CokeStudio Season 8 Episode 3 #CokeStudio8

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You can read the Episode 1 review here and Episode 2 review here

Man Amadeh amGul and Atif give us a folk-pop-routine fused song which is brilliant in bits but cacophonous in the rest. I would have loved a slightly subtle arrangement in the middle portions of the song. Absolutely loved the way the song started and last 2:45 mins of the song. Gul is superb and she should get a solo song soon. I guess the producers weren’t confident that an out and out folk song would fly. I won’t hear this song in repeat but am sure if you do, you will like it more times than the times you will dislike it. Still, could have been better, much better. Meanwhile, while we are at it, please see the inspiration behind the song by GooGoosh (what a cute name!)   (Observe how the arrangement follows the singer and not the otherway round). Also, observe how I didn’t know about the song before this song came out from CokeStudio. So thank you again CokeStudio!

Ali Sethi and Nabeel Shaukat had so so much fun and it rubs off on you when you hear and see Umran Langiyaan. The voice of Ali Sethi opens the song with a call that is so melodious you might not believe. The song defines perfection. Be it the subtle flute all throughout Nabeel’s part in the song, the simple yet effective harmonium or be it the impeccable Ali Sethi. I don’t know about you but the song took me to a village with perfectly combed gardens and a pond and then right about then Ali Sethi added the rock/pop touch to the song. Oh yea, I also loved the way Nabeel took to the microphone. A pat on the back of the producers to merge two excellent songs the way they did.

Neun La LeyaJaffer is much more than a keyboard player and that was established in CokeStudio long back when he mesmerised us with Nindiya re. Here, he gives us a hypnotic song. It is a relief to note that the song is not over produced and lends prominence to the voice because Jaffer has a throw that is quite controlled and doesn’t come across as someone trying to prove a point and yes! he keeps it all melodious, very melodious. His voice touches your heart and you can empathise with the helpless emotions of the song. It took a while for Kaavish to do another song for CokeStudio, and it was worth the wait. So worth it!

Rung Jindri – With the name Arif Lohar comes a tank full of expectations that he would rock the video and the song. In a somewhat poignant presentation here, the tiger from punjab keeps the tune slow and focusses more on the lyrics. A song that talks about life and that too in a somewhat ‘pind meets pop’ treatment. The arrangement is fine and the excellent additional backup singers lend a unique character to the sound of the song which reminds you of Chakwal group, only quieter (because they are in background). The strings section in this song elevates the song without dominating the sound. I especially loved the last few minutes of the song. Don’t expect a ‘jugnee ji’, you will get something similar energy wise but with much more meaning. A good genre for Lohar to touch. Watch out for the clinks of the chimta towards the end. Fantastic touch that!

Overall a super episode which wobbled a little bit in Atif-Gul song but just soared higher and higher post that. The effort is clearly there and the results melodious. A special word for the talented as ever, only quieter and more subtle houseband (when compared to the last year) – Kudos! I love the Aahad Nayani now. For me, he was the star in Atif-Gul Song.

Waiting for next episode of CokeStudio Pakistan is how life is being lived these days and for that, I am thankful to everyone associated with the project.

Main Kurbaan!

 

CokeStudio Pakistan Season 8, Episode 2 #CokeStudio8 #Review

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You can read the review of Episode 1 here

The traditional cover of ‘Sakal Bann’ by Rizwan-Muazzam is powerful, solid and melodious. The houseband has played its part very well and they are ably assisted by super backups from the Qawwal group. Muazzam ali khan looks like a man possessed and sounds exactly how the traditional qawwals used to sound. Touching hearts and making you a ‘devotion addict’ is just a normal day at the office for him. We got a hint of that when Rohail introduced him in one of the best songs of Season 6 titled kande utte. Tanveer Tafu’s solo gives you a problem of plenty in the song. There is so much to like that you will not be able to decide what is better? It has all come out as a superb track and big respect to Strings for not getting tempted to add additional layers and elongate the piece. That could have tried some listeners because of heavy character of the composition, singing wise. Two thumbs up! The song is like  a drug for the soul.

Rockstar Ali Zafar has played a spoof on himself and the respect for him has gone up multifold! A song that spoofs rockstars and those who wear gogggggles at night. It’s a lovely mix of multiple languages at their funniest best woven into a song which is fabulous.  The tune, the pace and pretty much everything is spot on. I am not a fan of ‘performance’ by a singer. Anything that a singer does apart from singing is quite pointless, but watch the video to see the brilliance of Ali Zafar. Bollywood seems to have rubbed him off a bit, in a good way for a change. Right from the houseband to the lovely back up vocalists, everyone had a ball doing the song and the product proves it. I won’t be surprised if most of us don’t get the point of the song. We haven’t heard many songs like this anyway. Kudos for the lyrics…‘bebi you are the one but allowed to hain na mujhe chaar!’ – MAAAR DAAALA AZ YAAAR!

