Review – CokeStudio India – Season 3 Episode 3 (Clinton Cerejo)


1. Peer jalani – starts with a very infectious riff and then Manga Khan weaves his magic (with excellent guitars for company). The presence of khartaal and morchang sets the song nicely. It is not a typical ‘studio folk’ so it takes time to leave a mark.Clinton also gets to sing and the singing is precisely what we have come to expect from Clinton. Nothing more. Nothing less. The song belongs to the lovely band and Manga Khan. It also gives a lot of hope to us listeners that such experiments would be encouraged (just like Ram Sampath’s episode got Bhanwari devi) and showcased to people at large. The Morchang lead fusion in between although breaks the pace of the song but is delightful nevertheless.

2. Aisi bani – A song weaved around Saint Kabir’s doha. Clinton Cerejo, Vijay Prakash, Biance Gomes and Sonu Kakkar take turns and at times sing together. Although the start is guitar heavy, the song settles down. Clinton appears to be in the ‘Saathi Salaam’ mode and that is very off putting. The nasal Bianca in between also couldn’t do much to save the song that ends up being a well intentioned attempt that lacked execution. The only good part about the song is Sonu kakkar’s part (she sounds like a much in control Jaspinder narula).

3. KalapiKailash Kher gets to sing this one along with fantastic house band. The pace is reggae like and the words are just plain average. Realistically speaking, many of us (although very few admit it openly) have come to expect very less from Kher off late and although he does very well in this average song, the song falls flat. While a lot of people might like the ending, to me it sounds badly arranged.

4. Pinjra – A refreshing ’80s like sound’ start makes you curious. Sanam puri with his soothing voice effortlessly slips in to this soothing track. The backup vocals play their part perfectly throughout the song and Jonita Gandhi is not bad at all. While the song sounds like an honest effort, I am almost forced to opine that this isn’t a song that is CokeStudio worthy. It’s what you could accomodate in a private album that has nothing to do with CokeStudio. No fusion here!

5. Marghat – Arresting notes on the keyboard followed by a darker arrangement of strings is what unsettles you right from the beginning. Till about 3 minutes (out of 9 minutes running time of the song), you hear a lovely music set and then Siddharth Basrur arrives. The singing is a bit ‘south bombay’ sorts and thats a bummer because a singer like Rahul Ram would have taken the song higher, much higher. Don’t get me wrong. This song is structured and arranged well, just that the vocal seems to get lost in the excellent arrangement.

6. Baina – The second song from the episode that is worth listening again and again after Peer Jalani. Vijay Prakash does very well and creates his space nicely amidst a song that is the best arranged song in the episode. The use of Sitar Veena is not overdone and it fits into the overall arrangement very well. The way the song fades off is sure to give you goosebumps. They should have used this structure on Marghat and it could have really helped the song, in my view.

Overall a disappointing episode for Season 3 and if we go ahead and compare it with the last season’s episode that Kick started the season 2, it is a big let down. Clinton has repeated Vijay prakash, Bianca, Sonu Kakkar and there is an interesting error in judgement that is on display here. Wile Bianca ROCKED mauje naina as it was right up her ally in the season 2, she is out of place in the song she is given this year. On the contrary, Sonu kakkar tried too hard last year but is bang on this time round! We would have liked to hear (Just in case repeating was a must for Clinton) Ustad Sawan Khan but he is missing!

Also, I somehow don’t get the choice of ‘Townie sorts’ singers that Clinton has made. I hope there is much more variety for us to hear via Clinton in the times to come.

My picks – Peer Jalani and Baina

Note – This review is penned by legally downloading all that iTunes has to offer and if the folks at Cokestudio are listening/reading, Please include the musicians and lyricist credits to the itunes?


