Bringing on the blitz
Coke Studio pushes the technology envelope as the Worldwide Web
resonates with the sessions
Studio sessions have begun and the impact of Season Two is more far
reaching than Season One. After the sessions went on air, the tremors were
felt far and wide on the Worldwide Web. The Coke Studio website had to
close down for some time the day after the show because of heavy traffic
with people trying to view and download songs, wallpapers and other stuff
it provides. The other barometer of the program's success is the official
Facebook fan page they have made.
with over 27,000 fans, it is difficult to believe that just before Coke
Studio aired, they numbered at 4000. When the advertising campaign for the
project started, that number went up to 10,000. And since the first
episode of Coke Studio aired, the numbers have been steadily climbing.
a hundred people join the Coke Studio fan page daily," Selina Rashid
of Lotus PR tells Instep. Selina did backing vocals for Coke Studio Season
One and for the second season, she was handed the job of handling PR for
the comments people leave on the FB page, there is more interesting
activity afoot. One girl has posted a link to a Youtube video of 'Paimona'
by Zeb and Haniya that carries both Urdu and English translations of the
Persian song. That has got fans to comment on the similarities between
Urdu and Persian and informed people that the song is in Farsi and not in
Pushto as some formerly believed it to be.
fan based in Washington DC who is also a gora has taken pains to translate
'Aik Alif', performed by Saeen Zahoor and Noori. He's uploaded the
translated version onto overstream.net and while conversing with other
fans lets on that he only speaks English. He was apparently hypnotized by
'Aik Alif', got a hold of the Bulleh Shah kafi, googled various
translations and got help from various (presumably Pakistani) friends on
line to fill in the blanks.
been bowled over by Atif's version of 'Jalpari', while many think that
though Shafqat Amanat Ali's 'Khamaaj' was good, it wasn't really much of a
change from the original version. Fans have also been bowled over by Jawad
Bashir's rendition of 'Aaj Laetha Naeeo' and there are many eulogies to
Gumby's outstanding drumming on this number. Fans are proud that if India
has film then Pakistan is the 'hub of music'.
the success of the first season of Coke Studio, Rohail Hyatt had said to
Instep: "I don't think that the success of Coke Studio has to do with
the technical brilliance of the show or the concept. I think it's the
reworking of our heritage and culture that people connect to. Coke Studio
is all about Pakistan and the songs we know. The program has been
successful because it strikes a chord within people and they take pride in
the reactions on the Facebook fan page, one can see the accuracy of
Rohail's assessment panning out. If this last week has been about
anything, it is the unexpected Pakistani win against South Africa at 20/20
and people getting into and grooving to Coke Studio. And when you think
about it, the format of Coke Studio is as groundbreaking for music as the
20/20 format was to cricket.
episode telecast on every major television network, umpteen re-runs and
Coke Studio sessions playing on radio, the target audience is huge. The
songs can then be singled out and become content for music channels. Add
to that the fact that each song is uploaded on to the Coke Studio website
and you realise you can view Coke Studio as and when you want online.
People have been posting their favourite numbers on their Facebook
profiles and through this, their friends can view these songs wherever
they are in the world. It would be safe to say that Coke Studio is
possibly the most technology savvy project undertaken in Pakistan so far.
This strategy takes it out of being just another flash in the pan musical
endeavour and disseminates it around the globe. The online record for
Season One of Coke Studio is still there and chances are that new viewers
will go back to the first season too. So far, they haven't launched albums
of Coke Studio, but considering that anyone can download the songs, do
they really need to?
people hear music has changed around the world and it is superb that a
program in Pakistan has kept these changes in mind when structuring a
show. Perhaps the most commendable service Coke Studio is performing is
that it is ensuring a presence of Pakistani music on the internet, which
has so far been abysmal. One wishes that greats like Iqbal Bano, Noor
Jehan, Allan Fakir, Amanat Ali Khan and countless more had the same
virtual platform. Unfortunately, Pakistan Television Network has gems by
all our legends in its massive archives and it seems they are not pushed
about distributing them to a wider audience. One wishes that they would
upload them on to mediums like Youtube. Our legends not only belong to our
nation, they also belong to the world.
Look out for 'Coke Studio and beyond' in Instep tomorrow. Our cover story
this Sunday puts a whole new spin on the show by speaking to the producers
Umber and Rohail Hyatt.