CokeStudio Season 12, Episode 4, Produced by Rohail Hyatt

Previous episode scribbles here – 1, 2, 3.

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.

23 thoughts on “CokeStudio Season 12, Episode 4, Produced by Rohail Hyatt

  1. rohit I don’t know how and why always notice the same things! That gulo-on bit was what caught my attention too and hurt me! Being the ardent Ali Sethi fan (and I attribute that ‘find’ to you!) I was expecting so much more. It simply didn’t connect with me some how or was it the hangover of haider.. not sure!

      1. The ghazal brought tears to my eyes.I have never seen someone singing each and every word with so much reverence.Im glad not to have heard any other versions except the original one and found him matching up to that level.Got to say no one in present day and age can come closer to the intensity Ali brings to his singing and that too so flawlessly and effortlessly.I think this was by far his best performance.He is an absolute gem.I love how Rohail treated him.
        I had not an inkling of doubt about Sanam so it turned out true. her track is brilliant.The composition sounds like rippling of stream.Didnt hear Bagga though.Dont need to.Contented with the two gems.

  2. I guess Bugga was added to the lineup on purzor farmayesh of the studio because he gave couple of hits in recent seasons hence the forced dar-andazi. Cant imagine Rohail being a fan of screeching vocals. I think he should stick to being a composer which he is quite good at.

  3. I understand fully why Rohail is not changing the formula too much. The commercial aspects of scene in Pakistan is all too important right now. Aima and Bagga pairing is hot and Aima is the IT girl there. But the great thing is he is not over producing songs. Good balance between production and artistry. The nazakat with which Ali Sethi handles another gazal cover is amazing. And I actually discovered Sethi much before he discovered singing when he was a novelist. A great episode and I am more and more liking just listening to the songs and not watching the videos. This season will last a long time unlike the previous 7-11 ones where returning to the songs was a chore (except few in 8)

    1. Yea may be. I would have wanted to investigate why and how Bagga got in, but I have spent enough time on him writing. So that’s that. I know I am labelled as a hardcore Pro Rohail man, but tell me Duke, has Rohail ever over produced? That is hardly a surprise that he is not overproducing. I in fact remember sitting with someone who was at the centre of ‘CokeStudio at MTV’ India, who mentioned ‘Oh Rohail’s sound is too sanitised, it is not a studio sound’. Then they went and gave us that drum dafli dholki torture of CokeStudio at MTV. I love how we agree on ‘except few in 8’ part 🙂 What did you think of Chal raha hoo main?

      1. I was one of them naysayers about season 6 and never understood your reverence about that one. Now after all those years I am actually ashamed to agree that I was so so wrong.. more than 60% of the songs hold up. That was pure music. Pure Rohail..On chal Raha hoon main, I’ll be honest , Umair is the least favourite of the three Jaswal brothers(Check Yasir band Irtassh(Kali Aankhen) .. but this was a very different performance from his usual grunge rock avatar.. Great range he showed. Made me recall Bilal Khan of season 4-5 “Haara nahi hoo mainnnnn” and a little bit of Ali Noor in a good way. On gulon mein rang bhare, may a suggest an instrumental cover by Sajjad Tofu as a great double bill to this amazing cover by Ali Sethi.. check it if u haven’t.

      2. Never knew Sajjad Tafu version. Never. Thank you for wasting your time on this blog. I have benefitted from it and how! I agree, Umair felt a victim to his own myth when he burst into the scene with his grunge vocals. I still feel he is under appreciated in that belter of a song called Charkha Nolakha – cokestudio. Rohail was at his maniac best in that song. I am sure you have heard it. if not, Please abhi suno.

      3. There was rumour about budget cuts and role of management in the selection of the artists for CS 12.Rohail wasnt ready to sign the contract under those conditions.some kind of compromise was reached somehow.I think Shuja especially Bagga are products of that compromise.Shuja’s track was average at best but that of Bagga is a disaster. first song this season i dropped midway.

      4. Shuja was the first disaster i would say. Bagga was pure funny. Am not aware of any rumours because am so far away. I cannot believe Bagga was allowed in. Sorry, he reeks of self love and loudly so. Such duffers wouldn’t be allowed near Rohail’s studio. What a disaster that song is. I love Shuja though, still it felt like even if he has to order a glass of water he would be all too intense.

  4. I have just heard Arijit’s version.I am afraid Rohail and Ali combo has destroyed anyother version of the ghazl for me for good.

    1. Hahahah! There is no comparison. But yes, any version that Ali sings would most likely destroy any other version by a long stretch. Couple that with Rohail Hyatt’s genius and you have a winner. Ali Sethi should sing everything for us. Everything.

  5. Couldnt agree more.Yes.Ali is not human.Nor Rohail.And for this level of devotion for Rohail,my colleagues call me inhuman too…hahhaha

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