That’s INR 80 that I could have spent wisely! 😦

CokeStudio at MTV – Season 2, Episode 1


Saathi SalaamUstad (yes I would address him as ‘Ustad’. So what if MTV doesn’t?) Sawan khan shakes and stirs the soul with a captivating start to this composition and Clinton quietly makes space for himself alongside the Ustad and delivers what is easily the most powerful song of this episode. The coordination, music arrangement, lyrics, singing (and everything else which ai don’t know, but makes the song awesome) are on target. Although the ‘song info’ (on the official website) says that this song is all about the tussle that a man (not woman, just man!) goes through daily, the song can be an excellent pick to address terrorism and the fragile state in which we breathe these days. Sorry, but I couldn’t resist bringing it up. Also, must add the video of this song is the only one that stands out for this episode. Very ‘Kewl’ to see Ustad ji’ jamming with the kids and being oh so animated without making a big deal of it and without giving that ‘oh I am too cool for the camera but would love a closeup please’ look. He is just busy in his craft. I wanted to dislike the last 1:42 mins of the song but they do give a wholesome feel to the entire song. The element of finality, a fitting start to the season!. 3 Thumbs up!

Banjara –  Vijay Prakash starts off with a powerful alaap. Not sure whether this lovely verse (By Hazrat Amir khusro) required so many harkats but then, what do I know? ‘Raga illeterate, musically challenged’ that I am. Anyway, the sargam that follows delay the start of the song (but not for long, thankfully). Nandini Srikar comes in and effortlessly does what we know she can. Let down by really bad lyrics (at times, the tune is trying to accomodate extra words I felt). The song starts with the popular verses by (and the MTV site credits) Hazrat Amir Khusro, but am not sure why they forgot crediting Saint Kabir whose lines are sung by Vijay Prakash (jaise til mein tel hai, chamak mein aag, khud ka sai khud mein hai jaag sakey to jaag). The groove is awesome, the song is hollow and fails miserably. The over the top alaaps and pointless (out of sync as well I reckon, especially towards the end) killed the song that could have been a lot more. Trying too hard to prove the classical prowess are we?

Chaddh de  – A song that master salim started with a lot of promise and failed miserably due to an awkward mish mash of lyrics, music and everyone doing their own bit without realising that it should all fit in as a cohesive song. We all have seen our end of ‘performances’ in cokestudio but this song in particular comes across trying too hard to please (awkward alaaps by saleem included).

The site does credit the lyricist and mentions how sad he was at the time of penning these lyrics, but what they forgot to mention was the fact that the lines which Salim repeated till death towards the end and in between belong to Saint kabir. Trying too hard to accomodate ‘Baba bulleh shah, Hazrat Amir khusro and Saint Kabir’ all in one episode are we? Hmmm. Ok. Saddest song of this episode. Easily. The song tires you. Try it.

Madari – beautiful start with a subtle keyboard, guitar and mandolin. Vishal dadlani is light and breezy with heavy lyrics and doesn’t use much modulation to ’emphasize’ the seriousness of the song (Kudos Clinton! For this). Sonu kakkar, the female lead singer of this song tries too hard to sing the lines crom ‘Baba bulleh shah’ with a different twist. It sounds cool once but repeating it again and again killed the momentum of the song. Not k owing where to stop, may be. Anyway, ‘Baba bulleh shah’ isn’t credited by MTV either in the ‘lyrics info’ section. Vishal salvages this song well. Still undecided on the song. Hear it to decide for yourself.

Mauje Naina – Arguably the best song of the episode in terms of originality. Bass and dhol (yes dhol!) create just half impact as the vocals of Bianca Gomes, Shadab and Altamash literally drag you out and leave your senses in the open jungle filled with cheat, gulit and deceit. Cokestudio Pakistan attempted mixing english words here but in my view, they failed miserably because the lyrics were out of context anyway. The beauty of this song, however is the atmosphere it creates. It’s like a theatrical depiction filled with BLACK and BLOOD. The hindi words (and the style of singing) is very ‘naina thag lengey’ sorts. Bianca’s voice is catty and full of inviting undertones. Don’t let the soft start to this song fool you. This is dark and dark is all shades of black and not grey. Highly, totally and completely recommended. Something so original and so beautiful that one is willing to excuse the season 1 completely and call this a beginning and a gutsy one at that! Superb superb superb!

