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CokE studio..Musictherapy: The hit parade

Despite all of the sociopolitical and economic odds it faces, art serves not only as a breath of fresh air but also motivates those exposed to it. Recently, episode one of the second season of Coke Studio titled Individuality was aired on private networks across Pakistan, giving audiences a flavour of the music coming out of Pakistans biggest music collaborative venture.

Boasting a formidable ensemble of artistes and musicians; the close-knit team that brings together this project  spearheaded by Rohail Hyatt  includes his wife, Umber �Ma� Hyatt (producer), son Danial Hyatt (animations and visuals) and Zeeshan Parwez (video production) assisted by Anan Malik.

Individuality showcased performances which in essence concluded that music knows no boundaries and is not constrained by language. The collaborative performance between Saieen Zahoor and Noori, and the rendition of Paimona by Zeb and Haniya featuring Peshawar-based Sadiq Sameer on the rubab, were a clear testament of this statement. A total of five performances were aired and here we review each of them:

Aik Alif by Saieen Zahoor & Noori

There seems to be a song, a story and a message embedded in each wrinkle on Saieen Zahoors weathered face. The performance definitely wasnt Noori featuring Saieen (as has been the traditional practice in the past of a pop act featuring a classical/folk act) but the other way around. The collaboration performed Baba Bulleh Shah�s poetry with Saieen Zahoor lending his raw, powerful vocals to sing the opening verse of the song:

Par par aalam fazal hoyan,

Kadi apnray aap noon parya e naen;
Ja ja warda mandar maseetan,
Kadi man apnray wich warya e naen

After a momentary silence we had Ali Hamza playing the banjo while Ali Noor rocked out his vocals, which served as an interlude between Saieens performance and Ali Hamzas deep, soulful rendition of Bulleh�s poetry. This was one of the more uplifting tracks, with innovative arrangement and diverse but harmonious collaboration.
Aj Latha Naeeo by Jawaid Bashir

A classical artiste in his own right, Jawaid Bashir, who is also a member of the Mekaal Hasan Band, brought his powerhouse vocals to the studio with Aj Latha Naeeo. Displaying the virtuosity in his almost overpowering vocals, his performance was very much like what he would do when performing with MHB � show off his talent and skills by a constant and sometimes, repetitive rendition of alaaps and paltein during the song.

The music backing this performance pleasantly complemented the intensity of the vocals without being intrusive or crowding the song with too many things at one time. Definitely one of the better performances in the episode.
Jal Pari by Atif Aslam

I have never been a big Atif Aslam fan. In fact, I have at times found the hype surrounding him nauseating. But I was forced to reconsider that stance after seeing his performance of Jal Pari at the Studio. This fun and soulful version reached out and tugged at heartstrings while he almost effortlessly maneuvered his vocals over the lyrical content of the song  often shifting the mood from soulful to romantic to frivolous, never once threatening to have his voice blast out in his signature style and neither did he over sing the song  keeping it at just the right levels. At least when it comes to Atif, this rendition of Jal Pari definitely made a believer out of me.

Khamaj by Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan
The song will forever be immortalised in the Saqib Malik-directed black and white video of Khamaj showing an unfulfilled, unexpressed, secret love shared between a film-maker and his leading lady.

This version was light, displaying some keyboard work by Jaffer Zaidi. The song was nostalgic at best. Shafqat being an extremely gifted vocalist communicates the emotion dominant in the original version effectively. Having said that, there wasnt a radical change in this version from the original, with Shafqat�s vocals dominating the song more than the music itself. 

Paimona by Zeb and Haniya

This version of Zeb and Haniyas Darri/Persian/Pushto Paimona not only served to mesmerise from the moment Sadiq Sameer began plucking at the rubab strings, but served to haunt us later on as well. At this point, keeping the socio-political conditions of our country in mind, the performance of Paimona was more than just for entertainment. It was symbolic of music originating from a part of our country caught up in conflict and turmoil. It served to reinforce the fact that this part of our culture  which hasnt been projected as much as those indigenous to other areas of the country  is just as much of our collective identity as a nation as is the music that comes on mainstream media in Urdu or Punjabi.

You could almost hear the rubab echoing in the mountains as Sadiq performed the opening solo of the song while everyone watched in absolute silence. Zeb and Haniya also gave a stellar performance, seemingly maintaining the essence of the language while they sang. Compared to the original, this version definitely had more groove, more soul and was one of the best out of the episode.


FIlmed without a live audience, this year the Studio has an air of intimacy about it  among the musicians, how they communicate with each other and how the camera captures them.  Madeeha Syed
Category: Atif aslam Reviews | Added by: Danoo (2009-07-12)
Views: 206571 | Rating: 5.0/1
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