Revealed: Here's the artist line-up for 'Coke Studio 9'

Published: June 16, 2016
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‘Coke Studio 9’ lineup includes host of industry heavyweights, both old and new. PHOTO: FILE

‘Coke Studio 9’ lineup includes host of industry heavyweights, both old and new. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: A few months after Coke Studio 8 drew to a close, rumours were rife that producers Strings were mulling a format similar to that of the show’s Indian counterpart — Coke Studio @ MTV.

Weeks later, multiple sources confirmed that the show’s ninth edition would in fact be helmed by not one but six different producers, with Strings likely to assume the role of mentors.

Production for the upcoming season has wrapped up only recently and it was only a matter of time before the line-up was revealed. According to sources close to The Express Tribune, Coke Studio 9 is expected to feature a host of Pakistani musicians, offering a nice mix of both the old and the new. With over 30 artists in the show this year, one can easily say that the upcoming season will be Coke Studio’s grandest outing by far.

Mehwish Hayat to make Coke Studio debut in season 9

As reported earlier, Noori, Jaffer Zaidi, Shuja Haider, Shani Arshad, Shiraz Uppal and Faakhir will take charge as music producers. While the line-up is still subject to change, here’s a scoop on what each producer has to offer.

Noori

No strangers to the platform, rock band Noori are marking their third appearance on the show and the first since Rohail Hyatt’s departure. A member of the show’s production crew stated that the Noori-produced set list features Symt vocalist Haroon Shahid, Qurat-ul-Ain Balouch (QB), Call singer Junaid Khan, Momina Mustehsan and Zeb Bangash. Appearing in almost all their songs, Noori will themselves sing two, with one of them also featuring the mother of duo Ali Noor and Ali Hamza, Noor Zehra, playing the sagar veena. “The brothers [Ali Hamza and Ali Noor] have played the guitar on the songs they have produced and will be seen onscreen,” said a Coke Studio 9 featuring artist, requesting anonymity.

While Haroon will team up with QB, Junaid and Momina will also collaborate for their song. Zeb, on the other hand, is going to sing a solo track. Another featuring artist from Coke Studio 9, requesting anonymity, said, “Audiences would find Noori’s sound very similar to that of Strings from the previous season,” the artist added. The band’s drummer Kami Paul will take charge of the drums for all their tracks.

When approached, Noor refrained from commenting.


Jaffer Zaidi

The show’s long-standing house band member and Kaavish front man Jaffer Zaidi’s line-up includes four Coke Studio veterans — Ali Azmat, Javed Bashir, Sanam Marvi and Saieen Zahoor. Ali Khan of Saathiya fame is the only newcomer in Jaffer’s team.

In an earlier interview with The Express Tribune, Azmat had said, “I have received another call from Coke Studio to do a song for their upcoming season.”

A source said, “Ali Azmat and Javed Bashir are going to be featuring in a song together. The song will start off as a rock number and will lead into a qawwali by Javed Bashir.”

Both Sanam and Zahoor would be making a comeback to the show after a gap of three years. “Javed Bashir and Ali Khan are also going to be singing two solo tracks,” revealed a member of the production team. While Jaffer will play the piano on his tracks, unlike other producers, he will not be singing this season. The producer was not available for a comment.

Shuja Haider

Shuja Haider’s roster of musicians includes Meesha Shafi, Naeem Abbas Rufi, Momina Mustehsan, Umair Jaswal and Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. Talking to The Express Tribune, Shuja had confirmed his participation in the upcoming season. Not willing to divulge details about his line-up or songs, he remarked, “Coke Studio 9 will be a real game-changer for Pakistani music.” While he will be seen playing the keyboard, Shuja will also sing one of his tracks.

Shani Arshad

One can say that Shani Arshad’s is one of the most diverse and star-studded line-ups this season. A heads-up for qawwali enthusiasts — Rahat and Amjad Sabri will sing a qawwali together for the first time ever. To top it off, the legendary Abida Parveen is also part of Shani’s line-up and so is upcoming singer Ali Sethi. Sara Haider would be featuring on a track being sung by a Nescafe Basement-singer and Shani will himself sing a duet with Meesha.

A source close to Shani revealed that the qawwali that has been produced by him was to be initially recorded by Jaffer. But Jaffer’s unavailability resulted in Shani stepping in as producer for the song.

Despite multiple attempts, Shani was not available for a comment.


