist takes action with some notable friends. By Rolling Stone September 6th, 2012 8:00 AM Few have seen reality's harsher side like South Sudanese musician Emmanuel Jal. A former child soldier, Jal is now an activist, using his art to take social and political action. With his triumphant new video for "We Want Peace – Reloaded," Jal gets assists from former President Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan, Ringo Starr, George Clooney, Alicia KeysPeter Gabriel, Dispatch, O.A.R., D.M.C., Das Racist and more. But despite the smiles all around, the song's message is serious.
Read More

15 Aug Child Soldier Turned Musician Performs at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival

Examiner reporter gets exclusive interview

By Claire Theobald/EDMONTON EXAMINER

At his lowest point Emmanuel Jal had been running for months, one of the few survivors left from a group of 400 that fled to escape the unimaginable violence of the second Sudanese civil war. Food was scarce, and driven by desperation some had resorted to cannibalism. Jal, still just a child, was tempted to eat the rotting flesh of his fallen friend. Now, Emmanuel Jal is a critically acclaimed recording artist, who shared his story and a message of hope to an audience of thousands at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. “Describing my childhood, I would say it was difficult, it was hell,” says Jal. “Compared to now, this is heaven.” For Jal, music is his therapy, letting him heal by expressing his story though his lyrics. “When I get on that stage, I don't even remember I was a child soldier. I was dancing, I was performing, I was engaged.” But even now, 20 years later, the nightmares still come. “If I was to sit down and tell the story, it's painful. I will have nightmares,” said Jal. “But if I do it through music, it no longer affects me, but I can see the journey.” Jal was born into war torn Sudan, and after his mother was killed he, along with thousands of other children, was taken to Ethiopia under the presumption that he would go to school. However, as Jal says in a stirring spoken word poem, while other children learned to read and write, they were taught to fight. When the fighting became unbearable, Jal, along with 400 others, fled on a desperate mission for safety. Out of the 400 that left, only 16 survived. “I could be one of those people,” said Jal. “I almost committed suicide, I almost shot myself.”   Jal ended up in a town called Waat, where he met aid worker Emma McCune who smuggled him into Kenya and adopted him. Just when he thought he had finally found security, McCune was killed in a car accident and Jal was left to live in the slums. However, it was in these slums that Jal discovered the healing power of music. “Music is where I was able to see heaven again,” said Jal. Now, Emmanuel Jal has four albums under his belt, one produced under his own label, an tours internationally using his music as a vehicle for inspiring change. “Maybe somebody's heart can be touched,” says Jal, “and that's going to open a door for another person to be rescued.” His music is often celebratory in tone, inspiring hope and empowering the listener without an ounce of hate or anger, a true testament to the strength of his spirit.
Read More