With Coke Studio Pakistan Season 9 starting tonight, thought I would revisit some of my favorite numbers from the last season. The below four, in no particular order are some of the finest pieces of music and vocals that I’ve heard from the phenomenon that is Coke Studio Pakistan.
For those unaware, Coke Studio Pakistan is a live musical show with the concept of blending together two different genres of music, be it vernacular folk with pop or Sufi with contemporary music into one single number, or simply refurbishing an old Ghazal into a contemporary format, and the result, you can see is excellence extraordinaire. I personally feel that Coke Studio Pakistan is more soulful than its Indian counterpart, and rightly so as Pakistan is the land where Sufism flourished in its days and its influence is still lingering in the music. And anyway, when it comes to music, I’m an anti-national. 🙂
Man Amadeh Am – Gul Panrra and Atif Aslam
Partly in Persian partly in Urdu, Man Amadeh Am, meaning I’m coming to you is performed by Gul Pannra, a Pashto artist, and Atif Aslam. A beautiful number with equally soothing tunes is one of the finest from the previous season. Originally Man Amadeh Am was sung by an Iranian artist called Googoosh. What I like about this show is the amalgamation of different cultures and eras into one excellent masterpiece like this one.
Ae Dil – Ali Zafar and Sara Haider
Ae Dil is a refurbishment of an old Ghazal ‘Áe Dil Kisi Ki Yaad Mein’ by Saleem Raza from the 1963 film Ek Tera Sahara. With deep, meaningful lyrics adorned by the voices of Ali Zafar and Sara Haider, this version is one which makes the original one look pale in comparison. I have to mention Sara Haider who is usually seen as one of the background singers in the show, this is probably her first lead song, and boy how beautifully she sings. This is one masterpiece that I can’t get tired of listening to.
Sammi Meri Waar – Umair Jaiswal and Quratulain Balouch
Sammi Meri Waar is apparently a Punjabi folk wedding song from what I know. This medley between the Urdu by Umair Jaiswal and Punjabi by Quratulain Balouch – a popular Pakistani singer, composer and actress – is another gem from the previous season. I specially listen to this song for Balouch’s part. I don’t understand the meaning of what she sings as it is pure undiluted Punjabi, but her husky voice makes me come back to the song every single time.
Tajdar-e-Haram – Atif Aslam
Tajdar-e-Haram is an old Qawwali by the famous Sabri brothers. I have honestly loved Qawwalis, specially the old ones by the likes of Aziz Nazan, Sabri Brothers, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Sajeeda Bano etc. and also make a point to attend the sessions involving Qawwalis by UrduhWallas at Prithvi Theatre here in Bombay. This particular one redone by Atif Aslam is another one that is on my playlist now. The lyrics are deep as with all qawwalis and this is one of the finest offering among all seasons by Coke Studio. The 35 million views corroborate this.
PS – The new season of Coke Studio is special, because it brings to you the last performance by Amjad Sabri who was assassinated in a targeted killing in Pakistan recently. And it also brings back Rachel Viccaji from the 5th season. 🙂