Shiraz Uppal

Shiraz Uppal recently made headlines when it was revealed that he was the chief architect of season 8’s runaway hit Tajdar-e-Haram. Season 9 would mark Uppal’s debut as both singer and producer. His line-up includes Mehwish Hayat and Allah Tera Shukriya-singer Rafaqat Ali Khan; he will be singing duets alongside both.

On the other hand, Naseebo Lal and Umair Jaswal are also part of the line-up and have reportedly collaborated for a track. Spokesperson and husband of Naseebo Lal confirmed their participation on the show, saying, “We had an excellent time working with Shiraz Uppal sahab and have recorded two songs this season.”

“Two other singers Asif and Danish are also part of Shiraz’s team,” a source close to Shiraz said. While the producer will play the keyboard for his tracks, unlike other producers, he brought his own session players and did not utilise the services of the show’s house band. Shiraz too, was not available for a comment.

Faakhir

Coke Studio 9 also marks Faakhir’s debut on the show as both singer and producer. Artist’s featuring on the tracks produced by him include Zeb, Rahat and Lahore-based singer Damia Farooq. The former Awaz member will also be seen in a song alongside singer Natasha. The producer would also be doubling up as a keyboardist for his songs. He could not be reached for a comment.

Winds of change

As expected, Coke Studio 9 will see a more flexible approach in terms of session musicians and house band members. According to a source, “Most of the producers chose to have their own set of house band members.”

Seasoned Coke Studio guitarists Omran Shafique and Kamran ‘Mannu’ Zafar have played on five and 20 songs, respectively. Imran Akhoond and newcomer Mizmaar-guitarist Kashan Admani make up the rest of the department.

A notable absentee from this season is percussionist Sikandar Mufti. Drummer Ahad Nayani, on the other hand, has played for majority of the songs.

Another house band member to have been replaced is harmonium player Arsalan Ali. Nadeem will take his seat.

Among the backing vocalists, only Rachel Viccaji has managed to retain her position, with Shahab and Sounds of Kolachi-singer Nimra Rafiq replacing Sara and Momin Durrani.

List of Coke Studio 9 featuring artists:

1.  Noor Zehra

2. Haroon (Symt)

3. Qurat-ul-Ain Balouch

4. Junaid Khan (Call)

5. Zeb Bangash

6. Ali Azmat

7. Javed Bashir

8. Sanam Marvi

9. Saieen Zahoor

10. Ali Khan

11. Sara Haider

12. Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan

13. Amjad Sabri

14. Abida Parveen

15. Ali Sethi

16. Naeem Abbas Rufi

17. Momina Mustehsan

18. Damia Farooq

19. Natasha

20. Rafaqat Ali Khan

21. Mehwish Hayat

22. Asif

23. Danish

24. Naseebo Lal

25. Umair Jaswal

26. Meesha Shafi

Published in The Express Tribune, June 17th, 2016.

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Reader Comments (35)

  • Hayat
    Jun 16, 2016 - 9:33PM

    Where are Atif Aslam and Ali Zafar?Recommend

  • Procrastinator
    Jun 16, 2016 - 10:24PM

    Nice to see the return of Zeb after so many seasons… She has been the best and most consistent singer of coke studio!Recommend

  • Danish
    Jun 17, 2016 - 12:16AM

    People like Faakhir crashed their own careers and now they’re going to crash Coke Studio. Recommend

  • Cokie
    Jun 17, 2016 - 12:16AM

    It’s Natasha Khan and not Natasha “Baig” with Fakhir. Recommend

  • Ahmad Durrani
    Jun 17, 2016 - 1:56AM

    There could have been more regional singers representing our ethnic and cultural heritage. Atif Aslam and Ali Zafar and others already have exposure and fans we need more variety and chance for new singers.Recommend

  • Muhammad Usman
    Jun 17, 2016 - 9:15AM

    sheraz upal is genius himself yaar.Recommend

  • Music
    Jun 17, 2016 - 9:34AM

    Naseebo Lal WOW! We have listened to Naseebo Lal during the 15 worst years of Lollywood (1995-2009) in Syed Noor films and Punjabi stage dramas.Great to see her in this show.Coke Studio going Gujraa Veeee!!! :)Recommend

  • ahmad
    Jun 17, 2016 - 10:30AM

    since when is Mehwish Hayat a singer?Recommend

  • Gemini
    Jun 17, 2016 - 10:43AM

    Is this Natasha Khan or Natasha Baig? Recommend

  • vick
    Jun 17, 2016 - 10:46AM

    @cokie

    Natasha baig is one of the most aspiring young performer….Recommend

  • yousaf
    Jun 17, 2016 - 12:08PM

    @ Music

    Mark my words She is going to Rock it. She is amazing singer only that she was not used properly. Recommend

