Jal (Urdu: جل), literal English translation: "water") is a pop rock band from Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. The band originally consisted of song writer, vocalist and lead guitarist, Goher Mumtaz and vocalist, Atif Aslam and later joined by bass guitarist Omer Nadeem. Founded in 2002, they first became popular playing in Lahore's underground music scene with the release of their song "Aadat", which was a massive hit in Pakistan, topping all local music charts.
The band initially achieved critical and commercial success with the release of their music video "Aadat", directed by Umer Anwar, in 2003. After the success of the single, lead vocalist Atif Aslam parted ways with the band, due to differences with lead guitarist Goher Mumtaz, to pursue a career as a solo artist. This led to Mumtaz recruiting musicians Farhan Saeed on vocals and Aamir Sheraz on bass guitar. The band's new line-up followed with the release of their debut studio album, Aadat, in 2004. The album was declared as the best selling album of 2004 on Geo TV by the record label Sadaf Stereo. Soon afterwards, the band recorded and released their second studio album Boondh in 2007, which topped several music charts in South Asia. The success of both the albums has led the band to achieve several awards, most notably winning the MTV Asia Award for Favorite Artist India in 2006. In 2011, Farhan Saeed also left the band to pursue a solo career, with Goher Mumtaz taking over as the lead vocalist of the band. Jal came out with their third studio album 'Pyaas' which was released to the fans delight on 11 March 2013 in both Pakistan (by Hum Network, M Records) and India (Universal Music). But even after that, On 23 December 2013, Aamir Sheraz officially left the band.
Jal are one of the most commercially successful and influential rock music groups of all time in Pakistan. Also, the band is well known for being one of the few contemporary Pakistani music bands to have fused Urdu lyrics with modern pop music.
Jal performed songs from their album Pyaas, apart from their old hits, in London's O2 Arena in June 2013.
Early years (1998-2001):
Goher Mumtaz and Atif Aslam met each other while the latter was studying at the PAF College in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, in 1998.
Soon afterwards, the band started to gain popularity in Lahore's underground music scene and gained a large cult following due to the success of their song "Aadat". The band then went on to release the music video for the song, directed by Umer Anwar, through ARY Digital and The Musik, in December 2003. This saw the single top all local music charts, receiving an amazing amount of air time by all the music channels. The video was soon rated as the 4th best video of the year 2003 by ARY The Muzik, within days of its release. The success of the song immediately led the band to receive many concert offers, which was also partly due to the song's rating to date on music channels.
However, by the end of December, in 2003, Atif parted ways with the band due musical differences, with lead guitarist Goher Mumtaz, to pursue a career as a solo artist. This led Goher recruit musicians Farhan Saeed on vocals and Aamir Sheraz on bass guitar. Farhan was suggested by Sultan Raja, bassist of Call, who introduced him to Goher and thus joining the band as its vocalist. By this time the band, with a new line-up, re-did the song "Aadat" as its video was already being aired on local music channels with the former lead vocalist, Atif Aslam, voice.
Ushering a new revival (2004-2006):
Following the release of the band's first single, Jal soon entered the recording studios to work on their debut studio album release. The band had recruited bassist Aamir Sheraz along with vocalist Farhan Saeed, and started to work on their first album. The album was composed by Goher and was produced by well-known musicians Zulfiqar Jabbar Khan and Mekaal Hasan, previously produced the band's debut single "Aadat" which was a major hit in both India and Pakistan. Jal then went on recording and releasing their debut studio album, Aadat, through the record label Sadaf Stereo, on 27 September 2004. Mostly all singles from the album did really well at the local music charts, most notably "Aadat" which topped the charts and stayed at the top for two weeks. Whereas, five other songs from the album received Top 40 airplay on radio and music channels in Pakistan. Sales of the album were such that it remained at the top of the Pakistani music charts for several weeks after its release. The album was declared as the best selling album of 2004 on Geo TV by the record label Sadaf Stereo. This was followed by the album being released in India by HOM Records, where it did really well in the market and was highly acclaimed due to its success in the country as well. In October, Jal released their second single "Lamhay" music video, from their album, directed by Zulfiqar Jabbar Khan. On 11 November, Jal went on performing at Lahore Grammar School 55-Main branch along with Call. In December, Jal received a special award by Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital in recognition of their support and efforts to raise funds for fighting cancer in Pakistan.
