About: Maneli Jamal
It’s hard enough to convey your thoughts and emotions lyrically, and it’s a trying task to remain compelling as an instrumental band. Maneli Jamal is both a solo act as well as an instrumental guitar player, yet he manages to play with conviction that transcends words and obvious melodies.
It’s very hard to talk about Maneli Jamal the guitarist without first elaborating on Maneli Jamal the person. The man has had an interesting past to say the least, and though he’s only in his early 20s, his experiences could fill up a number of notebooks with song lyrics.
Born in Iran and raised in Germany, Jamal 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 thirty days of receiving the notice.
Taking literally only what they could fit in their hands, Jamal and his family arrived in Toronto after establishing their lives in Austin. It was at this time that Maneli got an acoustic guitar from his father, which has scarcely left his hands since.
“I carried it on the plane, and everywhere I went, I had it”, Jamal recalls. “For half a year, we only had what we had in our hands, and I had that cheap acoustic guitar in my hands with no case. Going through something like that, as a teenager especially, you need an outlet that can take you away from life and zone you out. That's what the acoustic guitar did for me.”
Jamal had played in punk and metal bands throughout his teens, so he was no stranger to the six-string. However, the acoustic guitar held new secrets for him to discover, and thus began his exploration of the virtuosic style he’s since mastered. Utilizing a mix of classical, flamenco and percussive playing, Jamal composes unique movements which are far outside the realm of traditional songwriting.
“I'm more into letting the music flow as opposed to having a songwriter’s structure, like a traditional pop song would have,” he explains. “I'm trying to gear it more towards how a classical player would create music, which rarely has a structure like that.”
“When I came [to Toronto], I was very into classical playing, but after a while I got tired of practicing and trying to master a technique. I got out of that whole thing and tried to master melody and rhythm as opposed to trying to master the technicality of things. I'm not a fluid player, but that's what I think makes music art, that imperfect playing.”
You can tell if it’s a sad song or happy song, but it goes deeper than that, he begins, speaking on the emotional aspects of his songs. “Ziur is the third movement of a movement piece that I’ve written. The entire piece is about a love life. My love life, I should say. Ziur is Ruiz backwards, which is my fiancée’s last name, who lives in Austin. I wrote that for her. I was in a place where I’d do anything for her, and I still am, and it’s a very inspiring song for me to play. Every time I play it, it just gets better to me because of how I am with her.”
He admits that his style is hard to explain to listeners who haven't seen or heard him before, but instead of only listening to his songs, he insists that those interested go see him perform live to get the full effect of the music.
“You may think it’s not that accessible, and it’s kind of not, but when you see it, it becomes more of a visual experience as opposed to a listening experience, Jamal concludes. “I usually describe it as percussive, melodic, and rhythmic. That’s very vague. I don't really know how to say it. Just watch me play a song, and maybe you can figure out what to call it.”
Maneli has just released his latest CD "The Lamaj Movement" in May 2012, released under Candyrat Records. It's a concept album where every song takes the listener on a part of his history growing up. A homage to his family's nomadic journey around the world
Maneli Jamal - Official Websitehttp://www.manelijamal.com/
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Buy Music here:
Maneli Jamal – itunes
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Maneli Jamal – Candy Rat Records