The music of Pakistan is an amalgamation of diverse elements from different regions – South Asia, Central Asia, Middle East and indeed the influence of contemporary Western music in our increasingly globalised world. Like our food, it is the fusion of these different flavours of sound that make our music so unique and so often a veritable delight for the ears.
Coke Studio since its inception has delved into this rich history and created a unique form of fusion, a fusion that transcends borders and embeds itself in our consciousness with the depth and richness of its harmony.The poetry of Amir Khusro from 700 years ago, blended with contemporary instruments and melodious voices, using the most high-tech modern recording equipment is truly a work of magic. The interplay of elements belonging to different time periods, geographical regions and schools of thought, create an almost surreal soundscape.
Coke Studio, without a doubt has been a pioneer in this work. It has done wonders to the sound of this land and in doing so, is leaving an imprint and an anthology of music for future generations to listen, relish and feel proud of our cultural heritage.The new season of Coke Studio comes with a message of love, togetherness, unity, passion and pride that is exceedingly relevant to the current times. It should be heard, savoured and celebrated.
I recently discovered that this time around Coke Studio will be introducing a new-module, Coke Studio Explorer. This addition to the regular Coke Studio showcases explores and celebrates untapped talent and unheard voices from the vast cultural and musical repertoire of Pakistan. Zohaib Kazi and Ali Hamza, both accomplished musicians in their own right have produced the new season and with Coke Studio Explorer have captured stories of this soundscape in their raw native hue and true essence.
In the Kalash valley they introduce us to a very special duo of Ariana and Amrina, Mangal tells the folklore story of tribal Balochistan and in Muzaffarabad we get to meet Altaf Mir who explores the poetry of Manzoor Ahmad Khan. They possess an unrelenting passion to do something different.There is one particular song which really stands out for me personally, Faqeera. They discovered the incredible pair of brother and sister, Vishnu and Shamu Bai, in the deserts of Sindh.
The rawness, authenticity and depth in Shamu Bai’s voice are a reflection of the rich tapestry of culture and traditions that is represented by the people of the deserts, mountains and plains of Pakistan. Shamu’s voice conveys an acute sense of intimacy which is forceful and emotive and is a true testament to what Coke Studio Explorer has to offer: creating a repertoire of music that is both about dismantling existing notions of what music is and giving birth to something new, something that pushes boundaries; it is both modern and traditional.
Their art and creativity are presented in their native environment, untouched as they are by any formal training or technical musical education. These are natural artists, uninhibited by the trappings of modernism or the constrictions of commercialism. They have a song inside them and they sing it with exuberance for the sheer joy and happiness that it brings to the soul.
Songs produced on this platform often capture the attention of the rest of the world. This is because art everywhere has so many shared characteristics. The music of the world has more similarities than differences. Coke Studio Season 11 has come at the right time to show the world what we have to offer. For me Coke Studio Explorer adds that extra musical thrill. I am sure that Zohaib and Hamza will bring in new songs and introduce untapped new artists from Pakistan.