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Maneli Jamal

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It’s hard enough to convey your thoughts and emotions lyrically, and it’s a trying task to remain compelling as an instrumental artist. 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 20s, his experiences could fill up a number of notebooks with compositons.

Born in Belarus and of Iranian descent, Maneli 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 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, TX. It was at this time that Maneli got an acoustic guitar from his father for his 16th birthday, which has scarcely left his hands since.

“I carried it on the plane, and everywhere I went, I had it”, Maneli 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.”

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