By Fareeha Qayoom
Coke Studio Season 7 finally debuted this weekend. (Late start because of the “Dharna’s” – Imran Khan’s political protest movement – it was supposed to start on September 7th according to all those billboards but no show for the past two weekends.) Unfortunately, I forgot to check the schedule on line – most of the TV Channels were again tuned on Imran Khan’s Karachi protest – finally, found two channels that were tuned to Coke Studio. Sigh.
The first song I saw was Asrar Shah’s “Ali, Ali” – strong vocals, distinctive sound and the only surprise of the show in the sense that I had never heard him before. Amir Zaki collaborated on the guitar. I am sure the song will grow on me. Not bad for a debut performance.
Niazi Brothers were no surprise. The song was no shocker either – they continued the family tradition, singing Tufail Niazi’s famous hit; effortless, no jarring notes and fun, command performance but hardly something new.
Ustaad Raees Khan and Abida Parveen are again maestros at their game. They made it look easy. It was again a faultless performance. What can you say except great job?
Sajjad Ali sang a slow number “Naraz” from his archive collection – again, no surprises – he’s a great vocalist and his range is known to all.
Bottom line, Season 7, episode one by Strings is an effortless, professional production that is indeed “Sound of the Nation” reinterpreting the traditional musical instruments of Sitar, Dholak, Flute – bringing together surprise collaborations from guest stars and the house band. I have no faults to find, though, the presentation is pretty low-key because it borrows from our musical roots and traditions, therefore, hardly contains any elements of surprise– very smooth job indeed.
This episode reminds me of Sade’s song – smooth operator…! 😀