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#CokeStudio8 – Episode 7 Review

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Previous Episodes review here – 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

Armaan –  With the powerhouse performance in Khari neem in their bag, It was hardly a surprise to see Siege get another song.  Alycia Dias gave them company this time round though. A resurrection of sorts of their old song, Siege is on the top of their game with this one.  The treatment is what takes the cake apart from Alycia’s powerful yet melodious delivery. This reminded me of good old pop songs of old days which never required a ‘music video’. I won’t be listening to this again and again but if it does appear in the playlist, I won’t skip and that is mainly because of the way antraas are done and that jugaldandi of sorts at about 4:00 mins in the song.

Ajj Din Vehre Wichh  – is a song that is composed beautifully but watching and listening to this you cannot help but feel that Ali Zafar was quite unprepared. The ChaCha Ghalib’s lines in between come off disjointed because Ali reads it out the way bad politicans read their speeches. This is a pity because the song has everything else going for it otherwise. An intimate tune, minimal arrangement and as I said, super lyrics. When the promo for this episode showed Ali Zafar‘s name, I wasn’t particularly thrilled. Not because I don’t like the singer, but I felt having 3 songs from an artist in one season is a bit tiring. I have the same opinion on Atif Aslam in this season. Merely goes on to show that the producers were pandering to ‘clicks’ than ‘variety’. Anyway, Just a thought – Ali Sethi would have sung this better and it would have been his second song of the season. Did not like.

Dil Jaley – I came across Malang party thanks to my music list interactions with someone who I am sure is reading this and smiling. Anyway, for the reasons unknown, I missed ‘making noise’ about them earlier because I simply loved their official version of this song which they came out with about 3 years back or so. Right from the word ‘Go’, the song captures your attention with that addictive guitar riff that transforms into a mellow yet very present loop. To my ears, the first part of the song didn’t sound much different from their original version but for the wonderful backup (watch out for the backup singers towards the end!), but then came the excellent improvisation that gives a blues feel and makes the aggressive song fluid in its character. My pick of the episode…boy we have GOT to hear Malang party more and more! Give us more songs Malangs!

Aaj Jaane ki Zid – I am sure I am in minority (and won’t be surprised if It is just me in entire world who thinks so) but I feel that one of the most embarassing efforts of A.R. Rahman is when he tried to sing ‘Aaj jaane ki zid na karo’. It just didn’t work, even superficially! Here, the songstress tells us why She is Malika-e-ghazal. Farida Khanum. If you have heard her original rendition and if you have heard it growing up, chances are your eyes will well up with this fantastic version. Nothing more to add. Thank you Farida Khanum. Thank you for giving melody to our emotions.

Funny slide before the song says – We would like to thank Farida Khanum saheba for gracing CokeStudio, it should have read We would all like to thank Farida Khanum to grace us all by choosing music.

Yes they have excellently made a slide show of her pictures to play during the song. Still better to take a deviation for a living legend like Farida Khanum  than for  a flunky making a music video about bulleh shah mere ghar aaya kas ke mujhko galey lagaya! Ugh!

Tumko apni kasam jaanejaan…baat itni meri maan lo…

Strings, Thank you for this episode that had 1 bad song, 2 good songs (Malang party and Siege) and one Ghazal which I am incapable of ‘reviewing’

Review – Coke Studio Season 5 Episode 3 – Keep it light!

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The new episode is here! Here is what I feel about this ‘light’ episode.

Nindiya ke paar – Uzair Jaswal starts this song in a light fashion with a lot of ‘first love pangs’ in his voice. The minimalist music arrangement compliments the soft style of singing and before you know Uzair weaves the timeless ‘Tere bin nai lagda dil mera sonia’ in between and takes the song to it’s peak, not before coming back to the ‘Nindiya ke paar’ melodiously. Yet again Zoe and Rachel compliment the song wonderfully well. The song is consistently ‘mellow’ and is very easy on the ears. Instantly liked it.

