The hits and misses of Coke Studio

Published: July 24, 2010
Arif Lohar has managed to cement himself in the minds of an age group that was unaware of him before. PHOTO: KOHI MARRI

Arif Lohar has managed to cement himself in the minds of an age group that was unaware of him before. PHOTO: KOHI MARRI

Arif Lohar has managed to cement himself in the minds of an age group that was unaware of him before. PHOTO: KOHI MARRI Tina Sani is one of the country’s finest musicians, who stunned with her performance of “Mori Araj Suno”.  PHOTO: KOHI MARRI/RIZWANUL HAQ

Coke Studio is set for a resounding finale – reportedly featuring all of the artists who have appeared on the show – on August 1, but the first four episodes have left their own indelible mark.

Karachiites have been blaring “Alif Allah Chambay Di Booti” on weekends as they race around in their cars, and Meesha Shafi has become this summer’s pin-up idol. The influence of the four episodes, which have seen fans turn against stars for their mediocre performances and rediscover old icons, is what has made this show a success so far.

Watching the show has become a collective experience for many. Facebook and Twitter users post updates throughout the one-hour episode, ranting, raving and reviewing. Some of the angriest comments came the night EP performed their cover of Sajjad Ali’s “Bolo Bolo”, with several fans expressing bewilderment at what their favourite band had done to the 1990s hit.

Poetic times

However, the show has had its fair share of successes. Arif Lohar’s metal influenced “Mirza Sahibaan” and Abida Parveen’s renditions of sufi poetry have helped remind one of their lasting impact on music. Stars such as Sanam Marvi, who is extremely popular in Sindh, have notched her own share of fans through their performances on the show.

The misses

The misses this season have been the bands – Aunty Disco Project, EP, Zeb and Haniya, Karavan and Noori – who have all paled in comparison to the musicians performing.  For some, such as Karavan, it was bad luck to be lumped into an episode line-up that had far more powerful voices. For others, it was bad song writing that did the trick (“Tann dolay/mann dolay/raaton main” is far from being Noori and Zeb and Haniya’s best effort) or repetitiveness (how many times will we hear “Sultanat” before Aunty Disco Project gets rid of it?)


Arieb Azhar is one of this season’s most underrated stars. From the haunting rendition of”Na Raindee Hai” to his collaboration with Tina Sani on Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s “Mori Araj Suno”, Azhar’s mesmerising voice has added more depth to each episode, and lent a feeling of introspection that is missing from the lighter songs such as “Nazar Eyle”. Building up from his performance on last year’s season of Coke Studio, Ali Hamza has proved that he is the stronger voice in Noori. His vocal talents shine on “Hor Vi Neevan Ho”, and one looks forward to hearing what Ali Hamza brings to Noori’s next record.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Jul 24, 2010 - 11:14PM

    I think that a program like C.S. should be broadcast 2wice a year, 6 episodes,2 hr each.although ths season was successful, but in many ways, it lacked the diversity and versatality that was so was so prevalent in season 2. Also, the line-up wasnt all good. Noori, EP, and Karavan should have been replaced by otherz like Shahzad Roy,Hadiqa Kiyani, Jawad Ahmed, or maybe bands like Aaroh. They would have been much better. Hope the next season is good! :-)Recommend

  • Tayyab
    Jul 24, 2010 - 11:41PM

    Arif Lohar and Misha shafi along with the two Greats (ABida parveen and Tina sani) more then made up for the misses in this seasons CS. they should rely call Salman ahmed as well… and how come no Ibrar ul haq, he is a walking coke studio within himself… Recommend

  • Tayyab
    Jul 24, 2010 - 11:43PM

    and i totally disagree with zeb and haniya being a miss !!!! there are the next best thing happening to Paki music. they were rather good. Recommend

  • F Alam
    Jul 25, 2010 - 3:28AM

    I love its hits and miss. They will all be classic with time. So bring it on! More Coke Studio and more frequently! Recommend

  • Jul 25, 2010 - 3:29PM

    i look fwd to noori’s 3rd album and hopefully it will be as good as songs they have put out in the past and none from coke studio season 3 please :)

    Also coke studio got songs wrong and they dont suit the artists that were put in, they should asked the artists to pick the songs they want to do for coke studio and coke studio allow people to pick the artists in season 4. It looked like someone in coke studio picked songs which were no good deliberately.

    Also it time coke studio got new people in who not appeared before akash, jal, shehzad roy, there is a guy who has grey hair and a grey mustache called salman saleem or saleem salman, sajjad ali to redo baabia baabi and if u look at who has not been coke studio.

    Also i have to say sanam marvi (lok virsa )and others like noori (ice cream advert) have done better stuff on television then coke studio season 3Recommend

  • Zakir rox
    Jul 25, 2010 - 4:32PM

    i will not agree with this article critique , not as i precieved :/Recommend

  • bilal khalid
    Jul 25, 2010 - 5:06PM

    Ep,noori n karawan suck……………
    chori chori was the best so far followed by jugni of arif lohar and then abida parveenRecommend

  • muhammad arif
    Jul 25, 2010 - 5:20PM

    i 100% agree with artcle writer. jugi by arif lohar has been liked very much by all age groups.weldone cs and arif lohar who has proved to b a real folk singer.Recommend

  • Mutee ur Rahman
    Jul 25, 2010 - 5:47PM

    I think this season made more waves than the other two seasons. I wouldn’t label Noori/Karavan/Zeb Hania as failures but I agree I wasn’t expecting ADP to do Sultanat, its a good song but not their best and certainly didn’t suit the CS mood.Recommend

  • Waleed Khan
    Jul 25, 2010 - 8:44PM

    Good . no mention of Amanat Ali, who totally failed at whatever he sung is the two episodes. Recommend

  • Mehryar
    Jul 26, 2010 - 3:52PM

    I think Zeb and Haniya and Noori were excellant especially Paimana Bibi Sanam, and Aik Alif and Hor Bhi Neevan Ho which is superb!Recommend

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