Why I am disappointed with Coke Studio season 9

Published: October 1, 2016

Dear Coke Studio,

I thank you for your efforts, for giving us some fine music yet again and bringing together the best talent in Pakistan. You are indeed a platform that makes us proud of our music. There are so many reasons why we love you and eagerly await your season each year.

However, despite being a fan of your music, I couldn’t help but feel dissatisfied over the fact that you have completely neglected other provinces and their music in your latest season. Your biased attitude has disgruntled me. And it leaves me as a fan feeling like this gesture was in bad taste.

love Punjabi and Urdu music, but that’s not all. Sindh, Balochistan, K-P and Gilgit Baltistan also have some amazing music archives. They should be given equal importance when it comes to the selection of artists and music for your program. Therefore, you should have included a variety of music from all provinces, like you did in your previous seasons. It would have made you stronger by drawing in an even wider audience than it already has.

I am eager to know why you didn’t include music from other provinces in season nine. I believe you can find good music in languages other than Punjabi. I know Coke Studio acts as a podium for artists to showcase different types of music. Despite the fact that there are already numerous singers that can sing in Punjabi and Urdu, singers who excel in their own language, from different provinces should have been casted to display their core strength. Take Abida Parveen and Sanam Marvi, who are celebrated Sindhi singers. Their Sindhi songs are world-renowned.

Abida Parveen
Photo: Coke Studio

Sanam Marvi
Photo: Coke Studio

Sindhi songs could have been given to the aforementioned singers who would have, as we know, excelled in vocals combined with the incredible music produced by Coke Studio. This is only a minor example of how Coke Studio could have curbed season nine and by no means am I implying that only Sindhi singers should have been given a chance. It goes the same way for singers from other provinces. We have seen Akhtar Chanal Zahri, Gul Panra and The Sketches perform remarkably in previous seasons in Balochi, Pashto, and Sindhi.

Akhtar Chanal Zahri
Photo: Coke Studio

Gul Panra
Photo: Coke Studio

Saif Samejo fromThe Sketches band
Photo: Coke Studio

I am are not ready to accept that you couldn’t find worthy songs or singers that were fluent in other languages. Perhaps, this was the strategy for Coke Studio’s Season 9?

Regardless, all three provinces are famous for their folk music, and have prodigious musicians, but it seemed that they were either neglected or the organisers of Coke Studio did not feel the need to include their music. In a way, you are doing what most major politicians have already done – giving importance to only one province.

Music and art transcend boundaries, but you have disrespected the essence of art by excluding artists who represent other cultures. This attitude goes against its brand image.

I do realise that Coke Studio has its head office in Punjab, but its fans, consumers, and customers are spread all over Pakistan. It’s our responsibility to ensure that some form of feedback is heard because it’s in the process of learning that we all grow.

The purpose of writing this is to highlight this issue: we should embrace our country’s diversity. Furthermore, I sincerely hope that Coke Studio adheres to what it has stood for for many years; maintaining consistent quality along with the inclusion and integration of all provinces of the country. I hope that Coke Studio is more inclusive in the seasons to come.


An unsatisfied fan

Faysal Mustafa Soomro

Faysal Mustafa Soomro

The author is social entrepreneur, founded Go Green PK and working as its president. He tweets as @SoomroFaysal (twitter.com/soomrofaysal)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.