By Fareeha Qayoom

C

oke Studio, season 5 premiered this Sunday (May 13th, 2012). We tuned in at 6:00 PM at Aaj TV.

First of all, I liked the fact that not all channels were showing it at the same time so you could tune-in any time between 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm and get to watch it on some channel or the other despite your basic load shedding schedule! (Excellent bit of thinking or rather timing on part of Coke Studio’s management and deserves applause in its own right!)

This season kicked off with four new names in the music business (at least less known names, for example, I had never heard of them before their Coke Studio premier!) – Bohemia, SYMT, Qayas and Hamayoon Khan. Hadiqa Kiani and Atif Aslam are old hands, however, it was Kiani’s first stint in Coke Studio; by the way, loved Atif Aslam’s Balochi /Pashto inspired costume as well.

atif aslam

Atif Aslam – Coke Studio – season 5

The song line up went something like this:

  • Paisay Da Nasha by Bohemia
  • Tum Kaho by SYMT
  • Kamlee by Hadiqa Kiani
  • Larsha Pekhawar Ta by Hamayoon Khan and
  • Charkha Nolakha by Atif Aslam & Qayaas

Coke Studio has finally arrived as a team (Orchestra). Technically it was a great episode – no jarring notes at all in the music collaborations – the house band (with Asad Ahmed on guitar, Babar Ali Khanna on dholak, Javed Iqbal on violin, Kamran ‘Mannu’ Zafar on bass, Omran ‘Momo’ Shafique on guitar, Sikander Mufti on multi-percussions and two new talents: Farhad Humayun of Overload fame on drums and Mubashir Admani on keyboards), the backup vocalists (Rachel Viccaji and Zoe Viccaji) and  of course, Rohail Hayat all provided great musical support and back up to the vocalists – it’s now up to them (vocalists) to shine and come up with great new material.

Personally I liked the rap song by Bohemia even though as a genre I don’t like rap much. Kiani’s Sufi song had great lyrics, though, I didn’t like the chorus lines with the refrain Kamlee – she could have done better on this bit of the song; Qayass and Aslam’s song was interesting and probably will grow on me the more I listen to it. Khan’s Pashto song was a new twist on a traditional folk-song; (which most of us are familiar with – it used to be one of the hit songs from frontier, now KP when I was a kid and PTV used to feature it a lot on their cultural programs from KP in those days); SMYT’s song was okay too I guess (but for the life of me, I can’t remember what’s it’s about while I write this review! I will have to listen to it all over again!) (Late addition at 7:15 pm: Oh yes, its definitely a light-weight song; now that I listened to it all over again –  The topic is hardly memorable; its apparently full of the band’s favorite pick up lines in their own words!)  – Over all no complaints – I guess, it will be up to audiences’ individual tastes what they like and take away from this episodes’ song line-up.

Overall – Good job in kick starting this season – Here’s still looking at you kid! 😀

***

Friday, July 13, 2012 – Coke Studio Season 5 review

Coke Studio season 5 just concluded.

Overall, a lot of good things happened this season. The house band all fell into place with bang up back up vocalists. This season we saw the debut of Viccaji, Kiani, Mithu, the two Khan’s, SYMT, Chakwal Group, Overload, Bohemia, Qayas and Jaswal on Coke Studio while Aslam, Shafi and Marvi reprised and supported the debutants.

Not that I want to rain on Hayat and Co.’s parade – however, I do have a few negative comments to make as well.

The formula ‘fusion’ idea is becoming a little stale. Yes, you can do covers of great maestro’s and yes, you can introduce innovations to material already done to death before by various groups of people. However, what you can’t do is sound the same each season. The ideas are becoming hackneyed.

Two, the duets need work – the only duets that sounded like duets were Qayas and Aslam’s number (Episode 1) and SYMT and Marvi’s number (Episode 5). The rest had something wrong with them. Overload and Viccaji, Chakwal Group and Shafi, Chakwal Group and Bohemia – all three songs were not duets even though, two separate set of vocalists were singing those songs and should have had distinct roles to play in them with a chorus unifying the theme of the songs in between. Bottom line, it didn’t work.

I think Hayat needs to invite guest composers to the show as well. New blood is required to conduct a few songs.  Doing covers of maestro’s with bits of innovation mixed in or presenting vocalists’ own material in a new way is becoming kind of boring.  I think for progress to be made, Coke Studio needs to move forward and explore some new horizons.

By the way, another show that’s introducing new vocalists and exploring old material is PTV’s ‘Virsa, Heritage Revived’ by Yousaf Salahuddin- they are doing a good job too – my point, now we need a new formula – something more that will take us forward and beyond this point….new music needs to be made as well… get my drift?

By the way, I will post my playlist for Season 5 ASAP…still thinking about it.

***

Charkha Nolakha by Atif Aslam & Qayaas


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Coke Studio – Season 5 Kicks off May 13th with a bang!, 9.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings