KARACHI: The fifth episode of Coke Studio 11 features three new songs: Malang, Daastaan-e-Moomal Rano and Dil Hai Pakistani – all of which proved to be very different from each other. With variances in language, instruments and genre, episode five (just about) managed to impress.
1. ‘Malang’ by Sahir Ali Bagga and Aima Baig
Sahir Ali Bagga and Aima Baig’s Malang began with an abrupt but playful introduction comprising of a fusion of the dhol, flute, electric guitar and drums. After the fun orchestral build up, impactful vocals quickly come in, backed with dramatic drumming.
The melody features much variation when it comes to the stanzas and although the chorus is not my cup of tea, it’s not to say that others won’t like it.
Overall, Malang celebrates the power of the differing instruments used within the melody, yet manages to keep the vocals in the spotlight. Nonetheless, the song, for me, lacked excitement and is borderline commercial.
2. ‘Daastaan-e-Moomal Rano’ by The Sketches
This song’s introduction is theatrical, but soothing with the narr (flute) in domination, and slowly transitions into the mellow strumming of the guitar.
Then comes the soulful, Sindhi singing by Saif Samejo from The Sketches, followed by the vocals of a traditional folk singer; encapsulating the tragic tale of Moomal Rano’s love story through the art of Sufi folk.
The limelight is kept on the vocalists throughout the song, but that’s not to say the instrumental backing wasn’t eloquent in its own way. This melody demonstrates a beautiful amalgamation of traditional and modern instruments and forms an orchestration with just the right amount of mellowness so as to enhance the vocals rather than overpower them. Now, that’s an art!
Not one part of the song is the same as the others, except the chorus, – thus keeping one engaged. It ends the same way it began, with the dramatisation of the narr. Daastaan-e-Moomal Rano isn’t just a song. It’s an experience.
3. ‘Dil Hai Pakistani’ by Ali Azmat, Mangal, Darehan and Shayan
Dil Hai Pakistani’s commencement comes as a surprise since it opens with the unique sounds of Nar Sur. The low, cyclic vocals by throat singer Mangal are sure to capture your attention but the nearly three-minute spread of such impactful sounds may prove to be a bit too much. And the backing of dambora really doesn’t help. Less is more, especially in this case.
Once the long introduction comes to an end, the melody features a pause, during which a power-packed formation of drums, electric guitars and various other instruments is pieced. Ali Azmat’s vocals make an appearance at the four-minute mark, mimicking a similar sound and tune to that of Mangal’s. However, they are much more pleasant to the ears and undoubtedly fun.
Azmat really plays with the depths of his voice, providing variations throughout. Although it is quite repetitive, the nature and arrangement of the song does not bore. Moreover, the lyrics are quite relatable.
The bridge sees a shift in tune, demonstrating a more touching melody and softer vocals. Azmat ends Dil Hai Pakistani on a high, with a powerful voice mixed in with a magnificent orchestration of the electric guitar and drums.
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