Jamal uses his acoustic guitar as a tool to describe his personal journey
RENOWNED globally for his enigmatic style and soulful melodies, there is more than just passion fuelling musician Maneli Jamal’s creations.
Despite being only in his 20s, Jamal has had an interesting past, which compelled him to take refuge in music. Born in Belarus and of Iranian descent, Jamal was raised in Cologne, Germany. His family then moved to the States in his adolescence, immigrating to Minnesota before relocating to Austin, Texas until his late teens. At this time, his family was issued a deportation letter by the immigration office, and they were forced to claim refuge in Canada within 30 days. It was at this time Jamal got an acoustic guitar from his father for his 16th birthday. “It has been a tough journey, moving more than 20 times by the time I was 18 but those experiences have helped me express myself through music. My three brothers and I have had a nomadic life. But being around different cultures made me realise the importance of fusing those musical styles together to create something new and fresh,” he says.
Jamal utilises a mix of classical flamenco and percussive playing, and composes unique movements that is different from traditional songwriting. “I spent a bit of time on various genres, and sometimes mixing elements of flamenco and blues in a song can be really interesting,” he says.
After a show in Chennai at the Global Isai Festival, Jamal heads to Bengaluru as part of his India tour. It’s his first performance in India and he is excited. “I will be playing pieces based on my nomadic life, and hope to take the audience on this journey with me,” he says.
Jamal’s next project is a crowd-funded album called The Mardom Movement, which features tracks with Grammy Award winners Andrew York and Randy Khors. “The album is about the people who have inspired me,” he concludes.
February 26-28. At Windmills Craft Works, Whitefield. 9 pm. Tickets (`500 onwards) on bookmyshow.com.
— Nandini Kumar