Posts Tagged ‘Cokestudio11’

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I have loved Zohaib Kazi’s work for a while now and that is why I was over the moon to hear that he is going to be on the driving seat for season 11. He has anyway been associated till season 6. The buzz started with CokeStudio Explorer that featured 4 songs with varied artists and barring the last song, everything felt nice, solid and quite trippy. After explorer ended, curtain was raised on the season opener song and in came Hum Dekhenge. I loved it then and I love it now. The artist line up was just way too tempting and too good to be true. Anyway, I won’t go on and on episode-wise as you can find it here. Our picks from this season are as under:

Baalkada The way this song started made me soar like an airplane. Naghma & Lucky were fantastic! Jimmy Khan’s presence works like a balm. The gamut of genres that CokeStudio Pakistan has touched should be a case study to those who ‘do music’ in our country as well. We need to just look at the arc of emotions CokeStudio Pakistan has chosen. Arey mujhse pooch lo yaar, I will make an excel sheet for you containing those details and I will lend my time for free to you. At least touch some other genres, Dear Indian music movements!?

Rap hai sara -. The way this song has been done, it has raised the swag factor of CokeStudio in multiples. All the boys ran a riot in the studio. I last smirked at someone’s entry when Bohemia entered the studio in ‘Kandyari dhal Geet’. Young desi has bettered it. If this song was a part of a concert in a big stadium, this song would have EVERYONE take their shirts off and throw them on the stage. Lyari underground is a revealation and I loved their part as well. Confession – I prefer watching this song that hearing it and trust me, I have watched it way too much, super super stuff! (ande waala burger reference here)

Rashamama – Zarsanga makes a dashing entry to the studio and aided with Khumariyaan and a superb Babar ali khanna, she holds your attention and makes you sway with the absolute magical track. Yet another song that widens the arc of the genres which CokeStudio Pakistan explores with every passing season. Zarsanga is plain brilliance on display and her woi allah! calls are a hoot! The song then pauses and what is possibly the best moment in asserting Cokestudio Pakistan’s swag (watch how the camera pans, the music that accompanies the angle from roughly at 3:07 mins to 3:14 mins to know what I mean), Gul Panra gives her interpretation of the song. Her part is more contemporary and filled with modern arrangement which doesn’t feel bad (or wrong) either.

Nami danamChand tara orchestra, under the guidance of Omran Shafique gave us this gem. There was too much happening in terms of lighting and not in a good way. Barring that, this song soared. They should have named the song Raqs-e-bismil. I have a positive bias to Chand tara orchestra because of their name and sound. Before this season, I didn’t know about them. It is very very good to see old cokestudio musicians take the lead in inducting new artists. Like Babar has done in last few songs and my heartthrob Omran has done here…What a fantastic, liberating song! Me raqsam Me raqsam…indeed

Jind mahiya – A slow, almost reggae like pace mixed with obvious habibi influence is what catches your attention from the first second in the song. Shuja Haider’s composition is as free flowing as his singing and even though in the BTS video, he insisted it is a chichora song, the song comes across as adorable and way too catchy. This is like ‘rockstar’ without self deprecating tone and peppered with innocence. This is exactly the kind of execution that I was waiting for since the season started. The houseband played up perfectly and there was nothing over the top and surprisingly, the song sounds very well produced. Lest I forget, the dholak play from Babar added just the right amount of nasha. Easily, the first song of the season that I loved without any ‘if’ or ‘but’. Thumbs up!

Ya QurbanKhumariyaan boys made me go mad. I absolutely loved what they have done here. The song, the dance, the vibe, the happiness that dripped from their soul via their song and instruments…this is vintage CokeStudio Pakistan, this is what we wait for when CokeStudio Pakistan announces a new season. You can make half talented musicians stand and ‘fuse’ their work like there is no tomorrow, but it takes a special khaalis presentation like this to blow your mind away. How about those maddening whistles? Everything, just about everything is top notch here. Not a note wrong, excellently done boys! Fun bit – check out the Game of Thrones opening credits done by the boys here – Game of Thrones Main Theme (Cover) by Khumariyaan

Balaghal ula Be Kamalihi – When she sings, Lord hears. Simple. These are Gulzar’s words but ring in true everytime I see (holding both ears as I say her name) Her Highness Abida Parveen. There is really nothing that comes to mind when I try to analyse this song because this here is not a track, it is devotion finding its way to our souls. A magnificent presentation. Please explore it.

Wah jo kalaam – Penned by Asrar and along with him, Shamu Bai and Vishnu played a riot of colors and beauty in what is one of the best songs in all of 11 years of the studio in Pakistan. I have always had a bit of a problem with Shamu’s pitch but here, Asrar has used that to the track’s advantage. With zero accompaniment from the studio houseband, this beautiful song hits your core being like a bolt of lighting. Talking of Zero accompainment from houseband, I suspect Shamu bai was using her own Harmonium and Vishnu was using his own Dholak. The melodious strum and humming from Asrar in the beginning reminds you of all the good things that music and all of us have lost over the years. There seems to be zero innocence of ‘being’ these days in anything. For a moment, let us all just remind ourselves of this powerhouse called Asrar who has a lot that is yet to be exploited by the popular scene. Don’t you love his ‘wah wah’ in the song? A pucca performer. Do check his ‘Gaddiye’ as well, if you have time. I get a strong feeling that Vishnu will, in the years to come, make more appearances in the studio. What a brilliant command this lad has…especially the way he picked up Hyder hyder part. This is the song that, everytime when it ends, leaves me weeping. Kudos to the producers for letting this song be.

