Popular Pakistani band Jal talks to City Times about their music, unusual rise to fame and former band mate Atif Aslam, ahead of their concert in Dubai today..

Source: Khaleej Times Online


A CONTROVERSIAL START like no other, Pakistani band Jal’s first album featured four tracks that were also included on former member Atif Aslam’s debut CD, which hit the market a few weeks before their’s.

The result? Well surprisingly, between the unofficial war over rights and the cold shoulder treatment each side graced the other with, both albums became lucrative hits.

“It’s definitely a one-of-a-kind case,” agrees Farhan Saeed, the band’s vocalist and unofficial spokesman, over the phone. “It just goes to show that two very different versions of the same song can be appreciated at the same time. It made me feel flattered and confident in our ability to please music lovers.”

And what of their relationship with Aslam, who now enjoys a rather successful solo career in Bollywood? Does the bad blood still exist or have Jal moved on to bigger, better things?

“We were just out of college back then, extremely immature and that includes Atif. Today, when we meet, we greet each other cordially and even play a bit of cricket when we find time. We are proud of him for taking Pakistani music to the world and he should be proud of us for the same.”

Meanwhile, Saeed and his band mates – lead guitarist Goher Mumtaz and bassist Aamir Sheraz – have recently finished working on several high-profile projects; their Cricket World Cup 2011 theme song Uraan, a three-song recording for Coke Studios (which fans can download off iTunes in a few weeks from now) and even a few Bollywood soundtracks.

“Yes, it’s really happening for the Jal fans right now, ever since we returned from our break. We’ve also experimented quite a bit recently and we find that it’s the college students that appreciate our work the most. We’ve heard so many of them doing covers of our songs that we enjoy writing music for them.”

And so, in hopes of performing for the age group they “love”, Jal is headed to the city for their first-ever university concert in the Middle East. According to Saeed, playing the college circuit is what initially brought fame to their doorstep.

“We live for live performances. The feedback is immediate and the energy is unbeatable. We’re quite excited about playing in Dubai because we’re returning there after a long time and playing at a youth fest.”

The singer also added that while their last experience here was not a bad one, the audience number was disappointing since they played at a club; “There were about 800 people. It’s understandable but we didn’t get a chance to get proper feedback in Dubai since we’re used to playing for five to ten thousand people at a time in Pakistan, India and the US. But this time round we have high hopes from the younger crowd.”

You can catch Jal live in concert today at the BITS grounds in Dubai International Academic City.

Heady success

“Honestly speaking, we never thought we’d get recognition in Pakistan, let alone India or elsewhere. A few weeks ago we were giving an interview in Chandigarh. I didn’t think people in Chandigarh would even recognise us. I suppose since we share common roots with India, they like our music too.”

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