Aaj Rung hai – Hadiqa Kiani – To me, the song didn’t start on a very confident note. May be you will differ. The music setting (in the beginning) is exactly like her Kamlee song from episode 1, but the similarity ends here. The age old kalaam by Amir khusro ‘ Aaj Rang hai’ has been treated quite differently by Rohail in this because the layers aren’t many and it’s a fairly light on the senses. If you are one of those who like very aggressive rendition of this kalaam you might not like it. Still the ‘echo management’ in the song is just splendid. The song raises the tempo in the last 3 odd minutes with Hadiqa looking very comfortable coupled with an extremely different (And fast paced) music setting. The back up singers- Zoe and Rachel get into the act quite well. Very good effort. May be I won’t play this on and on, but is worth a ‘listen’ for it’s sheer innovative treatment to this timeless Qawwali.

Neray Aah – Rachel Viccaji & Farhad Humayun – The brilliant starting of this song will instantly arrest you. Farhad leaves the drums and gets behind the microphone with the very lovely Rachel Viccaji to sing what’ the first ‘filmi’ song on CokeStudio. You can find the filmi version of this song here. Farhad has sung this earlier as well and you can find his version here. This version is all about raw energy in the studio. Rachel raises the bar high for Farhad to match up which he effortlessly does, giving us an extraordinary song in the process. Brass band, Electric Guitar and Dhols also feature in the song by the way. The song is sung (and arranged) with so much ‘finality’ that you feel surprised on the way one sung can be interpreted. Excellent Rohail Hyatt written all over the song!

This song should be a ‘go to’ guide for the lesser mortals on how to do a ‘filmi’ song if you want to.

School di Kitaab – Hello Bohemia! Rap remains more or less the same. The lyrics, very suggestive. It’s about Bohemia telling how he has  created an industry and how crazy his fans are. Hmmmm. They remember his songs like the way they read books in the school. While in the ‘song review’ section of cokestudio.com.pk they mention that Bohemia wanted kids to go back to books and not just learn his songs. Frankly I liked the song but this message was absent for me in the song. Not a great song, but I liked it!

Taaray – Bilal on his guitar starts the song and you can instantly find out that it’s a positive and confident song. Excellent guitar play and vocally backed as usual Zoe and Rachel, this song just completes the overall light feel of this episode. Motivational lyrics and simple composition will ensure this hits the right chords with those who prefer to keep it light and listen to simple songs.

Rohail Hyatt continues to innovate and the songs of this episode seem to be carefully picked to keep the ‘light’ feel in the mind. The expectations from Coke Studio Pakistan continue to rise and rise and rise! Since I prefer the songs that touch my soul and not ‘light’ songs I wanted more from this episode.

My picks – Neeray aah, Nindiya ke paar and Aaj Rung hai

Do visit – http://www.cokestudio.com.pk for more information, videos and to just check out the awesomeness of Coke Studio, the way it is meant to be!

CokeStudio Season 5, Episode 1 – First impressions

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The cokeStudio Pakistan is back with Season 5!

The episode 1 premiered on YouTube 3 hours back and here are some first impressions of the same..

The House band remains more or less the same – Asad Ahmed on guitar, Babar Ali Khanna on dholak, Javed Iqbal on violin, Kamran ‘Mannu’ Zafar on bass, Omran ‘Momo’ Shafique on guitar, Sikander Mufti on multi-percussions and Rachel Viccaji and Zoe Viccaji on backing vocals. Joining the house band this season are two new talents: Farhad Humayun on drums and Mubashir Admani on keyboards. (No Louis ‘Gumby’ Pinto visible so far)

1. Paise da nasha –  Bohemia – The song kick starts. Yes. kick starts with a lot of attitude. The sort of attitude you associate with underbelly of cities wherein the mornings are dark and nights glow with blinding lights. The song talks about how people are obsessed with money and are in love with being intoxicated all the time. Brilliant music arrangement (and do I also mention the excellent camera movements, India – Please take a note). Superb back up vocals by Rachel and Zoe viccaji. Super like! It might sound like ‘too heavy an interpretation’ but just hear (And if you can see, then see!), when Bohemia raps it appears that the words are liberating him. Excellent touch. First rap song in a long…really long time that won’t leave me for a while. I was ready to tear this song apart. You know with all the ‘image’ of CokeStudio as being a ‘serious’ platform, what was Rohail thinking getting a ‘rapper’ there? Well, I have my answer now and I am convinced.

Good start Rohail!