Atif Aslam, released his debut solo album Jal Pari, after he left the band, which included few songs from Jal's first studio album. This led to a dispute between Atif and Jal about who owned the rights to the songs as Goher took the dispute to court. However, the final statement from the court went in favour of both the artists as the songs which were included in both the artist albums were compositions of both Atif and Goher. Thus, the dispute ended between the two musicians.
On 2 February 2005, Jal performed a charity concert for the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami victims at Alhamra Auditorium in Lahore. In the same year, the title track "Aadat", from their debut album, was remade for the Bollywood movie Kalyug, directed by Mohit Suri and produced by Mahesh Bhatt. Also, Jal band members established themselves as one of the most popular and commercially successful band in Pakistan, as their debut album continued to top the music charts locally, and the release of their single "Lamhay" turned out to be another successful single by the band in 2004, and even a year after its release. The song created controversy as a remix version of the song later appeared in the Bollywood movie Zeher, released in March 2005. Jal accused the film producers of stealing their song, "Lamhay". In response to this accusation, the music director for the movie, Anu Malik, credited himself for only "re-creating" the song on the album, but there was still a heavily noticeable resemblance.Roop Kumar Rathod is credited as the "composer" for the song, while the original composer of the song is vocalist, lead guitarist, Goher Mumtaz, of the band. However, Atif Aslam, who sang the song for the movie, faced legal problems over the band name "Jal" with the existing members.
On 30 April, Jal due to the success of their debut studio album won four awards and received two nominations at the Indus Music Awards. The band won the "Best Lyrics", "Best Composition" and "Best Song" awards, for their song "Aadat", along with the "Best Band" award at the music awards. Also, the band were nominated for the "Best Music Album", for their debut album and also the "Best Composition", for the song "Lamhay", award. On 24 September, Jal received a nomination for the "Best Song" and "Best Lyrics" award for their song "Lamhay" and also received an award for the "Best Pop Group", for their debut album Aadat, at the Sahara Sangeet Awards, held at Oakland Arena in Oakland, California, United States.
Jal has been invited time to time by the colleges of Pakistan and India as well to perform in the fests. In November 2009 they were received best at IIT, Roorkie with a crowd of students from across India. Similar concerts across various top colleges keep taking place. For a list of Jal's upcoming concerts one can refer to their.
In 2006, Jal's music video for the song "Ik Din Aayega" was declared as the second best video among the top 100 videos selected by ARY Musik channel. On 31 March 2006, Jal once again went on performing at Alhamra Auditorium in Lahore. The following day, the band went on performing at Nawabshah District, for the first time. Soon after wards, the band then went on performing across border in neighbouring country, India, at Modern School, New Delhi on 7 April. On 6 May, Jal won the MTV Asia Award for Favorite Artist India at MTV Asia Awards 2006 held at the Siam Paragon in Bangkok, Thailand. The band also performed their song "Aadat" live at the music awards. After a month, on 10 June, Jal went on performing live at Defence Club and Arts Council Karachi, in Karachi. Followed by performing live in the capital city of the state Andhra Pradesh, in Hyderabad, India. On 15 December, Jal performed live in front of a crowd of 15, 000 audiences at Tundikhel for the first time in Kathmandu, Nepal. The band opened their act by performing "Teri Yaad", followed by the massive hit "Lamhay" and also performing many cover songs like "Lal Meri Pat". On 23 December, Jal released a video album Woh Lamhay, which included music videos released by the band and remixes of the songs "Aadat" and "Lamhay" by Dr. Zeus, through the record label HOM Records.
In 2007, Jal struck a deal with Gibson Guitar Corporation, becoming the first South Asian band in history (along with the Pakistani pop rock band Strings) to create a working relationship with the famed guitar manufacturers. It was reported that according to the deal, Jal will exclusively use Gibson guitars during concerts, studio recordings and music videos. Furthermore, Jal will act as brand ambassadors to Gibson. In return, Gibson will sponsor the varied endeavours of the band and also provide concert halls and equipment as and when required. Following this, Jal also became the brand ambassadors for the Abu Dhabi based mobile telecommunication company, Warid Telecom. In the same year, Jal entered the recording studios to work on their second studio album release. The mixing and engineering of the album was done by Mekaal Hasan and Goher Mumtaz. The album was recorded at Digital Fidelity Studios in Lahore, where the band also recorded their debut album Aadat in 2004. All songs on the album were composed and written by Goher Mumtaz with the exception of one track, which is written by Farhan Saeed and the album was produced by Mekaal Hasan. On 14 December, Jal went on releasing their second studio album Boondh, through the record label Fire Records, sponsored by Warid Telecom. Farhan Saeed, the lead vocalist of the band, explained the title of the album Boondh is not the name of any song in the album, but is basically the theme of the album and covers all the songs in it. The name suggests that we as a band are just like a small droplet of water in the sea of music, which covers Pakistan, Asia and the entire world where our music is heard. It is our small contribution to the sea of music," said Farhan. This was followed by a live tour, mainly in South Asia, with concerts all over Pakistan, and a few places in India. The following day, Jal released their first music video of the single "Sajni" from their second album, directed by Bilal Lashari. The single was a major hit all over Pakistan, topping all of the charts in the country, just after a month of its release.
