Emmanuel Mark Kembe was born January 9, 1969 in Wau, Western Bahr el-Ghazal, New Sudan. In 1988, when Emmanuel completed his high school education in the north, there was widespread displacement and hunger in the South Sudan. Emmanuel responded by writing protest songs against injustice, inequality and slavery in Sudan.
Emmanuel's life as a political refugee began in November 1994, when Emmanuel was imprisoned and forced to leave the Sudan for singing one of his popular protest songs titled “Shen-Shen” at the Khartoum Sixth International Music Festival. “Shen Shen” is about the ugliness that people have to face daily, but the song also gives hope that one day lasting peace will come to his beloved homeland. He first fled to Ethiopia where he spent four years working on songs and performing to raise awareness of the ugliness of the Sudan crisis.
Living as a refugee in the United States, Emmanuel Kembe recorded six albums that offer healing messages of love and peace. He has been performing for Sudanese Diaspora and American organizations fundraising for the peace and development projects in the Sudan, including recent concerts in Washington, DC and San Francisco to end the killing in Darfur. In all, Emmanuel has performed at over 50 fundraising Sudan benefit concerts.
The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement on January 9, 2005 removed the Government of Sudan's ban against Emmanuel's music throughout the country. Since that day, Emmanuel's music continues to be major source of inspiration, hope, joy and comfort to his people in the Sudan.
Emmanuel Kembe performed at the Sudanese Dance & Music Festival held in Central Park, New York City on July 21, 2007 before traveling to the Sudan for his first journey back to his homeland. Emmanuel resides in Cary, North Carolina with his wife Margaret and their three children.
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