2. Kamlee – Hadiqa Kiani The first thing that will catch your attention is the echo, excellent echo of Hadiqa’s words in the beginning of the song. For about 3 mins the minimalistic music arrangement and strong Vocals of Hadiqa build up just the right atmosphere, and then the song launches. Not loud (as the title would have you believe). Not in your face. Yes you might argue it sounds a little filmy. There is something about CokeStudio Pakistan which is exceptional! It brings out the best in people and this would arguably be one of the best by Hadiqa. So far. Lastly, since it is one of Baba bulleh shah’s ‘Qalaam’ the song ends with these ever so haunting lines (yet again complimented by a good echo effect).

Parh Parh Ilm Hazaar Kitabaan
Kadee Aprain Aap Noun Perhia Nahein….

3. Tum Kaho – Symt –  Guitars playing with the acoustics which is oh so typical ‘cokestudio Pakistan’ style introduce us to the singer who performs a near jazz style romantic number. 2 mins into the song and I wasn’t impressed. But just then a splendid dialogue between the backup vocal singers and the lead singer took this song to another level. Yes. Not just any other ballad. Funky, romantic and a little ‘filmy’. The surprise pack of this episode. Yes.

4. Charkha Nolakha – Atif and Qayaas start off gently. Mr. Khanna on ‘dholak’ makes his presence felt and accompanied by the guitars and drums, this would have easily been the most complex tune to compose of this episode. This will NOT grow instantly. Quite sure. The song has no ‘hook’ of which we are all so fond of. Watch the video, a little hysterical thanks to the qayaas (who sings alongside Atif), but there is a point the ENTIRE music band starts singing!. See that to know what a riot of melody is all about. BLOWN AWAY! There is palpable intensity with which the sound heads towards it’s end. You will have goosebumps. I repeat, see the video. Just once.

Every now and then a song comes and raises the bar. This song has just done that for Season 5 and we are just at the episode 1! Atif Aslam, Take a bow. Yes.

5. Larsha Pekhawar Ta – The song has a very ‘fused’ starting with guitars overtaking the ‘Rabab’ (that typically dominates a pashtu composition), Hamayoon khan steps forward to give us the happy and probably the ‘instantly likeable’ song of this episode. I know this is a repetition but the backup vocal singers are extremely good. Hear it. It’s ok if you don’t see the video, but if at it, then have a look! It is a happy song. Very Happy and it’s what a pashtu should sound like. Kaho kya khayal hai?

To Sum up

The season 5 of cokestudio has started with a lot of melody and no it hasn’t dimmed the expectations that you associate with CokeStudio, Pakistan. While I cannot wait for Episode 2 already, still I will probably go back to listen to all these songs again and again and again.

About the site – cokestudio.com.pk

There is a ‘song review’ button on cokestudio.com.pk with every song. Click it to know the story behind the songs (including the dark story of Bohemia’s song that explains the passion with which he has performed). Another superb initiative that they have done is to embed the Cokestudio middle east and CokeStudio India website links. Excellent!

No, I won’t mention anything about the ‘upcoming’ CokeStudio at MTV here.

This is the time to revel with melody of CokeStudio, Pakistan. Melody.

No hysterics, no self indulgence, Just melody.

Take note, ye lesser mortals – You know who you are.

Videos here

Aaj Piya Ghar aavengey – Kailash kher

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A song originally featured in one of Kailash Kher’s album came back haunting thanks to Coke studio at MTV. Pasting the youtube  video link. If the song’s introduction didn’t let it out that Kailash kher wrote this at the time his father left this world, we could never have guessed the depth of this song..

This is the stuff Godly creations are made up of…Thank You Kailash kher..Thank you Kailasa…

Coke Studio India hits and misses!

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Did manage to write a bit about it and have posted it here

 

http://moifightclub.wordpress.com/2011/06/18/coke-studio-at-mtv-hits-misses/

 

Please see it to know what I feel about it and do leave your comments

Cheers!

Curious case of Coke studio and Byomkesh bakshi

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Having grown up watching Doordarshan (and bashing it shamelessly!), I remember how we used to sit and wait for Byomkesh Bakshi, (In those times, there were NO repeats. Yes it is true.). Sometimes, they would end Byomkesh bakshi as ‘to be continued….’. My God knows that the entire week used to be so difficult to pass.

Then cable TV happened and the era of  film songs in TV serials and ‘repeats done to death’ arrived.  TV, they said would never be the same again. Sadly, they were right. I never got around having the same excitement about Wednesday because Byomkesh Bakshi was off air and channel flipping was in vogue.

