Dhola – Sahir ali bagna + Aima Baig kickstart this and Bagga literally kickstarts it. There are few songs which could get an honour of being called an audio meme, this one and especially Bagga in this, would steal those honours forever. He is perennially high-pitched and to the point of irritation. Aima on the other hand is a delight, mostly. My pick (if I have to), would be the lovely back ups and the super arrangement of the song. This sounded like a bad bollywood song and really that is alarming. I am not sure how Rohail granted this song and one of two artists in this song to come to the Studio. Hearing Bagga in this song felt like I have been mugged. Without him, the song would have been better. and. hearable.
Hairaan Hua – There is no two ways about it that Sanam Marvi’s throw, command and melodious execution are exactly like Mahotarma Abida Parveen’s. She shines in this song and has an excellent studio set for company. I liked the percussion progression in the first half of the song and towards the end, everything peaks and peak it does! One of the finest performances by Sanam in the studio in terms of exploring a wider arc within one song.
Gulon mein rang – Without a doubt, the highpoint of the episode. Ali Sethi hugs the poetry and sings with a hurt, depth and honesty that has been missing in the present era. I especially loved the way he emphasised Gulon part. Many a times in the song you can hear him saying it like ‘Gu-loan’, that emphasis, that sincerity of emotion is just unsurpassed by any present day singer, both sides of the border, presently. He is not an assembly line where you can order a set of emotions and voila! you have it. A word about the arrangement and composition. This track, in comparison to other versions of this evergreen ghazal, is a touch quicker and that is just enough for you to not notice it but hum it nevertheless. The stars of the studio, the back up vocalists did a fabulous job by not distracting proceedings in any way. This is a huge plus with Rohail in the studio. Watch most of the videos from Season 7 to Season 11, where the backup vocalists were mostly too loud in expression and looked to be doing their own thing, much to the detriment of the current track. Yes, it is important because CokeStudio is as much a video property, as it is audio. So spare me the frown.
I have been a fan of Ali Sethi from much before when it was ‘cool’ to like him. I can see the arc of Ali Sethi clearly getting wider and I hope it continues to widen. The emphasis and alaaps have embellished this track boundlessly and I am just so happy that we are witnessing one of the most important voices of our times (And IA future), blossom in front of us. Ali should sing everything, everything.
A cracker of an episode where we had great songs and also a shouting match by Sahir Ali Bagga.