Internationally acclaimed hip hop artist Emmanual Jal shares his message of peace and reconciliation born out of experiences as a child soldier in Sudan.
His music can be heard alongside Coldplay, Gorillaz, and Radiohead on the fundraising ‘Warchild – Help a Day in the Life’ album, as well as in three ER episodes, the National Geographic documentary God Grew Tired of Us, and more recently in the feature film Blood Diamond starring Leonardo DiCaprio. He is also featured on John Lennon’s ‘Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur’ alongside U2, REM and Lenny Kravitz.
Emmanuel Jal was born in war-torn Sudan, and while he doesn’t know exactly when, he believes it was in the early 1980’s. He was taken from his family home in 1987 when he was six or seven years old, and sent to fight with the rebel army in Sudan’s bloody civil war. For nearly five years, he was a “child warrior,” put into battle carrying an AK-47 that was taller than he was. By the time he was 13, he was a veteran of two civil wars and had seen hundreds of his fellow child soldiers reduced to taking unspeakable measures as they struggled to survive on the killing fields of Southern Sudan. After a series of harrowing events, he was rescued by a British aid worker (Emma McCune) who smuggled him into Nairobi to raise him as her own.
To help ease the pain of what he had experienced, Emmanuel started singing. In 2005, he released his first album, Gua (“peace” in his native Nuer tongue), with the title track broadcast across Africa over the BBC and becoming a number one hit in Kenya. Gua also earned him a spot on Bob Geldof’s “Live 8″ concert in the UK. Jal performed at Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday celebrations in Hyde Park, London in June 2008. He shared a stage with Alicia Keys, Annie Lennox, Damien Marley and Stephen Marley at the Black Ball in London in July 2008 and also addressed delegates at the UN in New York in the same month. Jal has also performed with Razorlight, Supergrass, and Faithless in Europe. He toured the United States as part of the National Geographic All Roads Film Festival, in which he performed in New York, Washington D.C., 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.
In Partnership with Northeastern University’s Human Services Program, University Honors Program, Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service, School of Law/Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy, John D. O’Bryant African American Institute, Broderick Center on Violence and Conflict and the Northeastern Center for the Arts.
Check out Emmanual Jal and Alicia Keys in We Want Peace.
Emmanual Jal: The Music of a War Child
A Concert for Peace
Monday, October 21
4pm Curry Ballroom
A Conversation on Human Rights
Tuesday, October 22
9AM Dockser 240, NU School of Law
Music, Movement and Self-Empowerment
Tuesday, October 22
12PM Cabral Center, John D. O’Bryant African American Institue
A panel of scholars and practitioners from Northeastern University and Boston organizations reflect on the Boston Marathon bombing six months later.
Thursday, October 24
12PM 450 Dodge Hall
Reflections on Peace
An interfaith conversation about traditions and stories of peace, hosted by the Center for Spirituality, Dialogue, and Service.
Friday, October 25
2:15PM Sacred Space, Ell Hall, 2nd Floor
For complete information about each of these events, please visit the Humanities Center Website.