Stories about coke studio

Coke Studio Ep 1: Thank you for ‘Larsha Pekhawar Ta’

The first episode of “Coke Studio” season five has lead to an interesting debate amongst its fans. Did the studio do justice to rap with Bohemia’s rendition? Has Hadiqa Kayani come of age? These questions and others have been making the rounds.  One thing that is glaringly obvious is that an artist’s sincerity can be judged from behind the scenes (BTS) clips. For instance, Humayun Khan sounded like a mature artist when he spoke about his experience of completing his education first and then switching to music, that too, at a time when the music landscape of Peshawer was changing. But ...

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Dekha Na Tha: Never seen a cover like this

This has been a tough year for Alamgir .You all must be assuming that it’s all about his double kidney transplant and lack of funds but there seems to be a further complication: the QB and Bilal Khan cover of “Dekha Na Tha”. Let’s get this straight: I haven’t heard such a horrible cover in my life. I first heard about this song from a female friend of mine who was obviously lauding Bilal Khan’s amazing vocal talent (not trying to imply anything here). For a moment, the thought of such a song humbled me too. Two of the newest ...

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How I ended up on Coke Studio

4:00am: Sheraton Hotel, Karachi. I walked out of the hotel lobby with my guitar case and suitcase in hand. I was thinking about the past and an image (comic above) came to mind. In 2008, I was a moody, disillusioned LUMS student who was spending an unhealthy amount of time indoors mostly penning comics and writing song lyrics just as moody and disillusioned as me. Now I was in a hotel bus going towards the airport where I’d catch a flight back to Lahore. I stare out at the dark, empty Karachi roads barely registering the sounds emanating from my headphones. I ...

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Coke Studio India: For true fans of music

I have never seen the Pakistani version of Coke Studio, and had no expectations from the Indian version. What I knew from the promos was that this is a bold attempt from MTV to bring back to its fore what it originally stood for – quality music. It did not disappoint. For all the talk about the comparison of the Indian version with its Pakistani counterpart, I do not think the comparison is fair as both the cultures are diverse and rich and hence, the music emanating from both has a different soul to it. What I loved about Coke Studio ...

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Coke Studio 4, Episode 1: What to expect!

Last summer, the nation’s hopes and dreams were obliterated in a cataclysmic event that shook the very foundations of what it meant to be Pakistani. There were cries and screams of outrage as people took to the streets with their pick-axes and Facebook comments, desperately trying to cope with the crippling grief that, gasp! “Coke Studio 2 was so much better than Coke Studio 3.” The predicted mass suicides were averted only through the joyous brandishing of Arif Lohar’s magic chimta. I think one of the good things to come out of the massive overreaction from last year has been the lack ...

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It’s time for Junoon to make a comeback

There I was one lonely night back in 1999, watching the Zee Cine Awards by myself. Among the Indian celebrities there were a few familiar faces. That night Junoon performed Sayeein to a packed concert hall and I remember dancing in an empty living room with sheer rock and roll joy. Since then, the band has broken up and splintered in to Sufi analyst, confused solo musician and missing-in-action gora. They went from being a small time English language band to the biggest musical phenomenon in the country. Lead singer Ali Azmat has said: “In our first live concert. There were just seven ...

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Noori: Don’t make digs at pop culture

I recently chanced upon a local morning show where Ali Hamza and Ali Noor of the infamous band Noori were the guests. As the simpering hostess struggled under the weight of roughly two kilogrammes of cosmetics and artificial hair, her more composed male co-host raised a topic of actual interest. There have been few mentions of south-eastern pop culture without Munni Badnaam coming up, as it did on this instance. The brothers vehemently declared their dislike for such mainstream, sales-oriented musical productions – contrary to the opinion shared by a majority of heterosexual males. Looking like he had just discovered a piece ...

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Singing through patriarchy with a bit of desi jazz

So, three years too late I have discovered Zeb and Haniya. I discovered them thanks to a friend’s enthusiasm for ‘waii waii’, a term used in their Coke Studio rendition of Paimona Bitte. The ‘waii waii’ women have brought a ‘girls just wanna have fun’ element into Pakistani music. While Paimona was the song that got me hooked, it is their song Chup (Hush) that makes me smile whenever I listen to it. It was different. Pakistani and Indian love songs are usually all about the sacrificing, shy, scared and most importantly, submissive female. Sure, there was Nazia Hassan’s Aap jaisa koi (Someone like ...

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Singing from the heart

There is a story told in traditional musical families in the sub-continent about Tan Sen, a legendary musician from the times of Akbar the great who was one of the nine jewels of the Mughal court. It is said he could cause rain clouds to appear and disappear through the exposition of his raags. The heart does not sing for gold The story goes that one day, after listening to the rapturous music of Tan Sen, Akbar asked him if there was anyone in the empire who could match his musical talents. “There is one, my Lord, who not only matches but indeed surpasses me in music,” answered Tan Sen. “Is it ...

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Dum Ghutku – a class of its own

The chorus verse employed in Arif Lohar’s  Coke Studio rendition of ‘Jugni’ in ‘Alif Allah Chambay di Booty’  conveys simultaneously a sense of ‘suffocation’ and ‘with every breath’ in traditional folk-speak. Something that I, and perhaps many, would never have come to know about had Rohail Hyatt not decided to introduce a platform where the varied strains in Pakistani music could meld to give birth to magic on screen and in sound. Pakistani ‘sufi’ music is a term that generally represents a melting pot of folk, cultural, mystic and religious influences. Perhaps Hyatt’s greatest achievement with Coke Studio is the fact ...

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