There are few things we can never express in words or via music. In ‘chiriya da chamba‘, Suraiya khanum and Hazrat Anwar Maqsood have proved this maxim wrong. A song about a girl remembering her family, childhood and so much more. It is like ‘Kaahe ko byaahi bides’ with a heartbreaking yet beautiful recitation by Maqsood sahab. Suraiya Khanum is wonderfully low key yet doesn’t sing a note wrong. I don’t remember crying so much while listening to a song. Towards the end, I was praying that Maqsood sahab shouldn’t get any more lines, because I was already weeping. I think it will be safe to give away all the awards and kudos to strings for accommodating a song of this genre in this season. Just hear it once and decide for yourself if all the praises to Cokestudio Pakistan are worth it or not?

I have always believed that Umair Jaswal is an excellent talent and needs to be exploited more. He can be gruffy and still hold the song. In Sammi Meri Waar, I feel he wasn’t required. The song is a bollywood-sqe composition with a twist here and a flute there. There is nothing wrong but it could have been better without Umair. The excessive ‘passionate’ singing in a sweet-ish song is about as big a misfit as casting Aashif Sheikh alongside Meryl Streep for a telugu wedding item song. Of course this could be Strings’ attempt to showcase the ‘range’ of Umair but then it doesn’t quite work here. Quratulain Balouch is the only good thing about the song and she makes you believe that she would have been alright without Umair. I wish CokeStudio Pakistan gives her a solo song. Enough of Panchi and sammi meri waar for Quratulain!

Episode 2 adds to whatever Episode 1 served us. Season 8 has so far been admirable and all it does is raise expectations from the remaining episodes. The power qawwals, the self jibing rockstar, heartbreaking recitation with soulful singing or just plain average romantic song, this episode had everything! There is excellent variety and this song set is easily the best combination we have come across in the last 2 seasons.

Thumbs up to Coke, yet again!

CokeStudio Pakistan Season 8, Episode 1 #CokeStudio8

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Aankharli Pharookai – A somewhat familiar ring of Mai dhai’s voice immediately transports you to a desert where a lover is singing and calling out to her beloved who is out somewhere on his camel and that camel advances with a rhythmic bustle. The song is just not about the commanding rendition by Mai Dhai. Karam abbas is just as good and so are Tanveer Tafu on Rubaab (oh that solo towards the end and a quiet presence all throughout) and Arsalan Rabbani on Harmonium. Rajasthani music – you beautiful beautilful thing!

Sayon – Finally Mekaal Hasan Band could make it to the insides of CokeStudio, not that they were missed. Sharmistha Chatterjee is a pleasure to listen to and kudos to the band for choosing the song they did. It is hard to not fall in love with the song barring few overproduced bits but by God does Sharmishtha cover those up or what! As with most of Mekaal Hasan’s work, there is a lot of noise and a constant sense of chaos. In this song, all of it works.

Nabeel Shaukat Ali – Bewajah – Trust CokeStudio Pakistan to give a wonderful pop twist to ghazal gayaki. Ghazal as a genre has been on constant decline post Jagjit Singh’s demise. Nabeel Shaukat ali gives a glorious touch to a ghazal that can be sung without all the accompaniments which are present in this version anyway. Sajid Ali brings the traditional stillness to the composition and it is a pleasure to watch his eyes look up while playing the flute. Not enough good things can be written about the beautiful singing and poignant lyrics. If you have loved someone and lost, keep the tissues nearby, this one will make you cry but you will not complain. Also, the correctness of Nabeel’s rendition tells us he is not a new singer. A pleasure to listen to.

Atif Aslam – Tajdar-e-Haram – Touching classics is always a big risk and kudos to producers to present Atif the way they have done in this timeless classic. With CokeStudio Pakistan, you can almost be certain that classics will not be spoiled (Except for that rare case of Komal trying ‘Lambi Judai’). Be it the humnavas Jamshed Ali Sabri, Naveed Ali Sabri, Mohammad Shan, Zahid Akhtar or that excellent Harmonium by Arsalan Rabbani or the master (Tanveer Tafu) himself on rubaab, there is hardly a note about which you can complain about in the song. Too soon to probably come out with this assumption, but this would remain my favorite for a long time to come and would go right up in the list of favorite songs from this season. CokeStudio Pakistan says this is a tribute to Sabri brothers. Sabri brothers would be proud. Jazak allah!

