When Attaullah Eesakhelvi, Sajjad Ali and Fareed Ayaz with Abu Mohammad Qawal perform in one studio session, the result is a truly awesome musical treat for listeners.
The second episode of “Coke Studio’s” (CS) current season, which featured the above mentioned music stalwarts along with other important contemporary musicians, was undisputedly the best episode in the history of CS. In fact the quality of fusion music produced during this episode takes Pakistani music to the next level. CS’s in-house band deserves special kudos for playing the finest folk tunes of Pakistan with utmost perfection.
Sajjad Ali’s ‘Kir Kir’ is definitely a reason to smile
Be it the very catchy “Chief Sahab” or the heart-warming “Paniyion Mae”, every song by Sajjad Ali has made an important contribution to Pakistan’s pop music. With CS, he brings us yet another masterpiece. “Kir Kir” is an up-tempo and lively modern track, with light-hearted lyrics, featuring a unique jhol on the dholak. The composition might remind you of our old folk tunes like “Bandar road sae keemari chale ye meri ghora ghari”. The lyrics of this song describe Ali’s musical journey; they describe how Sajjad was a naive child who wanted to be a great singer. This particular song must have been very difficult song for the house band members to perform since it is challenging to play such an upbeat and style of country music. During the four minutes of this magical song, all instruments are played in a truly synchronised manner, particularly the dhol and violin. The backing vocalists also did a decent job in the number. Kudos to Sajjad Ali for giving us such a light-hearted yet memorable track.
The melodious ‘Senraan Ra Baairya’
The proof of a strong tune is that one falls in love with it without even understanding a single vocal sung. The powerful melody of “Senraan Re Baairya”, a traditional Rajasthani song sung in the Marwari dialect, corroborates the fact that music is indeed a universal language. This song combines the delicate subtlety of the classical style of thumri, with the contemporary touch of Zoe Viccaji’s vocals, adding a quirky dimension to the traditional composition. Since the start of the song, the listener embarks on a musical journey, traversing through different musical expressions, for instance the touching violin notes. This song proves that Asif Hussain has a great future in music.
Attaullah lights up the studio
Attaullah Eesakhelvi, the man whose poignant voice is the sole companion of many lonely truck drivers navigating the highway, finally makes a debut in “Coke Studio” by offering traditional folk tale of “Sassi Punnoo” blended with the modern performance of the house band members. “Ni Oothan Wal” a great piece of poetry by Bari Nizami, delivered meticulously in Attaullah’s expressive voice, truly makes one empathize with the dilemma of Sassi’s life. Asad Ahmed executes some really cool riffs with the guitar as the song shifts between different phases of the great folk melody. Folk music fans might think that the modern beat did not do justice to Attaullah’s style of singing, but Rohail Hyatt has managed to rebrand a legendary singer for the youth. In fact, since its release, the track has become a raging hit.
‘Nindiya Re’ soothes listeners
Kaavish displayed their song-writing prowess in there album Gunkali. This time they gave another treat to their music fans. “Nindiya Re” is a very mellow and soothing lullaby, with Jaafer Zaidi doing a good job with vocals. Even though there were so many other fantastic acts in this episode, Asad Ahmed’s guitar solo ended up making Kaavish’s performance memorable too.
Revisiting Ameer Khusro
Fusing Qawwali with contemporary instruments is nothing new in the musical world. In fact the superbly brilliant Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was renowned for doing exactly this. “Kangna” was a classical Qawwali delivered in Raag Malkauns. With powerful vocals of Fareed Ayaz and Abu Mohammad, this number was once again a daunting task for the house band members but they managed superbly. With every instrument, ranging from the keyboard to the drums, contributing to an epic musical fusion, this 10-minute musical piece was the most perfect production in “Coke Studio’s” history.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2011.