Dungar – beautiful choir singing alongside Ustad Sawan khan! Ok! Now we are talking about cokestudio! though a short track, Clinton manages this very well and gives us a taste of what is it about the word ‘fusion’ that we love. A top class composition. Watch out for the last 53 seconds of the song when Ustad ji and the choir sing together. For me, this is the high point of the song. Simply stunning!

My picks – Saathi Salaam, Mauje naina and Dungar

Much of my grouse with Cokestudio India has subsided due to the above mentioned songs from this episode. If i try hard to find out 3 original songs from last entire season that i liked, I will fail to do so. Also, superb initiative by MTV to air this season on Doordarshan as well. Excellent work by Clinton and now all eyes and ears on the Epsiode 2 that should hit us tomorrow evening! Mighty happy to see Hindi poetry getting it’s due because I fail to understand why the Indian version of CokeStudio should sound like the Pakistan version? Look for poets here…there are way too many who are yet to find their voices on a bigger scale and what better platform than CokeStudio?

Fail to understand why Ustad sawan khan is not mentioned in the artist section of the website, image below.

Also, still no free downloads?

3 Thumbs up for the start!

Aaj Piya Ghar aavengey – Kailash kher

Leave a comment

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!


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




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


Curious case of Coke studio and Byomkesh bakshi


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!

Coke Studio India…the journey begins June 17th


A well established fact remains that music is a universal language that knows no boundaries and has the power to break down barriers and bring people together.
To celebrate and further the cause of love and togetherness through music, Coke has done the world a huge favor by introducing us all to Coke Studio.

Coke studio – the concept (borrowed heavily from someone in Coke Studio team) 🙂

As a concept, Coke Studio is confluence of a diverse number of music genres, both vocal & instrumental, from traditional eastern, to modern western and from regional to folk. Coke Studio aspires to create a unique sound in every country that it exists in, with each version being conceptualized in accordance with the cultural nuances of that nation. There are no two Coke Studio versions that are exactly alike, but there is a common purpose – to reinvent the way music can capture the spirit of a nation, opening hearts and minds, and of course, Happiness!

Bringing alive the magic of live recordings and performances, Coke Studio prides itself on providing a musical platform, which bridges barriers, celebrates diversity, encourages unity and instills a sense of pride. The concept of Coke Studio was first launched in Brazil in 2007 with the express purpose of developing an exceptionally different fusion music genre by creating an ‘encounter’ between two top Brazilian artists coming from completely opposite musical styles. Drawn by the challenge, Brazil’s top 14 artists came together to create 7 episodes that were aired on MTV and the rest is history! You can view some of the performances on this link http://www.youtube.com/user/estudiococacolazero#p/u/2/1Yg-bt0Aslc

Our neighbours, Pakistan have been instrumental in spreading this message across Asia. Coke studio Sessions in Pakistan has taken everyone with sweet surprise and with a dash of melody. (As I publish this, Coke Studio Indonesia is also getting under way but then let me leave it for another post) 🙂

Coke Studio – India

We wanted it to come to India…and here it is! Coke Studio India is all set to celebrate the melodious riot of music and color which India has to offer. The philosophy is to develop, nurture and celebrate the joy of music.

Every episode of Coke Studio will feature one established musician, one up-and-coming artist and one folk legend. Leslie Lewis, is leading the creation of this unique jam session, as mentor & musical director of Coke Studio in India.

We can never have enough of Coke studio…we wanted Coke studio in India and here it is! Expectations are huge and going by the vibes in the studio….I am quite sure this is one event which will bring everyone together to enjoy the purest form of love…Music!

Today will be the last gig of Coke studio and this post is a small dedication to every single person who is a part of Coke studio team, anywhere in the world.

Thank you for this sound of music!

%d bloggers like this: