Ahmed Jehanzeb has proven himself to be a talented musician. So far he has one hit album to his credit as well as several title songs for Pakistani television dramas and the one-off collaboration for a song on Shoaib Mansoor’s Khuda Kay Liye soundtrack.
I quote here from his album sleeve: I am what I am only because of the true love, guidance and comfort provided to me by my family. They are the foundation and proof of (who) I am. I thank my family especially my father, Capt. Sabir Ahmed, without whose support I would have never achieved what I have today.
Jehanzeb further shows his understanding of music’s (spiritual) nature when he outlines his philosophy in these words: I strongly believe in the saying ‘Music is food for the Soul’. It is the best way of communication.
In my point of view music provides purity and clarity to one’s soul. It is the truest form of expression for an artist. True music requires education, training, hard work & like any other field, raw talent has to be nurtured and that is the reason I was given the opportunity to educate myself in the art of classical music.
His recent album, Laut Aao, predictably starts off with the song released earlier as a single and used in the promotional video of the album, Chandni Raat Mein. The single demonstrates that Ahmed isn’t just all about sad ditties.
This one’s more contemporary and has a faster tempo than his earlier sombre style. Interestingly, Ahmed humbly gives all the credit for the success of the song to the video director, Kookie V. Gulati.
If Chandni Raat Mein sets the tone, Mein Aur Tu is evidence that people with contrasting composition styles should work together (Sachin Gupta and Ahmed in this case) on a joint composition if they compliment each other. The more rock-inspired composition of Sachin blends almost organically with Ahmed’s melodic vocals and rather haunting compositions.
In Bol Mahiya Ve the opening sequence featuring the vocals (in English) by Tara Baswani is yet another organic progression which gives way to a near-qawwali harmonium synthesised effect in mid-song. Ahmed’s advanced control over folk singing shines through this very interesting tune.
Lagan Lagi, however, disappoints as it is in the ‘please Bollywood’ mode and is uselessly techno in its sound. Ahmed’s vocals don’t go very well (despite his best efforts) with this sort of music.
Up next is the title track, Laut Aao, and despite being a haunting number it isn’t exactly the best song in the album due to the remix effect. The song could have done without the brrr-ing effect which is mostly distracting for the listener.
Tere Bina Jeena is another song that Ahmed must be swearing by as the album’s next hit (he has even included a blues-mix version of the song towards the end accompanying similar rehashed versions of Chandni Raat Mein and Mein Aur Tu). While the song is lively, it seems short on something. Dekha Mein Ne Nahin is another song possibly composed for a Bollywood production rather than being a pop number.
Amazingly, Jiss Ko Bhi Lageya is vintage Ahmed at the start coupled with some vintage rock guitar during the chorus. This is one song that can be predicted as a true hit. Jab Tumhari Yaad is again in Ahmed’s newfound ‘pop-rock’ style. It comes across as one where the singer is probably burying his past and preparing to move on.
The rock infusion seems to have added a contemporary feel to Ahmed’s work, and one feels it would be fantastic if he can follow up more on this style of music composition.