“Left home at the age of seven/one year later I’m carryin’ an Ak-47.”

This is a special message to readers in the Washington, D.C. area.

The quote above is a lyric to the title track of Emmanuel Jal’s breakout album, War Child. For those of you not familiar with his work, run yourself to his website and download a few tunes. For those unfamiliar with the Emmanuel Jal story, buy tickets to the documentary War Child, playing this week at the Landmark E Street Cinema.

This is an amazing film. Jal was a child soldier during Sudan’s brutal civil war. He managed to escape to Kenya, where he emerged a decade later as a world music sensation whose music combines hip-hop and African beats with piercing lyrics drawn from his traumatic youth.

Here is my interview with the film’s director Karim Chrobog. If you are in the DC area do yourself a favor and see this film. It opens Friday and will run for just one week.