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Emmanuel Jal Joins All Star Mandela Bday Bash


05/06/2008
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(HER) Former child soldier turned hip-hop artist Emmanuel Jal has been invited to perform at the concert event, "46664 Concert Honoring Nelson Mandela at 90," which will play to a gathering of 46,664 friends and supporters at London's Hyde Park on June 27. The concert is one event in a three-day period of celebrations that will pay tribute to one of the world's most loved leaders, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and icon of freedom, Nelson Mandela, who turns 90 later this year.

With Mr. Mandela in attendance, Jal will perform songs from his brand new album, "Warchild," due out in the U.S. on May 13. The 13 songs on "Warchild" are rooted in Jal's extraordinary life as a Sudanese child soldier. "Nelson Mandela is one of my biggest inspirations," said Jal. "It's a great honor for me to be given this chance to celebrate his birthday on the stage and then to attend his dinner birthday party. I cannot wait for the day."

Jal will join Royalty and politicians from both sides of the Atlantic, leading names from business, sports, film and entertainment - and some of the most successful musicians of the past twenty years. Queen + Paul Rodgers, Annie Lennox, Simple Minds, Leona Lewis, as well as South African and African artists such as Johnny Clegg, Sipho Mabuse, and the legendary Papa Wemba will perform at the concert. The concert will also feature numerous surprise appearances by major artists. In addition, President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, actor Will Smith, Oprah Winfrey, Robert de Niro and Forest Whitaker are among those who will attend some of the celebrations over the three-day period.

Emmanuel Jal, who doesn't know when he was born or exactly how old he is, learned how to fire a machine gun before he could ride a bike, and lives with the nightmares of the unspeakable things he had to do as a child soldier. When he was about 13, he, along with some 400 other "child soldiers," courageously deserted the rebel lines. Only sixteen made it to the relative freedom of a refugee camp. Jal was one of them.

Music is what kept him going after returning to "the real world." On "Warchild" (Sonic360/Fontana), Jal mixes hip hop with world music rhythms to tell his incredible story in songs like "Forced to Sin," "Many Rivers to Cross," "Baaki Wara," and the title track. A feature documentary on Jal's experience, also entitled "War Child," just won the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival Cadillac Audience Award, and will screen later this month at the Cannes Film Festival. In addition, Jal is writing his autobiography for St. Martin's Press. Over the past several years, Emmanuel has befriended artists like Peter Gabriel, Bono, Moby and Sir Bob Geldof who have helped him in countless ways, whether with his music or his Gua Africa foundation that helps educate former child soldiers.

For more information on the "46664 Concert Honoring Nelson Mandela at 90," log on to http://www.46664.com/

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