Emmanuel Jal, child-soldier of Sudan turned Hip-Hop artist, has incorporated his experiences into Warchild his debut solo album (out May 13, 2008 on Sonic360 / Fontana / Universal). Warchild, recorded in London between 2006 and 2007, was mixed and additionally produced by Grammy winner Neal Pogue (Outkast, Talib Kweli, Stevie Wonder, TLC), and produced by UK-based writer/producer Roachie who co-wrote most of the 13 songs with Jal.
In addition, a full-length documentary on Jal's life, entitled War Child, had its world premiere on February 10 at the Berlin Film Festival, and will screen at other major film festivals. Plus, his autobiography will be published by St. Martin's Press early next year.
Emmanuel Jal was born in war-torn Sudan, and while he doesn't know exactly when, he believes it was in the early 1980s. 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 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 U.K.