Emmanuel Jal’s music has been called a “beacon of hope for those caught in seemingly endless cycles of war and despair.”
Emmanuel Jal has “energized music lovers of all ethnicities and nations” since he first exploded into dance halls in 2005, but he is much more than just an international hip-hop star. Jal was forced into the Sudanese rebel army at the age of 7, and was a child soldier for 5 years. He, and 400 other child soldiers, were finally able to escape, but of those 400 only 16 survived. The rest of the boys succumbed to “starvation, ambush and animal attacks,” while attempting to reach a refugee camp and safety from the horror they had been living.
While in the refugee camp Jal was adopted by Emma McCune, an aid worker who later took him to England. It was there that he was able to find an outlet for his past, through music. He released his biography, War Child, along with a documentary in 2009.