High point of the episode – Maikashon aao aao, madine chalein. Find it for yourself in one of the songs. When you hear something you have grown up listening to in the bylanes of Old Lucknow and that too done so well, you have no option but to go crazy. Take a bow CokeStudio Pakistan!

One couldn’t have asked a better first episode from Strings who appear to be getting in the groove of there being no groove at all…an ever evolving music wonder that is CokeStudio Pakistan.

The house band is top class and thank you strings for listening to us and stopping those distracting over the top theatrics by the supremely talented backup vocalists. Sara, Rachel, Momin – Kudos!

Thumbs up for Coke!

*Goes away singing – Aao madine chalein, isi mahine chalein aao madine chalein*

Bangistan Music Review and Artist Credits

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Hear it on the B.B.C. Website here

Full credits for the music album (Thank you Sona Mohapatra and the celebrity blogger @Musicaloud)

ALL SONGS COMPOSED by :- Ram Sampath

ALL LYRICS by :- Puneet Krishna

ALBUM ARRANGED & PRODUCED by :- Ram Sampath
PROGRAMMING AND CHIEF MUSICAL ASSISTANT :- Vrashal Chavan
RECORDED and EDITED at OMGROWN STUDIOS by :- Yash Divecha and Nitesh Bisht
MIXED at OMGROWN STUDIOS by :- Yash Divecha
ALBUM EXECUTIVE PRODUCER :- Sona Mohapatra
LINE PRODUCER :- Avneet Gujral
ASSISTANT ENGINEERS :- Nitesh Bisht , Sai Prasad Raman , Harshad Jadhav

Ishq Karenge (Qawwali Version)
Singers – Sona Mohapatra , Abhishek Nailwal , Shadab Faridi
Additional Arrangements – Vrashal Chavan , Emon Goswami, Harmonium – Feroz Shah, Tabla – Hitesh Prasad

Song – Ishq Karenge (EDM Version)
Singers – Sona Mohapatra , Abhishek Nailwal , Shadab Faridi
Arrangements – Aatur Soni, Harmonium – Feroz Shah, Tabla – Hitesh Prasad

Song – Saturday Night
Singers – Aditi Singh Sharma , Benny Dayal , Neeraj Shridhar , Janusz Kruciński
Arrangements – Subhajit Mukherjee, Additional Arrangements – Vrashal Chavan , Yash Divecha, Violin – Jitendra Thakur

Song – Maula
Singers – Rituraj Mohanty , Ram Sampath
Additional Arrangements – Vrashal Chavan, Guitars – Shon Pinto , Prakash Sontakke, Bass – Keshav Iyengar, Tabla – Hitesh Prasad , Shankar Kamble

Song – Hogi Kranti
Singers – Ram Sampath , Abhishek Nailwal
Additional Arrangements – Vrashal Chavan, Charango / Mandolin – Tapas Roy, Violin – Sanchit Choudhary

Song – Ladna Hai
Singers – Suraj Jagan , Abhishek Nailwal
Arrangements – George Joseph , Vrashal Chavan, Guitars – Pratyush Pillai

Song – Meri Zidd
Singers – Siddharth Basrur and Ram Sampath
Additional Arrangements – Harshad Jadhav, Guitars – Pratyush Pillai

Masaan – Music review

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Finally! Music of Masaan is here. Listen to my music review of the same here

You can see the lyrics here

Bajrangi Bhaijaan Music review

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Seriously if they have to just show what bhai can do, they should do us all a favor and not have any music in his films going forward. 

A music album that is a joke in the name of music. Listen to my review here http://www.bbc.com/hindi/multimedia/2015/07/150710_bbcmusicreview_bajrangi_spk.shtml

Guddu Rangeela – Music review

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After Bombay Velvet, Amit trivedi is back with a rather enjoyable album. The sound of the cheeky ‘mata ka email’ is  crude yet adorable largely due to the lyrics. In sooiyan, we will hear Amit Trivedi going the ‘typical bollywood song’ way which is a relief as it shows he is also human! The title song scores over all the songs of the film largely due to lovely singing by Divya kumar and Amit T. Lyrics of the album are a clear winner and that is such a nice thing to happen to an OST. 

You can hear my full review of the album on the B.B.C. website here

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