Saturday, May 14, 2011

Coke Studio's back!!

Hello readers! I am really excited today because the next season of Coke Studio starts in a week (next Sunday), so I thought I'd do a little compilation of my favourites from all the last 3 seasons.

What is Coke Studio?
-It's a TV series featuring live music performances by various artists of differing genres collaborating with each other (read up more on Wikipedia here). 

Why should I/we bother to read about it or watch it?
- it's not just any regular music programme! Each performance is something to experience!

What's so special or different about it?
- you get to hear different languages (Urdu, Farsi,Punjabi, Purabi, Sindhi etc etc) - you don't have to know all of them (I don't know any language except Urdu/English and a bit of Farsi - I just check out the English Translation on their website)
- Blend of different musical instruments (western fused with eastern, flutes and guitars, tabla and drums, rabab and the Sagar Veena) - some of these you have never seen or heard before
- lots of Sufi influence (especially lyrics)
- best house band ever!

 In short, it is the best representation of the cultural tapestry that is Pakistan. 

CK reminds us that Music knows no boundaries. So here's my top 15 countdown (tried to limit to 10 but it's impossible):

15- Ramooz-e-Ishq (performed by Abida Parveen) 
language: Urdu
style: Sufi / Qawwali 

14- Dastaan-e-Ishq (performed by Ali Zafar- lyrics so touching that he broke down while singing this song, and they had to upload the rehearsal version) 
language: Punjabi (some Urdu)
style: Sufi / Punjabi folk

13- Sar kiye pahar (performed by Strings- though the original 90's version rocked, this is a mellow version accompanied by steady drum beats in the background)
language: Urdu
style: modern rock fused with Baloch drums

12- Moomal Rano (performed by fakir Juman Shah- note the synchronized strumming of the lute-like instrument of these folk singers)
Language: Sindhi (I don't understand a word of what they are saying, but they are retelling the famed folk story of Moomal and Rano as told by Shah Latif Bhittai in his Shah jo Risalo)
Style: Sindhi folk

11- Aj latha naeeo (performed by Javed Bashir, original track by the Legendary Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the beat of this song was such a hit that it was often played in fashion shows for cat-walk- a classical folk song about pleading the lover to stay a little bit longer)
language: Punjabi 
style: punjabi folk fusion

10- Mori Araj Suno (performed by Tina Sani with Arieb Azhar- a composition of Faiz Ahmed Faiz's poem describing a complaint to God about the condition of humanity on this Earth, and God's short and sharp answer - has some slight Communist undertones)
Language: Punjabi (some Urdu and Purabi dialect usage)
Style: Ghazal-style fused with modern Western

9-Hor vi neevan ho (performed by Noori brothers, along with their mother playing the rare Sagar Veena instrument- simply beautiful rendition)
Language: Punjabi 
Style: modern western with typical Noori-ish singing =)

8- Aicha (Urdu cover of the French-Arabic song by Khaled, this version performed by Amanat Ali- the song tries to keep the same general rhythm and tune, while the lyrics are a bit tweaked to fit into Urdu)
language: Urdu
style: modern pop/rock style

7- Khamaaj (performed by Shafqat Amanat Ali- while the original has been one of my favourites since it came out and when the band Fuzon was still around, I think this version is just as good if not better)
language: Urdu 
style: folk with mellow tunes

6- Nazaar Eyle (performed by Zeb and Haniya - Original song by Baris Manco, the beat of this song is completely foreign and playing it so perfectly was a lot of hardwork)
language: Turkish (I don't understand a single word, but its a folk song)
style: Turkish folk song with some Western fusion

5- Bibi Sanem Janem (performed by Zeb and Haniya- old Farsi/Dari/Tajiki song, often sung on weddings and a famous rendition of this song from Tajikistan radio can be found here. Check out the brilliant Rabab the CK version begins with)
language: Farsi (Dari/Tajiki dialect)
style: Folk with western fusion

4- Na raindee hai (performed by Arieb Azhar- not exactly a 'song' but more of a melodious recital of Baba Bulleh Shah's brilliant Sufi piece. Note the soul-stirring violin that begins this song)
language: Punjabi
style: folk

3- Yaar Daddi (performed by Ali Zafar, original song was made famous by Abida Parveen- this version combines the Seraiki folk with a hint of Spanish beats, also check out the flute following the pattern of the raag towards the end of the song)
language: Seraiki (famed poetry of Baba Ghulam Fareed)
style: Sufi - Folk

2- Paimona (performed by Zeb and Haniya- this song basically made me fall in love with Dari/Farsi music and now I'm a huge fan of Z&H. Check out the rabab playing in the beginning, and Zeb's soulful voice.)
language: Farsi- Dari Dialect (from the "Rubaiyaat" of Omar Khayyam)
style: Afghani folk with a bit of fusion

1- Aik Alif (performed by Noori and Saein Zahoor- what can I say, just brilliant. From the lyrics to the banjo, to the last couple of lines sung by Hamza in his refreshingly different voice- this song is a masterpiece, and as yet No. 1 on my list)
Language: Punjabi (by Baba Bulleh Shah)
style: Punjabi folk with some Western fusion

I hope you enjoyed. I know almost all songs are great (but I had to cut them down to fit into a blog). If you like the Punjabi folk you might also like Alif Allah by Arif Lohar and Meesha Shafi (it was a big hit, but sadly it did not make it into my top 15). Let me know your comments. 
Now I can't wait to see the new season, it'll be awesome, I'm sure! 

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