Emmanuel Jal is a talented and remarkable artist whom the world may have never known. Life didn’t start out easy for him. Nor did he understand, as a child living in war-torn South Sudan, the transformative role music would play in his life.
We would like to share his story with you, as told through the music of Emmanuel Jal.
Music became a bridge to emotional healing, pulling himself out of poverty, recovery from the violence that was his life in childhood as a soldier. Music became his therapy, a way for him to express terrible, tragic feelings. Feel his healing in the beautiful song “YEI” that he wrote at that point in his journey:
“This is why I took up music. I used to do music for fun. I didn’t know it was going to be something that would open bigger doors for me, or become a healing or a therapy” explains Jal.
Grieving the Loss of His Mothers
The war took two mothers from Jal. Both his birth mom and adoptive mom died in violent, tragic circumstances. His song « See Me Mama » is one of grieving. He is speaking to his birth mother and honouring his adoptive mother.
“I wish you could see me mama after all that drama. My shame has turned to honour. The horror and trauma is gone” sings Emmanuel Jal.
Living with Survival Guilt
Grateful to have survived, yet experiencing feelings of guilt, the survivor suffers inner torture. Jal faces survival guilt head on in this song “We Fall and Get Up” with McKenzie Eddy
“I have seen so many people die. I used to have times when the dead spoke to me — the kids who had died a long time ago, telling me ‘Emmanuel, don’t forget about us. Don’t forget to tell our story. ” Emmanuel Jal confesses in this song of vulnerability and determination.
Inspiring Young People to Become Global Citizens
Emmanuel Jaltransforms his gift into message of peace and emboldens a mighty army including Alicia Keys, George Clooney, Peter Gabriel, Elders Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter, Sir Richard Branson, Fernando H Cardoso, and Anna Gabriel (Director) to spread his message of peace.
The song “We Want Peace” is a call to end conflict, to acknowledge its impact innocent people.
Activism a Responsibility
His activism for peace is for him a responsibility. Emmanuel Jal is compelled to use his talent to inspire others to also plan a role in peace activism. He is working for a better world in his song “Warchild”.
“Be the light, the love, the bridge the democracy for those who seek peace. Forgiveness is powerful liberator” sings Jal.
“Lose to Win” Putting Words to Action
Emmanuel Jal lives his message to be an activist. He has created a non-profit organization called “Gua Africa” to raise money for education in East Africa. Each year during his annual supper club fundraising campaign, he fasts as part of his “Lose to Win” campaign.
Emmanuel Jalalso hosts a series of intimate dinners, in people’s homes and in public settings, to raise money for Gua Africa.
See this incredible talent Emmanuel Jal on stage at the 14thAnnual Francophonie en Fête Music Festival . He is performing Saturday September 28th. Tickets are now available online for only $30. Learn more here