Same can be said about the way music has evolved in ‘our times’ . Remixes came and went. Horrible 80s and dull 90s killed any good sound if it did not relate to films. While off late music in our country and grown out of ‘Bollywood’, there hasn’t been a platform which aims at promoting the spirit of our country. The beauty of varied sounds from different parts of India…The serenity of a pure voice.

Then came Coke Studio.

Music has never been the same. Our neighbors got the taste of it first and boy! haven’t we all lusted to get a drop of it as well! Purists will dismiss it (may be), Idiots will review it but Music addicts (for whom music is not a form of ‘entertainment’ but a pure form of expression) will indulge in it. Can’t wait to experience the legends (some known some unknown) jamming together…can’t wait for the new artists to showcase their talents…Just cant wait.

With Coke studio at MTV hitting the screens today, I can sense the same excitement as I used to when Byomkesh bakshi used to be on air.

How about you?

Coke studio at mtv airs in less than an Hour from NOW!

Na Raindee hai…cokestudio (Pakistan)

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This post is just an effort to cage the lyrics of this beautiful song at a ready reference point. If you haven’t heard it…you must try at least once…here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxH5wQtWZqQ

These lines by Baba Bulleh shah just go on to underline the fact….one should not look OUTSIDE. The truth is within…(Guiding philosophy of Vipassana as well)

Munh aayi baat na rehndi ae

Munh aayi baat na rehndi ae
What’s on the tongue must be said
What’s on the tongue must be said

Jhoott aakhaan kuch bachda ae
I speak untrue and something remains

Sach aakhaan baambar machda ae
I speak the truth and the fire is lit

Donhaan galaan toun ji jachda ae
I am afraid of both outcomes

Jach jach ke jibhaan kehndi ae
Apprehensively my tongue quivers

Munh aayi baat na rehndi ae
Munh aayi baat na rehndi ae
What’s on the tongue must be said

Jiss paya bheit qalandar da
Who puts on the garb of the dervish

Raah khojya apne andar da
Burrows the way into his self

O waasi hai sukh mandar da
Will inherit the temple of peace

Jithay charhdi ae na laindi ae
Where there is no rise or fall

Munh aayi baat na rehndi ae
Munh aayi baat na rehndi ae
What’s on the tongue must be said

(chorus) Na Raindee Ae

Ik laazim baat adab di ae
A point to be noted if I may

Saanu baat maloomi sab di ae
I know the secret of all

Har har vich soorat rabb di ae
Inside each is the face of the lord

Kitte zaahir kitte chhup behndi ae
Flowing apparent somewhere hidden

Munh aayi baat na rehndi ae
Munh aayi baat na rehndi ae
What’s on the tongue must be said

(chorus) Ooooo

Ae tilkan baazi vehrha ae
The world is a slippery place

Thamm thamm ke ttur anhera ae
Tread carefully for ‘tis dark

Varh andar wekho kehrha ae
Go inside see who’s there

Kyun khalkat baahar ddhunddindi ae
Why do the people search outside

Munh aayi baat na rehndi ae
Munh aayi baat na rehndi ae
What’s on the tongue must be said

Bullah shou asaan toun vakh nahi
Bullah, the beloved is not separate from us

Bin shou te dujja kakh nahi
Besides the beloved there is naught

Parr vekhan vaali akh nahi
But the discerning eye is missing

Taain jaan judaiyaan sehndi ae
Therefore life endures separation

Munh aayi baat na rehndi ae
Munh aayi baat na rehndi ae
Munh aayi baat na rehndi ae
Munh aayi baat na rehndi ae
What’s on the tongue must be said

Parh parh ilm kitaabaan da tu naam rakh leya qaazi
Learning through the rote of books you call yourself a scholar

Hath vich parh ke talvaaraan tu naam rakh leya ghaazi
Grasping the sword in your hand you call yourself a warrior

Makke Madinay ghoom aya tu naam rakh leya haaji
Having visited Mecca and Medina you call yourself a pilgrim

Bullah tu ki haasil kita je yaar na rakhya raazi!
Bullah, what have you accomplished if you have not remained true to your friend!

(Translation by Arieb Azhar)

Source – Various websites

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