‘Coke Studio’ Season 4 Episode 3: Great discoveries and wasted talent

Published: June 20, 2011



After taking the audience by storm with Sajjad Ali’s “Kir Kir” and the epic “Kangna” in episode 2, “Coke Studio” returns with a more experimental approach towards music. This episode features some really amazing talent in the form of Mole’s instrumental and yet another young female vocalist, Quratulain Baloch, who is definitely a great addition to Pakistani music.

The house band also enters the classical realm with Ustad Saami in the line-up, but Bilal Khan, who has done a much better job this time around deserves special appreciation. Sanam Marvi had something different to offer but Jal, and especially Goher Mumtaz, proved that they are simply not “Coke Studio” material. Episode 3 of season 4 turned out to be a little boring, but the young talent managed to maintain a fresh sound.

Mole: ‘Baageshri’

Mole is a new addition to “Coke Studio”. Amman Mushtaq, Abdullah Tariq Khan, Bilal Nasir Khan and Faizan Riedinger, along with the two founding members, Ziyad Habib and Danial Hyatt (Rohail’s son), are the members of this band. “Baageshri” is an experimental fusion track where the band has utilised modern tools of technology, alongside eastern and western instruments, to achieve a unique sound. As a whole, the band sounded great and with the support of the house band, they took their music to the next level. The band has a clear understanding of eastern and western music and by experimenting with modern music tools, the group managed to bring a refreshing sound to “Coke Studio”. 10/10

Sanam Marvi: ‘Ith Nahin’

Embracing the deeply spiritual poetry of Sachal Sarmast, Sanam projected the force of the powerful verses through her expression, diction and delivery, crafted in the manner of a soundscape, in us “Ith Nahin”. Despite her vocal brilliance, Marvi had started to sound monotonous in her earlier performance, but managed to bring a great deal of depth and variation with this one. Her song is definitely worth listening to; one should pay attention to the song’s lower notes and amazing vocal variations. Some great work on the bass guitar was accompanied by interesting improvisations in the end, and is definitely worth a listen. However it is doubtful that you will become addicted to “Ith Nahin”. Additionally, The house band should stop relying totally on her vocals and try to give her folk melodies a total rendition. 7/10

Bilal Khan: ‘Lamha’

The young musician who received mixed responses with his earlier performance of “Tau Kia Hua”, has improved a lot this time around. Kudos to the house band for actually revamping his melody and not just serving the purpose of an orchestra — like they did in the first episode. The ticking of the clock at the beginning of the song, sets the mood for “Lamha”, a sad song which becomes more upbeat as you enter the second track with a higher tempo. The dholak adds great deal to the song which is another good piece of song writing by the youngster. 8/10

Jal and Quratulain Baloch: ‘Panchi/Tere Ishq Mae’

In this episode, Jal sung their hit song “Panchi”,  which had a lot of room for improvisation, but unfortunately Goher Mumtaz’s vocals did not do justice. Quratulain Baloch came in with her rendition of the Mohammad Ali Sheikhi and Allan Fakir’s mega hit “Tere Ishq Mae Jo Bhi Doob Gaya” and she was excellent. Had Baloch been given more time to sing and Farhan Saeed taken up the vocals, this performance had the potential of being one of the most memorable fusion acts of “Coke Studio”. Instead, Saeed was sitting on the side like a decoration piece and this was the first time that a fusion piece by Jal came across sounding naive. 7/10

Ustaad Naseeruddin Saami: ‘Mundari’

“Mundari” is a classical piece in the raag. Adana — a raag that is known to have the effect of holding a listener captive by its beauty and for the bittersweet emotion that it can invoke. “Coke Studio” combines eastern classical music with a western melody, but that didn’t make much of a difference for the audience as the song seemed to drag, despite the presence of a legend. Classical songs such as this, should either be totally revamped by the house band for younger listeners, or “Coke Studio” shouldn’t move into the classical realm which cannot be experimented with. 6/10

Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2011.


