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Walker Reader

Emel Sherzad

Emel Sherzad is the host of KFAI's International Jazz Conspiracy. Born in Kabul into a family of visual artists and music lovers, he grew up in Afghanistan, France, and Italy. As a result of the 1978 communist coup in in his home country, Emel and the surviving members of his family became political prisoners. After being exiled from his native land, Emel lived as a political refugee in Lausanne, Switzerland for more than five years. Upon graduating from high school (Ecole Lemania), he obtained a certificate to teach French as a second language. Emel came to the US in 1984 and graduated from Macalester College in 1988 with a BA in Spanish and Portuguese. He attended George Mason University as a graduate student in linguistics. He currently lives in St. Paul, where he runs an Afghan restaurant, Khyber Pass Café. The love of music and painting have been some of the few constants throughout Emel's life. His art is inspired by different forms of improvised music. Accidentality and shuttered identity are two main themes in his work. His paintings are on display on the walls of Khyber Pass Cafe.

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