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Bringing on the blitz in Coke studio

Bringing on the blitz
Coke Studio pushes the technology envelope as the Worldwide Web resonates with the sessions

 Muniba Kamal

The Coke 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. 

Currently 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.

"Over 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 event.

Apart from 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.

Then, one 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 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.

People have 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'.

Analysing 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 owning it."

Looking at 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.

With each 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?

The way 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.
Category: Atif aslam Reviews | Added by: Danoo (2009-07-12)
Views: 9424405 | Tags: Aadeez | Rating: 5.0/1
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