KARACHI: Finally, it’s that time of the year again when all things positive happen in the supposedly dying music industry of Pakistan — a period marked by musicians whining less and producing more music. And most of all, it’s a time when a certain television music show gets unprecedented level of viewership. We’re talking about “Coke Studio”, which is now a globally recognised music show, and set to air from May 13. However, this time around, there are a lot of changes and surprises planned for the audience as drummer Gumby and keyboardist Jaffar Zaidi, two of the main house band members, are making an exit. As the show goes international, it has welcomed Karachi-born Punjabi rapper Bohemia to spell some magic.
New house band members
Although a lot of “Coke Studio” fans are disappointed by the exit of the show’s founding member Gumby and Jaffar, their replacements are no less than musical geniuses. In fact, a musician like Farhad Humayun will bring in a lot of diversity to the overall sound of “Coke Studio”. At the same time, one cannot draw a comparison between the skill level of Gumby and Humayun, as both are immensely talented in their own respective ways. If Gumby has experience, Humayun has the innovation — which is evident from the fact that he is the only drummer in Pakistan leading a band of his own. Apart from Humayun, Mubashir Admani, popularly known as “Mobi”, is also part of this season’s line-up. Considered as one of the most underrated, yet finest keyboard players of Pakistan, his style happens to be contrary to that of Jaffar’s. While Jaffar’s keyboard playing is rooted in classical and semi-classical influences and has a mellow approach, Mobi is known for his funk, jazz and blues playing style. All these changes may actually evolve the overall sound of the upcoming season and take it to another level.
Although this season will be introducing young acts like SYMPT and mark the return of Bilal Khan, they are definitely not the musicians who we are expecting miracles from; mostly, because they might be outdone by a whole list of amazing musicians who are expected to light up the stage this time around. Take for instance, rapper Bohemia, Atif Aslam and young rock band Qayaas, featuring Khurram Waqar and Sarmad Ghafoor. A lot is also expected from qawwals Fareed Ayaz and Abu Mohammad. Add to this, the fact that model-cum-musician Meesha Shafi will also feature in the same season as the experienced Pakistani artist Hadiqa Kiyani.
Unforgettable songs of the soil
The most original aspect of the show will be the appearance of folk band Chakwalis and sheedi musician from Sindh, Tahir Mithu. Whether it is “Danah Pah Danah” or “Aik Alif, folk tunes always get the audiences’ attention. On the other hand, Humayun Khan who is a pop artist from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), will bring elements of ethnic pop to the table. At the same time, it would be interesting to hear what the house band members put together for the show.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 9th, 2012.