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Reader Comments (32)

  • lida
    Jun 20, 2011 - 10:49PM

    I disagree with you on Mundari. >>Ustaad Naseeruddin Saami: ‘Mundari’

    I think it worked great. give it another try you will like it.

    but beauty is in the ear of the beholder. :)Recommend

  • zeeshan
    Jun 21, 2011 - 12:04AM

    i totally disagree with you on Ustaad Saami… it was one brilliant performance and house band was there just to support this great legend… im addicted to mole!! and sanam marvi’s performance was very powerful… jal i agree was a little off but qb is indeed a great discovery… overall i’d say hats off coke studio…. this season it has gone to another level!!! brilliant work rohail and coke team!Recommend

  • positive pakistani
    Jun 21, 2011 - 12:07AM

    let me correct you….Beauty lies in the ears of the listeners :)…..I totally agree with you. the review of ‘Mundari’ made me feel like the writer is actually a biased modernistic audience in his early 20s. He should do justice and should not represent only one class of the audience……there is a lot of depth to it. Mundari was a great song!Recommend

  • xohaib
    Jun 21, 2011 - 12:12AM

    this episode was not boring at all. you did not do justice in the review. jal was quite good and their song is a hit in CS fans. although QB should have more time .Recommend

  • blithe
    Jun 21, 2011 - 12:20AM

    Your ratings are all messed up. I would have given Mole 0/10
    But then there is no accounting for tastes. Each to his own. Recommend

  • blithe
    Jun 21, 2011 - 12:20AM

    Your ratings are all messed up. I would have given Mole 0/10
    But then there is no accounting for tastes. Each to his own.

    Marvi 10/10Recommend

  • Infantile
    Jun 21, 2011 - 12:27AM

    I thought Mundari was great. Baageshri, was phenonemal.Recommend

  • Jami
    Jun 21, 2011 - 12:40AM

    There was nothing in mole that was refreshing, the sound was dull and did not move me at all. Sanam was good and has an excellent voice but I think she has contributed enough, she needs to mature some more as a musician before coming back next time so that something new can be heard.Jal was terrible and should not ever be asked back to coke studio. I don’t understand why people choose to even listed to these talentless “”mirasees”. Mundari was ok but I agree if you can’t alter or bring something new to the table you should waste people’s time. And thats Rohail’s fault and not Ustaad Ji’s.

    Bilal is good but two sad songs of the same type are more than enough.

    Here is who I want on the show.

    Mizraab (Metal + Classical)
    Karavan + Mekaal Hasan Band
    Some music from the north of this country showcased for everyone
    Quratulain Baloch (If she can handle it)

    what do you guys think (If anyone says Atif Aslam then were in for a fist fight to the death)Recommend

  • hammy
    Jun 21, 2011 - 12:49AM

    hello, i also seem to disagree with you, 6/10 for mundari is a very unfair rating, though i belong to a young generation as a teen, i think mundari deserves 8/10, because the singer sang very well and the house band supported him really good too, it is infact my fovourite songs of ep 3, but jal deserves 6/10 this time, i think they shouldnt have merged allan fakir’s song, this great song deserved a separate play.

    i wish CS makes more classical songs in futureRecommend

  • bigpakimouth
    Jun 21, 2011 - 1:07AM

    what a waste of my precious time reading this review! coke studio is all about experimenting. not particularly targetted towards the youth or how many times the like button is clicked on facebook. let us enjoy the different variations coke studio has to offer without labelling it with marks out of 10. go bake a cake or something.Recommend

  • shahzad Masood Rooomi
    Jun 21, 2011 - 3:03AM

    I think the person who wrote this analysis must learn something about music. And what is the criteria of such an absurd ratings which simply makes no sense at all!!Recommend

  • Adam Siala
    Jun 21, 2011 - 4:12AM

    This review shows that the reviewer is out of touch with the coke studio fans. Why else would he give 10 out of 10 to juvenile instrumental noise and 6 out of 10 to the maestro who produced the piece de resistance of all coke studio sessions.Recommend

  • Sarim Zia
    Jun 21, 2011 - 4:30AM

    I disagree completely with the article. I want Omar Bilal Akhtar to review, somebody call on him to read this please.
    Bilal was phenomenal, as he was in the first episode AS WELL. Mole were genius, true. But Mundari was pretty sensational. Jal, who I don’t have a taste for, still seemed pretty good too. Marvi though, I just don’t bite into so I can’t say too much on that. But all in all, a great episode, something that hasn’t happened in a while.
    Rafay, I respect your opinions, but I don’t really agree with what you’ve written. Recommend

  • iJoker
    Jun 21, 2011 - 5:08AM

    quratulain baloch was amazing… wish there was no jal at all!
    jal should have been the backing vocalists for her!Recommend

