By Mahima Rana
The other day my roommate was playing “Sunny Sunny” on repeat, the entire day. Irritation level at its peak, I turned on my laptop just in time to read about Rohail Hyatt not producing the next season of Coke Studio Pakistan. This made me sad but was also a reminder about the purity of music the show brought into our ‘Yo Yo Honey Singh’ dominated music life. Restoring Sense and sensibility to music, Coke Studio Pakistan is a great escape from the ‘dhichkyaaon doom doom’ songs.
Started in 2008, the journey of Coke Studio Pakistan through the six seasons has been magnificent, thanks to the wonderful Rohail Hyatt, founder of the first Pakistani pop band Vital Signs, along with his wife Umber Hyatt. (Both were the executive producers of the show). The magical fusion of eastern classical, folk, qawwali, bhangra, Sufi and contemporary hip hop, rock and pop music proves that uncorrupted, undiluted music still exists. The show has provided a platform to various artists, renowned as well as upcoming. It collaborates artists from different genres, regions and languages in live-studio recording sessions. Artists like Arif Lohar, Meesha Shafi, Ali Zafar, Atif Aslam, Bohemia, Shafqat Amanat Ali, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and various others have performed in the show.
The complexity of the tunes and tones of musical instruments gives a rich texture to the Pakistani folk as well as the modern sounds. It showcases the richness and purity of Pakistani musical heritage. It is overwhelming to see that the old and original music is kept alive by the modern artists. Looking at Meesha Shafi in a funky avatar singing “jugni”, along with the sufi singer Arif Lohar, is an astounding view, a treat to the ears especially for the young generation. Also, the polarity of a performer is known after he/she has performed on the stage of Coke studio. Listening to Ali Zafar singing “Allah Hu” brings respite from “panghat pe naache madhubala”.
The popularity of the show proves that an ear for true music flourishes in the present times as well. The hypnotic tune of “Chori chori tere naal” is loved as much as “Kamli”. “Yaar Daddi” is played as many times as “Tune mari entriyan”. The soulful “Charkha Nolakha” is sung along as many times as “Balam Pichkari”. Coke Studio infused a throbbing pulse into the aura of folk and classical tunes. It is a refuge from the everyday mundane songs. It’s pure. It’s music. It’s Coke Studio.