  • Acorn Guts
    Jun 17, 2016 - 12:16PM

    Abida parveen!!Recommend

  • Jun 17, 2016 - 12:46PM

    Strings are no match for the talents of Rohail Hyatt who took this program to the next level. Now its just pedestrian stuff.Recommend

  • Haider
    Jun 17, 2016 - 1:50PM

    wait a second…. Mehwish Hayat? Recommend

  • Jun 17, 2016 - 2:29PM

    Abida Parveen!!! One should ask for nothing else!! :)Recommend

  • umaimah
    Jun 17, 2016 - 2:39PM

    Where is Atif Aslam????? :O :(Recommend

  • Khushalkhan
    Jun 17, 2016 - 3:49PM

    Missing zoheb Hassan. Recommend

  • Khushalkhan
    Jun 17, 2016 - 3:52PM

    Coke studio is a biggest music platform of Pakistan. We want to see zoheb Hassan again in coke studio season 9. Recommend

  • London Banker
    Jun 17, 2016 - 4:01PM

    While most coke studio viewers respect the taste others have, coke studio and its popularity was always because it avoided the very main stream like aatif aslam and ali zafar. Those who want to listen to artists like these two should look elsewhere. Coke studio was never a one stop shop. Recommend

  • Shahbaz khan
    Jun 17, 2016 - 5:10PM

    Congratulations Natasha baig. Recommend

  • Vendetta
    Jun 17, 2016 - 5:17PM

    Congratulations to Natasha Baig =) Yeaeeee Bestiiiiii <3 Recommend

  • Xubair
    Jun 17, 2016 - 5:20PM

    YaY!! can’t wait to see Noori Again :)Recommend

  • Saima
    Jun 17, 2016 - 6:17PM

    Abida Parveen! Thats all I came to know here Recommend

  • Awais
    Jun 17, 2016 - 6:58PM

    Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Amjad Sabri’s jugalbandi will be amazing!Recommend

  • Khan
    Jun 17, 2016 - 10:02PM

    Though I love it that Noori is back but still I feel sad that Jaffer is not singing this season. His voice is pure magic and I was looking forward to his song this season Recommend

  • Pakistani-German
    Jun 17, 2016 - 10:49PM

    Why don’t they take Britney Spears of Pakistan Annie Khalid in Coke Studio? Instead they invite actors like Mehwish Hayat and Ayesha Omar who are extremely careful in their tone.Recommend

  • Wiseash
    Jun 18, 2016 - 12:16AM

    I dont know what our music industry is coming to or doing? where is the new voices with the regional folk voices where is the fusion that Coke studio was known for? Good singers are still waiting for their chance but then again we see noori ali azmat rahat Abida Ji umair jaswal qb etc…. whats happening the youngsters and the old Professionals are still waiting to exhibit their talent for God’s sake please get out out of this name games.Recommend

  • Yasir Chhipa
    Jun 18, 2016 - 1:39AM

    Correction: ali Sethi is not an upcoming singer. He has done couple of his own songs and was a playback singer in one the songs in Manto. He also appeared alongside Nabeel shaukat Ali in last year’s Coke studio.Recommend

  • Diamond
    Jun 18, 2016 - 3:17AM

    Where is Taher Shah?Recommend

  • Mizamil Ihsan
    Jun 19, 2016 - 12:59AM

    Where is Saif Samejo? He should be given one more chance atleast. He is the new rising talent.Recommend

  • Tehseen
    Jun 19, 2016 - 1:30PM

    There is no mulazim hussain and nabeel shaukat ali ……. good to see mam abida parveenRecommend

  • Poet
    Jun 27, 2016 - 10:26PM

    Female line up is not impressive.Where is Hadiqa Kiani,Annie Khalid,Shahida Mini,Komal Rizvi,Humera Arshad???Recommend

  • Nick Arora
    Jul 17, 2016 - 2:41AM

    This season of Pakistani coke Studio would be mesmerizing.
    Even in India, we love this Coke Studio Pakistan.

    NatashaBaig #NaseeboLal #ShirazUppal #AliSethiRecommend

  • Mohsin
    Jul 27, 2016 - 11:38AM

    I missed Ahmed Jahanzeb. He is a complete package and would have been proved better producer. Don’t wanna offend Strings, but sadly they are no match for Rohail Hayat.Recommend

  • amir sohail
    Aug 25, 2016 - 4:31PM

    abida parveen is the best who’s sacred voice touch the heart.Recommend

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