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Sat, 15 Jul



Emmanuel Jal + United Freedom Collective + Rush Down (DJ)

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Emmanuel Jal + United Freedom Collective + Rush Down (DJ)
Emmanuel Jal + United Freedom Collective + Rush Down (DJ)

Time & Location

15 Jul 2023, 20:00 – 16 Jul 2023, 03:00

London, 316 High Rd, London N15 4BP, UK

About the Event

Based in the unique sounds and traditional afrobeat from South  Sudan, Jal's music reflects upon the resilience of his history and  heritage.

Rapper,  singer, actor, activist, and public speaker Emmanuel Jal overcame grave  dangers and adversity growing up to become a world-renowned talent. He  escaped life as a Sudanese child soldier and began making music in the  early 2000s, cultivating a specific brand of hip-hop that reflected his  political and spiritual beliefs. Over the years Jal would collaborate with stars such as Nelly Furtado, Peter Gabriel, and RUN D.M.C.'s Darryl  McDaniels, bringing messages of peace and enlightenment to albums like  2008's War Child and 2014's The Key. He also contributed to his sister  Nyaruach's Juno Award-nominated 2018 album Naath.

Jal was born in  South Sudan around 1980. His mother died when he was still a young child  of seven or so, and Jal was forced into a military training camp in  Ethiopia, where he was trained to be a child soldier and participated in  military battles before he was even a teenager. Eventually he left  Ethiopia and made the dangerous, grueling journey across Sudan to Waat,  which was near his Upper Nile home.

From there he was smuggled by  his mentor and protector Emma McCune into Nairobi, Kenya. Following  McCune's death, Jal became one of the millions displaced by Sudan's  violent civil war. McCune's friends and associates saw to it that Jal  received an education, and he was able to attend Tala Academy. He began  singing around 1998, was soon active in his local church choir, and  began working on the earliest forms of his public musical output. In  2005 he independently released his debut album, Gua, the title track of  which was a number one hit in Kenya.

Jal collaborated with Abdel  Gadir Salim, a Sudanese musician, for the album Ceasefire, which was  released later in 2005, and included a re-recording of "Gua." Since Jal  was from the south of Sudan, and Salim was from the north, the  collaboration of the two musicians symbolised the kind of unity many  have hoped for in the Sudan conflict, and Ceasefire represented a plea  for peace and sanity. Third album Warchild arrived in 2008, and that  year also saw both a full-length documentary about Jal's tumultuous  journey and an autobiographical book, all sharing the title Warchild.

Fourth  album See Me Mama arrived in 2012, and 2014's The Key featured a long  list of highly accomplished collaborators, including Nelly Furtado, Nile  Rogers, Das Racist, and even string arrangements from Peter Gabriel. In  2014 Jal also co-starred alongside Reese Witherspoon in the film The  Good Lie, a drama set during the Second Sudanese Civil War, which Jal  had firsthand experience with. By-then living in Toronto, Jal was  working as a public speaker and political activist in addition to  passionately pursuing his musical dreams. In 2018, he collaborated with  his sister Nyaruach on Naath, an album that fused Afrobeat rhythms with  pop production and was nominated for a Juno award. In 2021, he was  appointed the African Union ambassador for peace.

United  Freedom Collective are a new act singed to Maribou State’s label Dama  Dama, a sub-label of Ninja Tune. Their debut EP ‘Am Ta’ created waves in  late 2022 with radio support from the likes of Gilles Petersen, Jamz  Supernova, Tom Ravenscroft and Don Letts, as well as two sell-out live  shows in hometowns Margate and London.

In late 2020,  Mathieu Seynaeve and WaiFung Tsang, musicians as well as clinicians and  researchers of psychedelic therapy, met up with music producer and yoga  teacher Robbie Redway for a sound journey on a remote barn on Bodmin  Moor, Cornwall, which resulted in a set of tracks and practices that  shaped the blueprint of what United Freedom Collective is now.

The  retreat consisted of meditations, noble silences, cold sea swims,  eating plants and mushrooms, meanders and medicine songs by stone  circles – all to facilitate space for music with intent. The intention  that the music created could offer value to others, healing value, a way  to the space where we can feel free but also connected to the unity we  are.

As an ever-expanding collective, collaborating with  artists such as Falle Nioke, Eliza Shaddad, Jordan Stephens and William  Rees, the sound continued to develop into something wider than the  imagination. They have been influenced by birds, trees, Buddhism, yoga,  headless way meditations, Jungian analysis, Zen Taoism, Chinese plant  medicines, indigeneity, Amazonian and psychedelic cultures, icaros,  worldwide healing traditions…

Rush Down (DJ) 

Afrobeats and amapiano from the South London duo.


2000 Doors open

2200 United Freedom Collective

2330 Emmanuel Jal

0100 Rush Down

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