Saturday October 27, 2018

Coke Studio Pakistan, Season 11 – Milliblog top 10

Posted by Karthik

Season 11 of Coke Studio Pakistan was rather middling and disappointing. It was telling that the 5-episode music travelogue, Coke Studio Explorer, that acted as a prelude to the new season was actually more consistent in quality than the actual season itself. So, I’ve added songs from Coke Studio Explorer too to arrive at my favorite 10 from this year’s season.

It was particularly annoying that the music from Coke Studio Pakistan season 11 was not available on the popular streaming platforms like Apple Music or Saavn. They were exclusively available on YouTube and Vimeo, besides SoundCloud and Patari Music. My top is available as playlists on YouTube and SoundCloud (at the end of this post).

Also, minor quibble – I *really* hated the prelude tune that starts each song on YouTube. Considerably more annoying than any other season’s prelude (which used to be a simple voice-over announcing the season number).

01. Malang: An incredibly ebullient re-imagination of a classic folk song! The singing, by Sahir Ali Bagga and Aima Baig, really lifts the song, as also the splendid music by the house band. The rousing hook, ‘Mahi mera sona sona’ (which used to be ‘Tauba tauba’ in the original folk variants), stays long after the song is over. Here are some of the other, older versions: Sindhi | Pashto

02. Pareek (Coke Studio Explorer): This is from the prelude to the new season of Coke Studio Pakistan, called Coke Studio Explorer! It’s a 5-episode music travelogue where producers Zohaib Kazi and Noori’s Ali Hamza travel to different parts of Pakistan and discover folk music and singers. Pareek, the first song (meaning Let’s Go), is a folk love song that gets a superb electronic backing, in line with Zohaib’s musical sensibilities.

03. Aatish: The banter between Shuja and Aima is the song’s easy highlight. Shuja’s tune places his own part as the softer one in the equation, musically, handing over the more flamboyant and higher notes to Aima… who does a fantastic job!

04. Faqeera (Coke Studio Explorer): Faqeera, featuring the voices of brother-sister duo of Shamu Bai and Vishnu is almost Rajasthani in sound and feel, given its Sindhi folk origin. Absolutely mesmerizing tune, and equally fantastic orchestration that accentuates the folk tune with its electronic sounds, benjo chords and dholak rhythm.

05. Naseebaya (Coke Studio Explorer): Naseebaya, is of Baloch traditional folk origin. The dambora, played by Darehan and Shayan, layered over Mangal’s almost prayer-like tune, creates a hypnotic effect. Add to it the show producers’ electronic sounds – a fantastic fusion!

06. Rasha Mama (Coke Studio Pakistan, Season 11 Episode 2): The best of the 4-song set from episode 2. The song starts with Zarsanga’s, The Queen Of Pashtun Folklore, wonderfully earthy solo. Working on a traditional composition by Ustad Gul Zaman, Khumariyaan, the Pashto music band builds a fantastic new-age sound led by superb synth riff along with Gul Panra’s delightful rendition.

07. Hum Dekhenge (Coke Studio Pakistan, Season 11): After the Explorer series, this is a goosebumps-inducing introduction to the new season! Hum Dekhenge is a protest song, composed by Professor Asrar and made popular by Iqbal Bano’s rendition against General Zia ul-Haq’s military regime and its Islamicisation, in 1985. The song was written by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, a poet who was banned under the Zia ul-Haq regime. Using this song to launch the new season, amidst the general elections in Pakistan, is an intriguingly topical decision! The song, produced by this season’s leads, Zohaib Kazi and Ali Hamza, has a sprawling 70 singers, including the transgender duo Lucky and Naghma, who add to the inclusivity-mantra with ‘Joh mein bhi hoon, woh tum bhi ho’.

08. Jind Mahiya (Coke Studio Pakistan, Season 11, Episode 7): Shuja Haider’s Habibi-spouting Middle Eastern melody has a lovely groove that is very appealing. His singing adds to that effortlessly.

09. Ko Ko Korina (Coke Studio Season 11, Episode 9): Ahad Raza Mir and Momina Mustehsan offer a swinging throwback to the past with Ko Ko Korina. In my view, this is a fantastic cover of the original, beloved Pakistani film song from Armaan (1966), composed by Sohail Rana.

10. Apna Gham (Coke Studio Pakistan, Season 11, Episode 8): A frothy pop melody that, for some reason, sounded more like a Tamil film song to me, in its structure! Bilal’s composition is easy on the ear, and the singing, by Bilal and Mishal Khawaja, props the song very well.

Playlists on YouTube | SoundCloud

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