Coke Studio Episode 2: Good but not great

Coke Studio season three has a disappointing start with Entity Paradigm (EP) and Zeb and Haniya offering so-so performances. With two decent performances out of five has the studio lost its magic?

Sadaf Fayyaz June 27, 2010
Coke Studio won all our hearts for its unique style of fusion and diversity in music.  But season three is more mind-numbing than outstanding. Episode two, which aired on June 20, featured five tracks of which only two were exceptional.

One example of average performances is EP’s cover of ‘Bolo Bolo’ Although it was nice to see EP performing together again but they did not manage to capture the essence of Sajjad Ali’s “Bolo Bolo” when they performed the beautiful song. The track  came out in early 90’s on the hit album “Babia”  and instantly became one of the most popular songs on the album with the exception  of “Babia”. But the legendary song was sung by EP front man Fawad he could not match the magic of the original.  EP fans should watch out for Chor Macha the band’s music video to be released soon.

Member of EP Ahmed Ali Butt said he realizes that the performance will not be everyone’s cup of tea. “EP has a cult following and fans might object to the fact that EP went soft or tried something bluesy. On the other hand, they might love the fact, so it’s only fair that EP did this for EP. It’s something new and fresh and we took it up as a challenge to do something totally radical. We had fun and hope people will too.”

According to Butt the experience of working on Coke Studio was very challenging and fresh.“EP has always been known for its live performances and energy but this time around we wanted to show a more mature side of the band. CS3 gave us the opportunity” he said. “It was high time that Pakistan experienced something this genuine and of quality where one can safely say that ‘We are here to give the audience a show that they will remember for a long time!’”

While Gumby’s performance is always consistent Amanat Ali disappointed this season. He failed to convey the authentic splendor of the song “Aicha” by Khaled. This beautiful song has been sung in many versions and languages. The French version was performed by Khaled and Faudel, a Malay version with tinges of Arabic titled “Aisha” was by Yasin. It had two cappella versions: one by Penn Masala and the second by Aquabella. Ali’s version has super vocals, but the lyrics of the song don’t sound as strong as the ones of the original “Aicha”. Though, the melody and music is beautiful and catchy.

On to Zeb and Haniya who stole the show in previous seasons. It was refreshing to see Haniya on vocals. The dup performed well but certainly not at the same level. The same goes for Noori. The song “Aik Alif”, with Saeen Zahoor, in the last season was highly ranked. “Tann” is an ordinary song.

The most beautiful performance of the episode was “Moomal Rano” by Fakir Juman Shah. The beauty and richness of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai’s  sufi kalam could be felt deeply in the soul touching music. The fusion was great and the song starts with a traditional folk touch and transforms into something highly mystical in the end.  Moomal Rano is a history of folk stories that took place on the soil of Pakistan. The three famous tragic stories of the literature are Sassi Pannu, Heer Ranjha and Sohni Mahiwal. The story of Momal Rano is an enthralling and historical tale of victorioslove. Seven queens of Sindhi folk lore have been given the status of royalty in “Shah Jo Rasalo”. Moomal is one of those seven queens.  Fakir Juman beautifully maintained the essence of this tale with his soulful voice.

Another beautiful performance was “Naina de Akhay” by duo Rizwan and Muazzam. Although it cannot be compared with the legendary Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. They do say that talent runs in the blood. While  CS fans are a bit disappointed with episode 2  let’s wait for the next episode to be aired on July 4.

Performances to look forward to include: Abida Perveen, Meesha Shafi, Aunty Disco Project, Sanam Marvi, and Tina Sani & Arieb Azhar.

The post was originally published here.
Sadaf Fayyaz A freelance journalist, photographer, blogger and writer's take on life, culture, media and everything else.
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