The year 2011 marked the discovery of various musical gems through the emergence of Pakistani talent shows like “Uth Records”. The show played a key role in turning raw Pakistani talent into seasoned musicians and singers of today. Every episode had a unique flavour and charm; as it showcased a different musician, singing a different genre, belonging to a different ethnic background and representing a different part of the country. From the catchy tunes of Natasha Ejaz to the folk rock belted out by Yasir & Jawad, every artist created a cult following of their own, becoming a regular feature on the local radio channels. Of course, none of this could have happened without music producers Omran Shafique and Gumby who were integral in the success of the first season of “Uth Records”.
So when 2012 started and the second season of the show was announced, there were even higher expectations from it. However, this time, there was a slight variation in the line-up. Gumby had taken over Shafique’s spot as the solo producer of the show. The fact that Gumby was producing music left many confused as he is better known for his drumming skills than anything else. However, people had been talking about his creative input in producing “Coke Studio” for a long while and this would’ve been a great opportunity for him to put his talent to test.
However, Gumby couldn’t come even close to what was expected from a seasoned musician like him. With artists like Jarar Malik, Affaq Mushtaq, XXI, Sara Haider, Orangenoise and Rahim Saranjam Khan who featured on the show, only two managed to stand out — Khan and Mushtaq. The rest of the artists made no lasting impression and were not extraordinary by any means.
Shafique sorely missed
One thing that was obvious from the show was that most songs lacked soul and seemed similar to the rough cut of a film which was selected for a worldwide premiere. While younger artists are known for coming up with idealised and amateur approaches to music, it is the producer’s job to tweak and tailor their passion into something worth listening to. But, except for Khan’s renditions; Gumby wasn’t really able to make the songs or the artists memorable. By letting a band like Orangenoise, which has been around for quite some time, perform the same stuff in their old style, he defeated the real purpose of the show.
The real art of producing a youth show lies in creating masterpieces out of raw talent. But this fact seemed lost on Gumby this season. Shafique was sorely missed because had he been part of the production process, many artists featured on the show could have benefitted from it.
Gumby, camera shy?
Taking the musical element of the show aside, Gumby wasn’t able to hold his forte in front of the camera. Audiences could’ve surely done without his sweeping statements like, “Pop music tou do crore saalon sae chala araha hai” and some of his inappropriate jokes.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 17th, 2012.