Stories about Strings

Trevor Noah’s comparison of Imran Khan and Donald Trump was mind-blowingly shallow

Trevor Noah is a funny man. In 2015, he replaced Jon Stewart as the host of The Daily Show – a highly reputable satirical show on politics. Previously, Noah had been very successful as a stand-up comedian, and had reportedly been Stewart’s first choice as the leading host of the show. But when it comes to Pakistan, the two men could not be further apart. Stewart’s Daily Show was known for its wide array of well-researched pieces, and even his comedic bits gave the impression that he knew what he was talking about. He was never all jokes and no ...

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Coke Studio 10: A season of tributes that is too star-studded to be true?

You cannot make everyone happy. And nowhere does this apply more fittingly than to every offering of Pakistan’s musical opus: Coke Studio. The show, a success story like no other, has put Pakistan on the global culture map, but continues to divide opinions roaringly, more so of late. If the show plays it safe with covers, it’s unoriginal; if it delves into too much innovation, it becomes another Nescafe Basement. Navigating through the public complaints doesn’t always seem smooth for this show that has single-handedly rejuvenated Pakistan’s musical scene. With the line-up for the latest season having just been released, the furore is already upon us. For ...

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Why Nabeel Ali’s ‘Bewajah’ is Coke Studio’s best production so far

Coke Studio is by far one of the best creations of the Pakistani music industry till date. Although the show is on its eighth season, each episode still manages to bring a whole new flavour for the masses to enjoy. It’s too early to state the best song of the season, but so far I can certainly say that Bewajah has captivated me in undefined ways. Babar Shakeel Hashmi has penned down the most heartfelt lyrics, and each verse holds its own impact.  “Baat e dil na badha bewajah” (Heart, don’t prolong the matter without any reason) This one line somehow manages to hit ...

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Best Independence Day gift ever: Sohni Dharti by Coke Studio

Let me declare firstly, that I’m no music critic. But Coke Studio’s latest rendition of Sohni Dharti has made me so proud, that I’m compelled to chatter about it. The reason behind the song’s success is simply that it nailed all the components of a hit! Firstly, the occasion it catered to was Independence Day. Coke Studio celebrates diverse musical talent; has made a significant presence in the international music scene, and thus gave back to the country, on its birthday. Secondly, the song Sohni Dharti, originally sung by Shehnaz Begum, is a milli naghma (national song) every child and adult has been singing since childhood. So ...

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To the Pakistan cricket team: Baby, you’re a firework!

Never in my life have I quoted a Katy Perry song. Never. Until today. Why? Because Saeed Ajmal mentioned a patakha. And because I’m really, really cheesy. But so are you. We all are. Everyone who has lived and loved Pakistan has grown up in hyperbole, the pink-eyed (I’m referring to gulaabi aankhein) optimism of love songs, the ministrations of our mothers, soap operas that would make Swiss cheese feel impotent and, of course, World Cup songs that companies and people happen to come up with that contain more sugar than the actual product being advertised. I do, however, try very hard not ...

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The excruciating experience of watching Pakistan bowl

As I write this, Pakistan has just conceded 369 runs against the New Zealand batting side. Maybe this would not be so hard to take if I had not grown up watching legends like Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar. The current state of our fast-bowling makes the heart grow even fonder of Mohammad Sami. Let that sink in, Mohammad Sami. A man who once bowled the longest over in ODI with 17 balls, including seven wides and four no-balls. I will even go to the extent of saying Ataur Rehman was a better bowler than ...

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#CokeStudio7 Episode 2: An array of ‘could have been’ moments

Coke Studio gives us another episode filled with people who are worthy of being called ‘musicians’. However, there were some stumbles and bigger fumbles by the producers when it came to handling big names and their songs. Akhtar Chanal, Komal Rizvi and Momin Durrani: Washmallay So how does a Balochi song get hijacked from under the nose of a Balochi folk artist himself, relegating him to a dancing performer of sorts while non-singers like Komal Rizvi and Momin Durrani take top credits for a song when they only contributed to its ruin? Does mere chutzpah maketh a song? Or do we just randomly line up female singers who think of ...

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Coke Studio 7 comes with strings attached

What an opening! The much-awaited Coke Studio season seven begins with the hope of fresh music, sounds, return-to-roots and much more. Strings have teamed up to become the sound producers of a huge franchise even though they have no prior music production experience. It was but expected that, apart from picking all the right people, their overall presentation would be a ‘celebration of strings’, given Bilal Maqsood’s love for the guitar. Episode one fared well and stumbled a little as well, but gave much to celebrate. Ustad Raees Khan and Abida Perveen: Mein Sufi Hoon Who can go wrong placing these two maestros together? It was a joy to see ...

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Concerts in Karachi: Bring back fun to this city!

I was at a Strings concert a few days ago. It was one of those fancy sit down affairs, with hideous white sofas and people taking selfies of each other to upload on social media. Bilal Maqsood began singing “mera bichra yaar” and the LCD screens behind him played a very old video from the 1990s. It was then that it hit me. Suddenly I wasn’t nodding and smiling politely to the music, but in a half built amphitheatre, I was screaming as the crème de la crème of the urban rock phenomena in Pakistan belted out their numbers. Coming up… ...

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German glue, pinching ears and music — Zoe Viccaji’s favourite things

You may not know this about her, but Zoe Viccaji loves to put German glue on her hands and peel it off; she also loves to pinch ears, but her greatest love remains music. At the age of 15, when most of her teenage friends had the high-school blues, Zoe wrote songs for her friends and performed at open mic sessions as a hobby. She joined the college choir and majored in Arts and Sociology; even turned towards advertising for two years post-college, only to return to her first love – music. Born in Kharian to a Parsi father and a ...

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