Blown away! (finally!)

Now THIS…my dear Single Malt Monkey….is the definition of Coke Studio awesomeness!

Feel free to head-bang your way through this number.

Nationwide opinion seems to be that Coke Studio has been a bit ho hum this season, with the exception of Charkha Naulakha. I mean, the songs have been easy enough on the ear……but we now expect quite a bit more in terms of edginess. ‘Neray Aah’ has delivered on all fronts! I LOVE the way both Farhad and Rachel seem immersed in belting out the lyrics…with such…..feeling! And omg, that girl can scream!

This is seriously good stuff people.

Here is something about the band called ‘Overload’, how they came into being, what set them apart, and what happened to them subsequently.

And watch the ‘behind the scenes’ bit to know what the song means, how they put it together, and how Rachel overcame her issues with pronouncing the Punjabi 🙂

All time favorites-Coke Studio

In the aftermath of the 4th season of Coke Studio, I thought about all the other perfornances we have watched over the last couple of years and decided to compile a short list of my absolute favourites, barring the ones I showcased in a previous post.

These are the ones that immediately sprang to mind.

Josh and Shafqat Amanat Ali (Mahi Ve)

I love the energy of the Montreal-based Josh duo Q and Rup, coupled with Shafqat’s classical input. The original is better, but the Coke Studio version is pretty good too, a lovely mix of bhangra, pop and hip-hop.

Atif Aslam (Mai Ni)

The boy with the golden voice, who gained recognition with the song ‘Aadat’ as the lead singer of Jal….they soon split up in a rather messy, ignominous way.

Mai Ni….the Coke Studio version is haunting, and beautifully sung by Atif.

Arif Lohar and Meesha Shafi (Alif Allah)

Never been a fan of Arif Lohar’s genre of music or his flashy dress sense, but I believe he’s immensely popular in Punjab. This song though, was simply awesome!

Meesha, of Overload fame, added some extra oomph and pizzazz as Lohar’s sidekick, and this Bahoo-inspired song became an instant HIT throughout the Pakistani music-loving world, much thanks to Coke Studio and Rohail’s vision.

Zeb and Haniya (Bibi Sanam Janem)

These two US-educated girls from Kohat, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa are cousins. Their music is melodious and really easy on the ears, with a folksy, bluesy sound. Stars, these two.

Bibi Sanam Janem is an Afghani song, very catchy tune and eminently sing-able.

Zeb and Haniya (Nazar Eyle)

A Turkish number this time. Literally translated, the song is quite absurd, but mesmerising if you have no clue what it means…

Beautifully sung by Zeb.

Meesha Shafi (Chori chori)

Model/singer, Meesha was catapulted to fame in this season of Coke Studio, first with her duet with Arif Lohar (see above) and then with this soulful, trance-like rendition of a song originally sung by the renowned Reshma…

What do you think? Got any favorites you think I should include in this list?

My Top 5 from Coke Studio Season 4….so far.

Season 4 of Coke Studio is proving to be as much fun as the previous one, and I have an urge to share the performances that I REALLY enjoyed. But for the record, I’d just like to say that I love Rohail Hayat. He is quite awesome in my books, and has come a looooong way from his gangly, awkward days as a keyboardist for the Vital Signs.

Junaid Jamshed may be remembered as the lead singer of the most popular, the most phenomenal, the very FIRST pop band in Pakistan, but what the hell has he done to himself??

Sigh.

Rohail on the other hand has forever made his mark on the music scene as the producer of Coke Studio. The others just…faded away.

So yes, Rohail is now my favourite Vital Signs group member. Long may he live. He has succeeded in presenting obscure artists and musicians to us, as well as re-introducing established singers with a fresh sound.

The following videos are not in any order as such, as each one is so very different in terms of genre and calibre. They’re a mix of modern and traditional, and what I like about the ‘traditional’ performances is the way they have been fused with more western instruments and produced a sound that is a wonderful blend of both East and West.

So here goes.

Mizraab

Mizraab is a band I didn’t know anything about until now. This is one of the songs from the first episode I think, I can’t remember for sure, but it doesn’t matter. It got stuck in my head for some reason, so it must be good. Hope you enjoy it too. (you can stop watching when it gets too dramatic towards the end)

The lead singer, Faraz, is great with that guitar. And Rachel and Zoe add a nice touch with their voices to accompany Faraz’s singing.

Sanam Marvi

I admit I didn’t much like Sanam Marvi at first. She was introduced in the last season I think, and at the risk of incurring the wrath of Abida Parveen lovers, Sanam Marvi sounded a bit too much like a young version of her for me to like her. (Never been much of an Abida Parveen fan)

But she has grown on me since then, perhaps because of the glimpses we get of her humble personality, and earnestness. She once said, ‘Agar mujh mein mosiqi na hoti, tou shayed mai bhi na hoti.’  (if I had no music in me, I wouldn’t exist)

She sings  Sufi ‘kalaam’ (verses) with verve, passion and sensitivity. I think I REALLY like her very much now.

This is her singing ‘Ith Naheen’ by Baba Bulleh Shah. It means, if not here, then nowhere.

Ataullah Khan Isakhelvi

Isakhelvi needs absolutely no introduction. He is a phenomenon. I think Rohail must be over the moon with joy that he managed to rope him in!

For those who know nothing about him though, Ataullah Khan Isakhelvi, or Khan saheb as he is known on the sets of Coke Studio is a Punjabi folk singer, crooning songs of love in his instantly recognisable gritty voice. There’s something about it and his songs that I find incredibly sexy.

This is the Coke Studio version of a song from a Punjabi movie, very romantic. ‘Pyar Nal na sahi, ghussay naal vekh liya kar…beemaaraan noo shifa mil jaandi ay’, which means, literally, ‘look at me with anger, if not love…that would be enough….this sick person would be cured’ 🙂

But first, a peek at what goes on behind the scenes…..(love the deference with which Rohail speaks to Isakhelvi, and the various artists goofing off with each other)  🙂

Fareed Ayaz and Abu Muhammad

I don’t even know if this is classical or if it’s qawwali, but it’s sixteen and a half minutes of pure entertainment. I’m amazed at how Fareed Ayaz can belt this out with a mouth stuffed with paan! And the body language of the singers, the way they move their hands and seem to put their entire bodies into their performance is just great to watch. I don’t even know what it is they’re singing so passionately about….but I can feel it. And it’s great fun to see the head-bobbing and the smiles on the faces of the guitarists and Gumby the drummer….they just look like they’re enjoying it immensely and that is fun to watch too. I think it’s called synergy. And pure artistry. Fantastic.

Kaavish

Another band I know nothing about, but I just fell in love with the softness of this song. It’s more a lullaby, really. And another song I couldn’t stop singing to myself….

Beautifully rendered. Here’s ‘Nindiya re’….

Hope you enjoyed the various sounds folks. That’s a wrap 🙂

p.s Would love to hear from you and know which songs you enjoyed so far this season….