In 2008, Jal were signed to Unilever as they became the brand ambassadors for Wall's ice cream. On 19 February, Jal released the video of their new single "Chaltay Chaltay" featuring Bollywood actress Amrita Rao. The single later appeared as a bonus track on the band's second album, when re-released on 26 February in Pakistan and 26 March, internationally. Jal's second album Boondh became an instantaneous hit, winning the Lux Style Award for "Album of the Year". The song "Sajni" from this album also won the Best Song and Video of the Year awards at the same ceremony. On 14 June, Jal won the "Best Song" award for the song "Chaltay Chaltay" at The Musik Awards. This was followed by Jal travelling to Toronto, Canada, performing at Markham Fair Grounds in South Asian Mela, on 15 June. Then going to performing live at Corianthas in Pune, India. On 13 July, the band once again travelled to Canada this time performing at the Wonder Land in Toronto. Followed by a number of concerts in Pakistan and India and then travelling to perform at Rådhusplassen in Oslo, Norway, on 24 August. Jal's video "Sajni", directed by Bilal Lashari, went on winning the 'Best Pop Video Award' at MTV Video Awards 2008.
On 9 April 2009, Jal went on performing at Qurum City Amphitheatre in Muscat, Oman, for the first time. In May, Jal won the 'Best Ballad' award for their single "Moré Piya" and were nominated for the 'Best Band' award at the first MTV Pakistan Video Awards.
Continued success (2010-2011):
On 11 May, it was confirmed that Jal will be performing at Coke Studio season four first episode, which will be aired on 22 May, through a Coke Studio television promo of the first episode. On 14 May, in a behind the scenes video of Jal performing at a Coke Studio session, Goher Mumtaz discussed about performing a new song, "Ik Aarzu", at Coke Studio as it would be more challenging for the band. On 22 May, Coke Studio fourth season first episode aired in which Jal performed "Ik Aarzu", added with classical sufi poetry of Bulleh Shah infusion into the band's song lyrics, featuring with backing vocals by Zoe Viccaji and Rachel Viccaji. On 24 May, in a review of the Coke Studio fourth season, first episode, The Express Tribune newspaper gave Jal's performance for the song "Ik Aarzu" a 7/10 rating. On 19 June, the third episode of Coke Studio fourth season aired saw the band sung their hit song "Panchi", from Aadat, with singer QB, who came in with her rendition of the Mohammad Ali Sheikhi and Allan Fakir's hit song "Tere Ishq Mae Jo Bhi Doob Gaya". The Express Tribune newspaper also gave this performance by the band a 7/10 rating.
On 22 August, the band's lead vocalist Farhan Saeed released a solo single cover of "Halka Halka Suroor" paying tribute to late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. The release of the song led to spreading rumours that the vocalist has parted ways with Jal. On 3 September, Saeed in an interview to The Express Tribune finally confirmed these speculations, disclosing his departure from the band to pursue a solo career. Saeed claimed that he disclosed his decision to Mumtaz and Aamir around the first week of Ramazan, saying "I invited them over to my café and explained my reasons for leaving the band. Goher offered that I could pursue my solo career while being a part of the band, but for me it's always been black or white as Jal would be my priority if I stay with the band."
On 8 Sep 2012, lead vocalist and lead guitarist, Goher Mumtaz in an interview with Rj Syed Ali confirmed that the band's third album, Pyaas, which was originally slated for a March 2012 release date, was delayed to be released on end of the year. Gohar, inspired from success of Fawad Khan; former member of band EP, took up acting as a side project in a Pakistani serials. Unlike Fawad, critics found his acting weaker than his vocals.
On 23 December 2013, Aamir Sheraz officially left the band.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license