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PakMusic Review : Coke Studio Season 4 : Episode 1

PakMusic Review : By Hira Fatima ( PakMusic Editorial)

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Episode 1.

It will be very safe to say, in this age and time, that Coke Studio is and has been one of the biggest event in the Pakistan music scene Calendar. Having said that, it is not to be denied that it is no less than a feat that the coke studio was put together for a 4th season looking at the political and social environment across Pakistan, with irritating IPL screaming in from 1 end and a dude called OBL on the other one taking most of audience’s time including myself, coke studio Season 4 comes as a savior of Pakistani music scene and bringing our attention back to what Televisions were actually used for before 2nd May 2011. Are you wondering what that was? One word, “ENTER-FRIGGING-TAINMENT” .And yes I am aware of how bad that sounds!

So, coming back to the tradition of reviews (Imagine an aunty wearing motay glasses and looking at you from above them). Coke studio, on their designated Sunday broadcasted their 1st episode. Rating were high as the whole country tuned in to see. The review of all the tracks they did are as follows (Mandarjazail: for those who no English boling)

1: TAU KYA HUA  ( Bilal Khan)

Now, One would think, that the first track of the season would be some gutsy rendition of an enormously famous song  by a bulky (not figuratively but compositely) Super-pop star. Well, Season 4 starts with exactly the opposite of that. Bilal Khan, who is relatively un-known still, with only a few tracks that I have heard afloat, starts off Season 4. May I presume that this would set a tone for the rest of the season? It might! Bilal khan (who is not bulky figuratively or compositely) comes forward as a veteran at doing these kind of jams only this is not just any JAM its COKE-FRIGGING-STUDIO. For an artist to be presented with such a chance is nothing shorter than lady luck marrying you or something. I am smitten! “Tau kya hua” is a classy mellow track, which shows a lot of depth in a very simple and uncomplicated situation. It is so soft and shy; it comes off as a whisper to oneself in the middle of the night. Bilal keeps the intimacy of the feelings portrayed intact so effortlessly through his vocals that you feel somewhat disappointed when the performance finishes, like an old friend leaving too soon(an old very burger friend). Though the concept and the fusion of the track are pretty predictable, presentation is everything. Progression of the track and pace is perfect, If only one was left alone with this track it would’ve remained in the head till the end BUT”, and it’s a big one, Episode 1 was just starting to warm up.

2. KUCHH HAI (Mizraab )

So, I have always liked Mizraab for some reason, though I admit that hard rock has never been my cup of tea (I am thinking negatively “PANCHHI” Mizraab people). I love the weird vocals of Faraz Anwar with his slightly cuppy pronunciation. It’s very endearing and an unmistakable trademark. So I was naturally enthusiastic to see mizraab on cokestudio. I mean here is the “best house band ever” meets “fastest fingers on guitar in asia”, You have to be a vegetable, musically, to not be excited about that.  So” kuchh hai” presented itself like a Yanni concert in my TV lounge. The arabesque theme and the mean riffs were mind blowing but you have to wait for it, As Qawwal Mannan kicked in with his Alaaps I was  in the frozen form of that ridiculous smiley on Msn : |. I never knew Mizraab could carry off that! It was a literal death-trap had it gone wrong, but, well, things only go “right” and “very-frigging-right” on cokestudio. “Kuchh Hai” enthralled.  It just came together like it was meant to be. Picked up the pace and hurled it all around for everyone to see…and MAN that Faraz dude is so mean on the guitar strings I was afraid I would see some bleeding there!  The Backing vocals were doing their own little miracles with faraz’s shebang .Kuchh hai delivered the excitement it received and as it was ending, I thought, well, I think that’s as good as it gets…Miraculously enough, I WAS WRONG!

P.S. Was I the only one who heard something extra with percussions?

3: Daanah Pa Daanah (Akhtar Chanal Sahib & Komal Rizvi)

It is a rule of mine that I avoid commenting on anything very very folksy or sufiana. Reason being my immense heartfelt over-bearing respect and lack of understanding. Being born and introduced to Pakistan through PTV majorly I must clarify that I might have listened to more folk music than most of the teenagers in Pakistan today. Since back in the days (1994-1997) a large part of music played on PTV was Folk, hence, I am fully introduced to the amazing and forever eternal song “Daanah Pa Daanah” from the beautiful land of miracles we all love, Baluchistan. I remember my Dad explaining to me in bits and pieces what it meant (which is very strange since we are from an urdu-speaking family). I guess its message of the beautiful landscapes, lovely escapades and cultural refrences will freeze frame  Baluchistan in the stationary scenery. Its haunting melody so full-filling that you forget that you do not understand most words in it. How can you make something that’s already  perfect into something better. ASK THE COKESTUDIO GUYS! I mean, I have no idea how and why they made the connection between “Daanah pa Daanah and Laal meri Patt” with “Akhtar Chanal and Komal Rizvi”. I cannot understand how they came up with that but they did and it was MIND-FRIGGING-BLOWING!  Now if you have seen it already, you know that I can’t possibly get descriptive of it. If you haven’t watched it and are taking this as precursor of how it is, WATCH IT!

4: Ik Arzu (Jal)

To me Ik Arzu came as a very comfortable and trendy addition to the lineup of the first episode. It was original, very Jal and very well fused with another Sufiana Kalaam “teray ishq nachaya”. NOT to forget the extremely gaudy Jacket Farhaan wore, which worked as the pinch of salt to make the cake perfectly sweet. As in reminded me how the music was more important than looks, you know one can get lost if there’s too much eye-Frigging-candy, so thank you Farhaan! Gauhar was exceptional with the guitar and the backing vocals just made it all jell so beautifully together that everything just seemed perfectly harmonic. So another good track, if heard individually. Talks about feelings and motivation in love.  So it a yes track with the perfect punch of amour. Very chic, very coke-studio!

5: Sighra Aaween Sanwal Yaar (Sanam Marvi)

I wondered after so many absolutely perfect tracks in the lineup for episode 1, how would they end it? You know, the show stopper has to come in the end, and for a designer, not only the show-stopper should be an extremely charismatic personality, her dress and all embellishments on it should be above everything else in the lineup as well. So for a show stopper for episode 1 Mr. Hayat chose a singer who personifies the sufi music for new generation, who takes it more seriously than life, and dressed her in a unique combination of 2 different Odes to Allah the Almighty by two of the biggest names in the history of Sufiana Kalaam. Embellished it with the beautiful and bluesy modern age music arrangement. The end result? A Track that will take your breath away, even if you don’t understand a word of it. Sighra Aaween, is a excerpt from Hazrat Sachal Sarmasst’s poetic telling of the legend of Sassi and Punnu, whilst “Alif Allah” is a famously known Kalaam by Hazrat Sultan Bahu. The combination is dynamic yet not extremely over-whelming, which I credit to the musical genius of Rohail Hayat, But everyone knows when the ball gets rolling all depends on the performer and Sanam Marvi is excellence incarnate. Her posture so modest yet her calling so sharp and demanding. Her vocal variation took it all beyond our ears to our hearts. I label her personally as the next biggest name in rendering Sufiana Kalaam. I hope she is recognized for the asset she is

In conclusion of my seemingly endless personal opinion I would say, Episode 1 has set the standard for the rest of the season pretty high. I am keeping my fingers crossed for the whole team and coming attractivenesstions to keep up the tradition and at the same time break the tradition. Conflicted it is, But that’s what we all are hoping for. Very rarely do I end my reviews with this word “ THANKYOU”

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