Sunn Ve Balori – Meesha Shafi kick starts the episode with this song and the way it begins, you would be hard pressed to think if you have heard so much attitude off late in any song? It is not surprising because Omran Shafique is on Guitar with Ustad Tafu (who incidentally, composed the original Noor Jahan’s song of which, this is a re-creation) on Tabla. Omran makes you want to get up and rush to the nearest shop to pick up guitars. Meesha is top class and so are the accompanying musicians. Not a speck goes wrong in this song. This will go down as one of the highlights of CokeStudio Pakistan across all the seasons.
Statutory warning – Wear seat belts, yes ‘belts’ before you hit ‘play’. This song will make you flyyyyyyy!
Nadiya – When you are done with bringing the house down with Sunn ve balori, sit back and relax with a song so soothing it can put you to sleep. Give it up for Jimmy Khan and Rahma Ali for bringing so much freshness to a song that has 50s-60s film era sound woven deep. Extra points to the producers String to set the song the way they have. Rahma impresses a lot, especially because she doesn’t ‘show’ that she is singing an old fashioned song by going nasal or any such drama. Jimmy has an innocent voice and I would wait to hear more from him. Such fluid singing, easy overalls and the beautiful setting reinforces our faith that everything isn’t wrong after all with Season 7. Two thumbs up for Hamza Jaffri on Ukulele and Arsalan Rabbani on Melodica for creating an endearing atmosphere of innocence which we all correlate with the times that have gone by..
Jhoolay lal – What a wonderful start! Rubab, flute and guitar sounds ethereal to say the least and we hear Sajjad ali with Fariha Pervez paying a somewhat differently styled ode to Jhoolay lal. Owing to the lovely start, one does feel that the song will take off in a typical cokestudio pakistan fashion and the chap on Harmonium (Arsalan Rabbani) makes you believe that it will happen. What this song lacks is the failure to do so. You will not be blamed to think that the song was not well prepared by the singers, especially Fariha Pervez. The sound towards the middle (and in all antras) is over produced and borderline cacophonous. This song is brilliant in parts, the sum of it, unfortunately is severely lacking. Considering the previous two songs, this song doesn’t even sound worthy enough to be included in the season itself! Major disappointment.
Dost – The most ‘by the book’ ghazal that Mahotarma Abida Parveen has sung on CokeStudio Pakistan. Yet again, Sajid Ali on flute and Mr. Khanna on tabla are brilliant. Most people of our generation will have bragging rights when we tell the future generations that we lived in the era when Mahotarma Abida Parveen used to perform. Even though the composition is largely ‘ghazal like’, a greedy me was waiting for Mahotarma Abida Parveen to take those powerful alaaps. That said, I still don’t understand how and why my eyes welled up when I saw Abida Parveen raise her hands towards the end of the ghazal. A sign that you, the listener is connected to the ultimate powers that be via Mahotarma Abida Parveen. Like Gulzar Sahab once said (while introducing the album ‘Abida Sings Kabir), आबिदा कबीर की मार्फ़त पुकारती हैं उसे , हम आबिदा की मार्फ़त उसे बुला लेते हैं.
All and all a fantastic episode and kudos to the producers and the entire team for raising the bar with every episode. Hope this doesn’t stop!
Take a bow, CokeStudio Pakistan!