‘O Yaara’ review: Kaavish, Abdul Hannan work magic in a dreamy collab on longing

Combining lo-fi indie and melancholic blues, this partnership was always meant to be

Manahil Tahira May 13, 2024

Earlier this year, we learned that Kaavish was back to performing live. Only a few months later, the beloved band that has made semi-classical their forte dropped a new track - little preamble, good old vibes. Those who welcomed the band with open arms only to be swept by the deep yearning of Tere Naam in April, May brings you tidings of a greater joy.

In the latest installment of Coke Studio's season 15, Kaavish teams up for a smooth, romantic collaboration with Abdul Hannan's much-awaited debut on the platform that makes you wonder if this was written in the stars. O Yaara is a composition for the tender-hearted, a soul-stirring tune that onboards elements of lo-fi indie and melancholic blues, melding them with traditional instrumentation. The result is almost 5 minutes of pure unadulterated sonic high that lingers long after the final note fades.

Beginning with a humble lo-fi indie intro, from the outset, the beat remains steadfast, delicately intertwining with the vocals. However, it is the subtle embellishments, intricately woven with local instruments, that truly elevate the listening experience. With each passing phrase, the arrangement gains depth, layering instruments, vocal harmonies with precision. This meticulous buildup creates a palpable sense of anticipation, culminating in the chorus with a crescendo of harmonies and the haunting resonance of the baansuri in the background. The payoff feels earned.

As the song gracefully transitions into its post-chorus segment, it retreats into a gentle and introspective ambiance, offering a moment of quiet reflection. It is here that the instrumental bridge takes centre stage, evoking a sense of melancholy with its fluid melodies and emotive nuances. The use of stringed instruments adds a distinct bluesy quality, further enhancing the song's emotional depth and resonance.

To little wonder and every bit as delightful, Kaavish's vocal performance shines brightly. Jaffer Zaidi’s deep, resonant voice commands attention, navigating the intricacies of the composition like a gentle breeze. With each verse, he infuses notes with raw emotion and sincerity. His skillful execution of vibrato adds an extra layer of texture, perfectly complementing the song's lyrical themes of longing and introspection. As the song reaches its climax, Jaffer’s vocals soar, enveloping the listener in a wave of heartfelt emotion before gently fading into silence.

The song would be decidedly amiss if not for Abdul Hannan's subtle contribution. His gentle humming in the song's denouement serves as a poignant reminder of the fleeting nature of human connection, adding a sense of vulnerability and authenticity to the song’s storytelling nature.

Only bit of the song to not impress has to be the accompanying music video. The calmly deserted streets at night that would otherwise be host to the day’s bustling businesses complement the heart of the song. However, one has to wonder when Coke Studio will decide what a music video must set out to do. With the talent onboard, and the resources, such visuals keep resurrecting the ghosts of many advertisements that already populate our television screens.

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