1. Dum dum andarSamantha Edwards prays in the company of good guitars and the feeling of ‘thehraav’ sets in. Just then, Guitars start playing up and change the hitherto slow pace of the song. Sona Mohapatra makes a quiet entry to the song and sings traditional dum dum (More about the song dum dum here by Sona hereself) along with new words from Munna Dhiman. Towards the end of the song, Samantha makes a comeback and what a comeback that is! I would hear the song again for Samantha!

2. KatteyBhanwari devi welcomes you to the song by the power and fluency of her voice that we have come to expect from the singers from the hinterland. Just when you try to settle in the song Hard kaur makes an entry with one of the most hard hitting rap I have ever heard in any song that we have produced in India, so far. It is personal, intimidating and laced with attitude in the right measure. We heard Blaaze doing an excellent job in the previous episode but this rap here surpasses that leaps and bounds. The constant violins lend a sense of finality to the entire composition. A top class composition by all means and we won’t mind hearing a lot more from Bhanwari devi in the days to come.

3. Sundari Komola – A Bangla folk song that features Usari Banerji and Aditi singh sharma. The start is interesting and good amount of rebab Do-tara (played by Tapas Roy) gives the english recital a unique folk flavor. Usari does very well with the simple tune that is at her disposal and gives out a feeling of the sweetness that you associate with little girls singing traditional songs while going to and coming back from school, in groups. The clarinet in the song has a life of it’s own and it goes about charming our senses in the process. Simple arrangement keeps the song very easy on the ears. 2 Thumbs up!

4. Paiyada – The most powerful and moving song of Cokestudio India so far (all seasons put together) comes from Padma Shri Aruna Sairaam in the form of Paiyada. It is a form of poetry that is credited to an old Telugu Poet Kshetrayya. No prizes for guessing what the song is all about. It describes pathos in a way that even for the people like me who are not familiar with the language have a lump in their throat as a result of this song. Ram sampath has collaborated with her in his earlier project (Let’s talk) and at that time she sang the same composition for him. This time however, it is more spaced out and rich (Clarinet, Clarinet,Clarinet!). If there was ever a list of moving performance in Cokestudio (Pakistan, India put together), paiyada would lead that list.

5. Main to Piya se naina lada aayi rey – A somewhat restrained start that transforms quickly into a fast paced tune has Sona Mohapatra enjoying herself behind the microphone. The poetry by Hazrat Amir Khusrau is sweet by default. The treatment is neat, brisk and complex. It must have been challenging for everyone to do this live because from whatever I could make out (and heard from ‘very reliable source’) there was no symmetry of bars and a lot, hell lot of quick counting involved! The tune at times (especially in the antras) is similar to ‘chaap tilak sab cheeni rey mosey naina milaay ke’. That said, the song at 2:10 takes a very interesting turn and Mr. Ram Sampath gets Guitars and Mandolin to weave in the ‘Bhag Dk bose’ hook for us, instrumentally. Unlike me, To the trained and technically aware people, the similarity with dk bose might end with the smilar combo of Mandolin and Guitar, but to me the hook sounded very familiar to DK bose and I am not complaining! An immensely enjoyable song that is a treat to the senses. Hit the repeat already!

6. Aigiri NandiniPadma Shri Aruna Sairam starts on a low note and pays an ode to the ‘Mahishasura mardini’ accompanied by good back up singers and heavy guitars. Ram has weaved this ageless composition with Thaiyya Thaiyya, a part that is performed by Sona on the same lines as this earlier offering from one of her albums. Again the back up vocals in her part are pitch perfect and towards the end, goosebumps are completely normal so don’t go about finding the reason for the same. My major grouse with this song is that it is too short! I would have liked to be longer.

Whatever we have come to associate with Cokestudio (Because of those excellent CokeStudio Pakistan sessions) has been met and exceeded with this episode. Ram Sampath, who stays away from singing here, has presented to us an episode that is rich, vast and varied just like our country.

Now the remaining episodes have another bar to rise up to and I cannot wait!

This year, it looks like CokeStudio India is all about music, music and Music!

Another episode that is Totally recommended!

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