Luddi hai jamaalo – The studio always has an ace up its sleeves when it comes to re-imagining old film songs. I can’t say the same about non film songs and yes I am still sore with the wounds of Hawa Hawa. In Luddi Hai Jamalo the studio has shown how the old songs are to be touched up. The way they have added violins and the opening la la la is exactly what they should have touched up Hawa Hawa. Here, Humaira Arshad and Ali Sethi have done a decent job of sticking to the song yet adding their touch. I absolutely loved the way the sound has been managed, it sounds so fresh yet vintage. The last minute or so where the song really accelerates doesn’t feel out of sync or mood. I didn’t feel anything outstanding about Humaira’s part but I was blown away by Ali Sethi. Can this man do any wrong? I really don’t think so. If I were a ruler with a kingdom, I would have relinquished all to this man just for his ‘Howaan tathon paray Kyon mera dil daray, Chad kay duniya saari, Teray tay kyon waray’ part in the song. I am not kidding.

Aurangzeb – by Mughal-e-funk is quite an interesting track for the simple reason that it explores a genre within a genre. Presenting Aurangzeb‘s reign and conflicts via instrumental is totally a new way to present instrumental tracks. The houseband and especially Babar ali Khanna really came together to touch up Mughal-e-funk‘s exciting presentation in the studio. Excellent Sitar, Superlative Harmonium and a solid backup vocalist sound…what’s not to like? (I know, the lighting..! still…I liked this track)

Ko ko korina – I am from Lucknow and one of the reasons I love CokeStudio Pakistan is that they showcase the music from their region which I may not have come across earlier. Personally speaking, while growing up, I was more intrested in exploring Umar Sharif’s plays and swaying on Hawa Hawa than anything else. So when I saw CokeStudio reimagine what they have posted as ‘infamous’ Ko Ko Korina, I was hearing it for the first time. I know I will lose a lot of friends here but I didn’t find this song bad at all. I in fact liked how the studio, in a rare display of self control, conducted the song with the right amount of mischief and melody. No, I didn’t find Ahad Raza Mir or Momina Mustehsan out of tune. I would still say that Momina was struggling in Antras but largely lovely lovely song. I then went and checked the original song and well, I could still not get myself to dislike this re-imagination. I am just raving mad at the studio for what they did with Hawa Hawa. One might argue, that my grouse with Hawa Hawa‘s re-imagination is because unlike Ko Ko Korina, I have grown up with Hawa Hawa, so I am not as emotionally invested with Ko ko as I am with Hawa Hawa. I will disagree to that train of thought for the simple reason that Ko Ko Korina‘s re-imagination didn’t take any unneccesary turns and the pace and treatment was upbeat (what a lovely guitar – keyboard play by Rufus and Momo by the way!), Whereas the Hawa Hawa reimagination was half hearted, sounded dead on arrival and took that unnecessary tirbal turn which still haunts me at night. So there, that is my take. I liked Ko Ko Korina! Someone please join me and let us petition the studio to re-re-imagine Hawa Hawa?

In addition to the above:

  • Shikwa/Jawab e shikwa – was so good till Natasha baig’s part. To me she has been the find of the season. Still, the usually dependable Fareed Ayaz & Abu Muhammad Qawwal put me off this time and I couldn’t bring myself to repeat the song just because of them and this applies to their self absorbed ‘piya ghar aaya’ as well. Sad.
  • Runaway – would have been much better with just Krewella.
  • I absolutely loved the first 3 mins of dil hai pakistani
  • I disliked the way Main iraada came together. That was cacophony and largely due to excessive artists and over the top audio mixing
  • I liked Dastan-e-moomal rano but couldn’t sit through the whole of it on repeated listening. I like the subtle presentation of the song.
  • Illallah was so good but was let down by poor lyrics and somehow ‘aaja piya tori yaad satave’ sounded like a mifit with the mood of the song. Hear the first 2 odd mins of the song though to see what this song could have been.
  • I disliked the uncertainity about ‘will this be a 3 song or 4 song episode’. Nope don’t play with that. Please.

Some of the best music memories that I have since the last 10 odd years are attributed to CokeStudio Pakistan. Some of the most aggressive views that have popped up in my head have been a result of poor imitation of CokeStudio 11 by other movements in and outside Pakistan, CokeStudio at MTV for one. What happens when the movement you have come to love starts showing signs of becoming a bad parody of itself? That is exactly what happened with the season 11 and it pains me to write this because in my books, even when CokeStudio Pakistan is bad, it is miles ahead of garbage that is masquerading as ‘music movement’ in and around the subcontinent. Make no mistake, it is not just Season 11 that has disappointed. The downward spiral has continued since Rohail has departed and the only exception to that has been the superbly Season 8. Though I would not write off Zohaib and Ali Hamza, I would like a little bit of ‘pause’ in the execution. Everything need not be over the top, extra experimental and please slow down those maddening lights. Lastly, please don’t play around with melody and defile it like you have done with Hawa Hawa this year. Ever.

Love from India

P.S. – Bhaga ke le jaunga Ali Sethi ko main ek din, dekhta reh jayea Pakistan aur dekhta reh jayega India. Yep.

P.S.2. – Please fire whoever has been in charge of audio mixing this season.

Image and video courtesy – CokeStudio.com.pk – You can download all songs for free from here.