Episode 4

Aamay Bhashaili Rey – Alamgir sahab started this in what is called Dhaka bangla, I am told. A heart breaking and tear inducing request made to the ‘majhi’. Alamgir sahab isn’t new to singing so it was hardly a surprise to see him taking this traditional composition and hugging it out melodiously. Fariha Pervez adds the ‘ful’ to this ‘beauty’ of a song and makes it all so beautiful! Braj bhasha has a certain sweetness to it and Rohail Hyatt has cleverly and mildly arranged Fariha’s parts so that the listener gets engrossed. It’s an absolute delight to watch Fariha call out ‘Saiyyan bina…Saiyyan bina ghar suna’ and Alamgir sahab make a request at the same time to his ‘Majhi’ to lead him safely through to his home. Sheer delight!

Laila o laia – There are some songs which you just know would be awe-F-some right from the first second of the song. This, ladies and gentleman is the same kind of song. Say hello to the ever smiling Rostam Mirlashari as he mesmerizes you with his requests to ‘Laila’ to go with him for sight seeing. Be it the violin, the constant ‘neat’ set of beats or the adorable lyrics, the song is a hoot! The complimenting balochi backups by Master Sheeraz Ali Sabzal Mohammad Ali Osman Baloch and Shaukat Ali are understated yet add to the elasticity of the calls of ‘Laila’ in the song. Just about everything is right about the song. A special word for Mr. Miloš Punišić in the song. Sir, you are just amazing!

Ishq Kinara* – Üsküdar’a Gider Iken – Performed by Sumru Ağıryürüyen and Zoe Viccaji is a peppy example of mixing the ‘inspiring and inspired’ in one total package. The song has a very ‘nomadic’ beat to it and the use of Kanun in the beginning sets everything just right! Will I listen to it again? No. Is the song bad? Hell No! Hear it and make your own opinion.

Mahi Gal*- Asad Abbas croons this traditional composition with consummate ease and catches your attention with the long taan he takes at the start of the song. The arrangement is lucid, the singing flawless. To me, the entire part of Fariha Pervez didn’t make much sense and even though (as per the website) the idea of her part was to raise the mood and tempo of the song, I felt it slowed down the song. Barring that, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the song.

A satisfying episode overall. The song that stand out is the kora part and Asad’s singing from Mahi gal Aamay Bhashaili Rey and Laila o laila and delightfully so!

Episode 5

Miya ki Malhar* – Ayesha Omar, Fariha Pervez, Zara Madani and Rustam Fateh Ali Khan put us on a journey that starts with a drizzle and leads us to a massive downpour of music, stitched in the raga Miya ki Malhar (the rain raga) and performed with Braj ki boli. Ayesha Omar goes a scale up and sounds pleasantly different from her previous offering in the season. This one is no bad either. Zara is pleasant and Rustam sahab gets very little mic-time. In my opinion though, the song belongs to Fariha Pervez who shows ease in the way she sings and delivers one of the happiest song CokeStudio Pakistan has ever presented to us. The arrangement is top class with the welcome flute in between and a lot of artificial thunder. The heavy shredding towards the end might put off some people but then not many people like heavy rains either isn’t it? 2 Thumbs up for this!

Moray Naina* – A song that is composed and sung by Zara herself with a cokestudio twist. This would be the most innovative song of this season arrangement wise. Imaginative beats that are constantly building up the momentum and may lead you to think the song is just about to get started. You can sense the stillness of the song by the superb arrangement and the overall atmosphere is just top class. I am waiting for the people to call this song as ‘indulgent’ thanks to a prolonged spell of fusion towards the last few minutes of the song. Since it’s a completely new sound that Rohail presents us with here, am sure not many would take to the song at the first instant.

Sawaal – Kande – The original rockstar who used to set the stage on fire is back in the song and here Ali Azmat teams up with Muazzam ali khan and his qawwal group to give what can be described as a  ‘powerful’ song. In his previous appearance this season, Ali Azmat took a lighter look at the ‘mechanics’ of going up the ‘success ladder’. In this song though, he tackles the serious question about life and he does it with the intensity that can melt stone. Those long taans he takes are haunting and would surely make you think. The qawwalisque participation by Muazzam ali khan and his qawwals is linked to the part that Ali Azmat sings. Two different songs, both interconnected. That’s fusion, Baby! The level to which Muazzam ali khan takes this song towards the end would have made Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali khan proud, very proud.

Allah Hu* – It would be a criminal waste to have Saieen Zahoori leave the studio without we getting to hear the oldest and the purest call to the almighty in his pious voice. Here, the treatment is very pop like which is not distressing to the ears at all. Abrar ul haq stretches himself to leave a solid imprint on the senses. (Spoiler alert) – Tell me if you don’t get goosebumps at 5:19 when Zahoor sahab swoops in with a call to Bulleh shah. An ordinary version of ‘allah hu’ this is not! Get up, dance because the world is senseless and says anything! A loud cheer to this song!

All and all a delicious episode that gave us the raw power and intensity of thought from Muazzam Ali and Ali Azmat, the call to the almighty by Saieen Zahoor, the meditative state via Zara madani’s Moray naina and torrential rains via Miya ki Malhar.

All the songs with *mark have the back up girls Zoe and Rachel Viccaji in them and quite honestly I have run out of praises for the duo. The character they lend to a song, any song is just unparalleled and they are without a doubt a big strength for the Studio.

As the inevitable Season ending is upon us, the offerings are getting more and more delicious. A typical Rohail Hyatt’s tease strategy but we are not complaining!