Coke Studio @ MTV, Season 3, Episode 3 (Music review) – Clinton Cerejo

Pir jalani
Barmer Boys start off on an odd note and even Clinton’s band seems to be briefly struggling to get everything in sync, but they do, very soon! Three sounds stand out easily – the horn section, featuring Rhys Sebastian, Ramon Ibrahim, Anand Vaity and Agnelo Piccardo, Lindsay D’mello’s drums playing an unusual rhythm and Rais Khan’s morchang. The tune seems complex, but once it gets its groove, it is quite addictive!

Aisi bani
Despite some really good singers at his disposal (Bianca Gomes, Sonu Kakkar and Vijay Prakash, besides Clinton himself), the only thing that stands out in Aisi bani (based on Kabir’s doha, Aisee vani boliye) is the long, continuous phrases as the tune itself is strictly middling. Even the tabla-guitar fusion is very functional!

The first that I noticed here is that a full qawali vocal section was being used like it was a church choir! Their role seemed limited and vastly different from their actual capability. The other is the inconsistent fusion elements – Rajesh Vaidya’s veena did not work with me at all, and the basic tune too hardly seemed engaging. Vijay Prakash does try to infuse a lot of life into this one, however, almost single-handedly, with his excellent singing.

The best song from Clinton’s episode this season! A wonderfully catchy reggae base, Kailash Kher’s dependable vocals and that superb horn section again! Manoj Yadav’s multilingual lyrics stand out too, since it is essentially a touching bidaai song, but set to an unusually funky and lively framework! Kailash’s vocals in the ending seem to emulate the great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, incidentally!

The weakest of all songs from Clinton’s episode! The extended 3+ minute unsettling and eerie extended prelude portends to something powerful, but what Siddharth Basrur follows it up with seems standard Indipop attempt at rock. Tune-wise too, this one doesn’t stick and even the overall sound has just Nyzel D’lima and Warren Mendonsa’s guitar work standing out.

More indipop material! It’s a pity really, because the quality of singing is so good here – Sanam Puri starts and Jonita joins him soon, and stays in a lower pitch. But the tune and arrangements are ad. jingle level (particularly the chorus!).

Compared to the expectations set by the earlier 2 sets (by A R Rahman and Ram Sampath), and even compared to Clinton’s own stellar set in Season 2 (Mauje naina, Madaari, Saathi salaam and Banjaara!), this episode is relatively weak. The effort by all involved is top notch, as usual, but I’d perhaps blame the tunes here that really don’t soar.