Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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Review

EMMANUEL JAL: 'WARCHILD'

EMMANUEL JAL: 'WARCHILD'

7

6.1

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UK release date 12.05.2008

The word unique is often banded about without proof of purchase. With the artist Emmanuel Jal however, I struggle to find any other words to sum him up.

His story is a sad one and like a Phoenix from the ashes he is risen (and continues to rise) to great heights. His Mother died when Jal was young and his father running away to fight a war, were just the tip of Jal's ice berg.

He was then taken away from what remained of his family - along with thousands of other children at the tender age of seven, and sent to fight with the rebel army in Ethiopia. By the age of thirteen he had taken part in two civil wars and a lucky break saw Jal adopted by a British aid worker Emma McCune. It was this happy ending that took a cruel twist, as aid worker McCune was killed in a car crash in Nairobi's slums not long after Jal was adopted. Living on the streets and finding the church helped Jal in turn find music.

His style is Hip Hop in origin, but it's real values lays in the messages that Jal tries to convey through this medium. On the Single 'Warchild' from his namesake album he raps "I believe I survived for a reason. To tell my story, to touch lives". As a listener you certainly feel educated to his experiences and the plight that has/is happening to his homeland. Mix that with messages of denouncement of fellow rappers who glorify gun crime and violence and you have more than just a good album... You have a life experience.
Words LEE TYLER

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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