  • Dost Mittar
    Jun 21, 2011 - 6:01AM

    Mundari was excellent. Unlike the usual catchy tunes, it grows on you and you discover new nuances every time you listen to it. Recommend

  • Shahzeb
    Jun 21, 2011 - 6:35AM

    Dude you should have started with “in my opinion this is this and that is that”, this is not a good critique. In my opinion this article seems like a conversation between two friends over tea. I guess express tribune will publish anything or maybe it was someones day off and they couldn’t be bothered, see now this is a critique.Recommend

  • bongo
    Jun 21, 2011 - 6:36AM

    Apparently those who can’t do don’t teach, they tear down the ones who can out of resentmentRecommend

  • Tk
    Jun 21, 2011 - 10:40AM

    Don’t know what youre talking about. Jal was amazing. The original Panchi was also sung by goher which makes it very different from their usual songs. Why would farhan sing it? Anyway, QB was a great addition to the song and made it even betterRecommend

  • Adeel
    Jun 21, 2011 - 10:46AM

    I listened to Mundari on a local FM station while driving through the motorway…and man the song Mesmerized me..imagine, empty road, fast speed, darkness around then “mundari”…wow! had heard great things about Ustad Saami and finally got to hear him..i think this was the best fusion song yet in CS…Recommend

  • Ali
    Jun 21, 2011 - 12:08PM

    jal dont bite no more. with thier experimentation of fusion it totally lacks color. an advice to Gohar leave the singing to the lead vocalist. QB was more of a star there. The lyrics of itn Nahin are alone enough to take the song to no 1 on my list. the music reminds me of Buddha barRecommend

  • Jun 21, 2011 - 2:08PM

    Can’t get over lamha.Recommend

  • Mrs Rashid
    Jun 21, 2011 - 3:33PM

    Sanam Marvi and Ith Nahin 11/10… I cant stop listening to it….just ammmazzing.Recommend

  • AK19
    Jun 21, 2011 - 10:39PM

    Lamha and Mole were Brilliant! It is all about taste and i believe that Mole could not have had a better start as a band Based on instrumentals . Jal were fine But QB was brilliant! And Ustad Sahib’s performance was Obviously with Class that only an Ustad can handle , for those who do not really relate do the Genre of Ustad Sahib (including me) should base our reviews on the Listeners who do understand and enjoy it and they were literally in a trance throughout his performance.Recommend

  • Tanya
    Jun 21, 2011 - 11:11PM

    dude seriously is coke paying you to write this stuff every week Recommend

  • Sana
    Jun 22, 2011 - 12:53AM

    Mole was boring. Jal fusion was the best and QB certainly deserves more time on coke studio. The woman has powerful vocals. I enjoy this fusion more than anyone. Bilal was impressive this time.Recommend

  • Jika
    Jun 22, 2011 - 9:19AM

    What kind of a review are you giving? Mundari is a piece that transcends time, age….everything! It’s just too good! Learn the basics of music before you have the audacity to critique a Master like Ustaad Saami!Recommend

  • Jun 22, 2011 - 9:39PM

    I think the song that worked the most for me has to be ‘Ith Nahin’ by Sanam Marvi. The progression is just brilliant!
    Jal was a total waste.
    Bilal surprised all over again, he has long way to go..Recommend

  • Waqar
    Jun 23, 2011 - 11:21AM

    This review is totally inaccurate…. Music is a form of art and everyone has their own style of perceiving it…in my opinion….all of coke studios songs have pushed the limit and have set a benchmark which others will take long to achieve….. You cannot give ratings to these songs like they r on the box office or something….

    come on just look at coke studio @ MTV (Indian version)….Pakistani coke studio songs rock harder….and every1 knows that…..coke studio songs shud get a rating of 999999999999999999999999999999 if compared to mtv’s joke!!!!!!Recommend

  • Jun 25, 2011 - 10:00PM

    I love coke studio songs. It means, i like songs but simple songs are not more attention-able pitch of sound and sound makers as well as i mostly love musicians of coke studio. coke studio team has taken a wrong step to replace THE GREAT MISS SABA BASHIR.Recommend

  • Jun 26, 2011 - 5:10PM

    nice cokeRecommend

  • Jun 30, 2011 - 5:24PM

    6/10 for mundari!!!! You got to be kidding me…Recommend

  • SA
    Jul 11, 2011 - 5:06PM

    6/10 for Mundari? Its 60/10! that song is a healer! It grows on you.. it has a class!!


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