Coke Studio Ep 1: Thank you for 'Larsha Pekhawar Ta'

My favourite tracks from this episode are Charkha Nolakha and Larsha Pekhawar Ta.

Rafay Mahmood May 16, 2012
The first episode of "Coke Studio" season five has lead to an interesting debate amongst its fans. Did the studio do justice to rap with Bohemia’s rendition? Has Hadiqa Kayani come of age? These questions and others have been making the rounds. 

One thing that is glaringly obvious is that an artist's sincerity can be judged from behind the scenes (BTS) clips. For instance, Humayun Khan sounded like a mature artist when he spoke about his experience of completing his education first and then switching to music, that too, at a time when the music landscape of Peshawer was changing.

But Symt displayed a naive and amateur giggling as the band explained their song,
If you are doing "poondi" (checking girls out), these are the lines that come to your mind.


That being said, here are my favourite tracks from episode one.

"Charkha Nolakha": We want more from Qayaas

The clever thing "Coke Studio" did this time was the introduction of young artists, amongst whom Qayaas is undoubtedly the most noticeable. Currently the finest live act in Pakistan, Qayaas, after Karavan, is also perhaps the only band with a decent rock vocalist in the form of Umair Jaswal.


Their combination with Atif Aslam definitely worked out and the popularity of the song is reflective of that. However, the important question is: is this really what you expected of Qayaas? Certainly not.

Frankly, Rohail Hyatt was all over the song, so much so that keeping the previous popular songs of "Coke Studio" in mind,  you could have easily predicted its flow. Kudos to Atif and Umair for pulling off a powerful track well, but as a true Qayaas fan, it sounded pretty hollow to me.

Call me naive but when you have two amazing guitar players like Khurram Waqar and Sarmad Ghafoor, the least you expect is a couple of deadly guitar solos - not the typical Asad Ahmed riffs being played by someone else.

"Larsha Pekhawar Ta": Pashto pop rocks

Having grown up in Quetta, the one tune that I grew up dancing to was the epic “Larsha Pekhawar Ta”.


Many thanks to "Coke Studio" for a funky version of the song. It was truly innovative and the experiment worked beautifully. However, when I shared this song with a friend who lives across the Durand Line, he said it was "totally annoying". His comment was:
It lacks soul and I don’t feel like dancing to it.

He explained that while he was happy that non-Pashtuns were being exposed to Pashto music, he hated that Humayun Khan still let it go knowing that the song lacked the true essence and intensity that inspires one to do “Atan” (Pashto dance). I suppose Humayun may have felt intimidated by the other popular musicians and agreed with whatever they had to offer.

After discussing the song in depth with my friend, I concluded that:

  • Coke Studio has a superficial understanding of Pashto music. Afghanistan is way ahead of us but is still giving it a more western touch.

  • On a musical note, Farhad Humayun as a drummer and Mubasher Admani as a keyboard player are brilliant - no one from the last season is being missed.

Thumbs down for video production

For many, the biggest surprise of the episode was the participation of Bohemia. For me, it was the below average visual content of the show. The overall visual aspect of "Coke Studio" wasn’t as impressive as it usually is.  It seems as if the team is running out of steam in producing the show. Despite the accolades attached to Adnan Malik, so far the visuals seem to be a rather half-hearted attempt visually.


What do you guys think?

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Rafay Mahmood

The author is the Life & Style Editor of The Express Tribune. He tweets as @Rafay_Mahmood

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Omar | 12 years ago | Reply Yep! am a troll for this blog. Read it. This is episode 3 review, the one that premiered a while back
Omar | 12 years ago | Reply and the crazy guy is back with his take on episode 2 as well!!
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