The cokeStudio Pakistan is back with Season 5!

The episode 1 premiered on YouTube 3 hours back and here are some first impressions of the same..

The House band remains more or less the same – Asad Ahmed on guitar, Babar Ali Khanna on dholak, Javed Iqbal on violin, Kamran ‘Mannu’ Zafar on bass, Omran ‘Momo’ Shafique on guitar, Sikander Mufti on multi-percussions and Rachel Viccaji and Zoe Viccaji on backing vocals. Joining the house band this season are two new talents: Farhad Humayun on drums and Mubashir Admani on keyboards. (No Louis ‘Gumby’ Pinto visible so far)

1. Paise da nasha –  Bohemia – The song kick starts. Yes. kick starts with a lot of attitude. The sort of attitude you associate with underbelly of cities wherein the mornings are dark and nights glow with blinding lights. The song talks about how people are obsessed with money and are in love with being intoxicated all the time. Brilliant music arrangement (and do I also mention the excellent camera movements, India – Please take a note). Superb back up vocals by Rachel and Zoe viccaji. Super like! It might sound like ‘too heavy an interpretation’ but just hear (And if you can see, then see!), when Bohemia raps it appears that the words are liberating him. Excellent touch. First rap song in a long…really long time that won’t leave me for a while. I was ready to tear this song apart. You know with all the ‘image’ of CokeStudio as being a ‘serious’ platform, what was Rohail thinking getting a ‘rapper’ there? Well, I have my answer now and I am convinced.

Good start Rohail!

2. Kamlee – Hadiqa Kiani The first thing that will catch your attention is the echo, excellent echo of Hadiqa’s words in the beginning of the song. For about 3 mins the minimalistic music arrangement and strong Vocals of Hadiqa build up just the right atmosphere, and then the song launches. Not loud (as the title would have you believe). Not in your face. Yes you might argue it sounds a little filmy. There is something about CokeStudio Pakistan which is exceptional! It brings out the best in people and this would arguably be one of the best by Hadiqa. So far. Lastly, since it is one of Baba bulleh shah’s ‘Qalaam’ the song ends with these ever so haunting lines (yet again complimented by a good echo effect).

Parh Parh Ilm Hazaar Kitabaan
Kadee Aprain Aap Noun Perhia Nahein….

3. Tum Kaho – Symt –  Guitars playing with the acoustics which is oh so typical ‘cokestudio Pakistan’ style introduce us to the singer who performs a near jazz style romantic number. 2 mins into the song and I wasn’t impressed. But just then a splendid dialogue between the backup vocal singers and the lead singer took this song to another level. Yes. Not just any other ballad. Funky, romantic and a little ‘filmy’. The surprise pack of this episode. Yes.

4. Charkha Nolakha – Atif and Qayaas start off gently. Mr. Khanna on ‘dholak’ makes his presence felt and accompanied by the guitars and drums, this would have easily been the most complex tune to compose of this episode. This will NOT grow instantly. Quite sure. The song has no ‘hook’ of which we are all so fond of. Watch the video, a little hysterical thanks to the qayaas (who sings alongside Atif), but there is a point the ENTIRE music band starts singing!. See that to know what a riot of melody is all about. BLOWN AWAY! There is palpable intensity with which the sound heads towards it’s end. You will have goosebumps. I repeat, see the video. Just once.

Every now and then a song comes and raises the bar. This song has just done that for Season 5 and we are just at the episode 1! Atif Aslam, Take a bow. Yes.

5. Larsha Pekhawar Ta – The song has a very ‘fused’ starting with guitars overtaking the ‘Rabab’ (that typically dominates a pashtu composition), Hamayoon khan steps forward to give us the happy and probably the ‘instantly likeable’ song of this episode. I know this is a repetition but the backup vocal singers are extremely good. Hear it. It’s ok if you don’t see the video, but if at it, then have a look! It is a happy song. Very Happy and it’s what a pashtu should sound like. Kaho kya khayal hai?

To Sum up

The season 5 of cokestudio has started with a lot of melody and no it hasn’t dimmed the expectations that you associate with CokeStudio, Pakistan. While I cannot wait for Episode 2 already, still I will probably go back to listen to all these songs again and again and again.

About the site –

There is a ‘song review’ button on with every song. Click it to know the story behind the songs (including the dark story of Bohemia’s song that explains the passion with which he has performed). Another superb initiative that they have done is to embed the Cokestudio middle east and CokeStudio India website links. Excellent!

No, I won’t mention anything about the ‘upcoming’ CokeStudio at MTV here.

This is the time to revel with melody of CokeStudio, Pakistan. Melody.

No hysterics, no self indulgence, Just melody.

Take note, ye lesser mortals – You know who you are.

Videos here