Yes, I gave in to the temptation to write about CokeStudio pakistan, Season 7, Episode 1

First, some background.

If you have time to kill, you can check previous posts in this blog about CokeStudio pakistan. I have been blamed as being a bit ‘too pro pakistan’ when it comes to CokeStudio Pakistan. I have my reasons whenever I say that CokeStudio pakistan > CokeStudio India. Apart from offering us various experiments which married folk with contemporary, recitals, rap and what not, CokeStudio Pakistan has always been all about subtlety.

And then Season 7 happened.

Starting with Sab akho ali ali by Asrar, I was shocked at the outrageous display of clumsiness. In good olden days, we used to see a smile at best being leaked by the musicians/artists even if all they wanted was to jump on the floor and what happened here? Almost everyone (including that irritating drummer) was busy emoting as if they are rooting for the most fake excitement award at the Oscars. Coming down to the song. The guitar parts are excellent and Asrar is just top class, as usual. The thing with CokeStudio Pakistan is that it used to showcase the best song from an artist and take it a notch higher. In this case, well lets just conveniently agree that this isn’t Asrar’s best.

Then Comes Sajjad Ali with Tum Naraaz ho,  a song that is simple and easy to hum, with excellent flute throughout. Kudos for the composition and 5 thumbs down with the over the top emoting by everyone, especially the back up singers! Why am I being nosy about the visuals? In good old days, the videos used to come across slick, well rehearsed and a proof that everyone has worked on their bit to make the song what it is. The visuals, the jumpy overalls of the band at play just disrupts everything! It is not a bad song, just that it isn’t the greatest song choice to be performed at CokeStudio Pakistan stage.

Then we get up close and personal with Niazi Brothers as they give us Lai Beqadraa Nal Yaari, a superbly paced song with everything just at the right place. Somehow, the moment the song starts, you are sure that this is going to be one hell of a song. The arrangement, the flute by Sajid ali and even the over the top drummer behaved himself in the song! Yet again, what lets this song down is the atrocious display of fake excitement, अमर ब्रास बैंड lighting and the ‘low cost’ emoting displayed by the band. Seriously, what on earth is wrong with the back up singers? The back up singers did a fantastic job singing wise in this song without a doubt though.

Probably the best was saved for last. I believe that  God descends wherever a good fusion concert takes place. Not surprisingly, when Abida Parveen and Ustad Raees Khan decided to sit and fuse a beautiful qalaam about the path and journey of a Sufi, heavens stopped and took notice. This is what we remember CokeStudio pakistan for. Goosebumps on every note and a powerful blend of two मुख्तलिफ elements. Here, the pleasing Sitar is aided by the ever so powerful Abida Parveen! In an otherwise blemish free composition, the only thing that irritated was the bad drumming. Not stealing away any credit from the producers, but it would take amazing talent to have legends of this stature and make a bad song. Thumbs up!

All an all an average episode that is severely let down by the over the top theatrics and poor choice of 2 songs out of 4.

When the season 1 started, the producer had no benchmark to go to..and then history was created. With Season 7 starting at this note, I hope it gets better than this as the days go on. It is NOT a T.V. Drama, dear new producers…Music is what sets everything right, so please focus on that,  Will you?