Coke Studio: Sweet songs of the soil

Published: May 28, 2012
Episode 2 of ‘Coke Studio’ celebrates folk tunes. PHOTO: KOHI MARRI

Episode 2 of ‘Coke Studio’ celebrates folk tunes. PHOTO: KOHI MARRI

Episode 2 of ‘Coke Studio’ celebrates folk tunes. PHOTO: KOHI MARRI Episode 2 of ‘Coke Studio’ celebrates folk tunes. PHOTO: KOHI MARRI Episode 2 of ‘Coke Studio’ celebrates folk tunes. PHOTO: KOHI MARRI Episode 2 of ‘Coke Studio’ celebrates folk tunes. PHOTO: KOHI MARRI Episode 2 of ‘Coke Studio’ celebrates folk tunes. PHOTO: KOHI MARRI

From the days of Allan Faqeer’s “Teray Ishq Main” and Nazia Hassan’s “Pyar Diyan Gallan” to Saieen Zahoor and Noori’s “Ek Alif” and countless renditions of “Jugni”, folk melodies have always ruled the hearts of Pakistani audiences. The trend continues in full swing with the second episode of “Coke Studio” season five.

It is impossible not to enjoy and cherish the melodies that come right from our own soil; every harmony is a reservoir of history, every chorus is unique and every stanza a holy verse. Kudos to “Coke Studio” for exporting our epic folklores to other countries and making everyone realise the importance of this cultural treasure.

Raw ballads of Potohar Valley

One would be surprised to know that until the filing of this report the most trending song was Meesha Shafi and Chakwal group’s “Ishq Aap Bhi Awalla”. Chakwal group is a group of four men who stand and sing in chorus around a single dhol. In the villages and town centres of Potohar region, there are usually a group of 16 or more people who perform in the same manner in front of audiences that gather to watch them. Shafi’s voice, which now has a new dimension to a range of traditional and modern music, blends well to support the group’s very heavy vocals.

The Chakwal group’s expressions while singing tell you how much they love their work and the YouTube hits tell us how much people love them.

Bilal Khan: Maturing with time

The raw, unfinished and simple structure of “Larho Mujhey”, Khan’s latest song for “Coke Studio”, tells a lot about the musical journey that he’s currently on. However, at the same time, the strong lyrical content and Khan’s control on the progression of the song reflect how he has matured as an artist. “My earlier songs were very sad and I had explained why they were sad. Now, I am trying to explain why I am happy. Things have improved in my life. I have now reached my dream but what is the next step, how do I improve from here?” says Khan.

An ode to Amir Khusrau 

Fareed Ayaz and Abu Muhammad radiated sheer confidence during their performance of Amir Khusrau’s kalaam “Khabram Raseeda”; a song about sheer honesty and love for the beloved. “We have not changed since the time of our ancestors. There were certain changes and effects but we have managed to preserve the original through all these years,” says Ayaz.  And the truth in his statement resonates in their soul stirring performance of this classic Sufi poetry of love and devotion.

Tahir Mithu makes you drown in love

“Even during half-time at school, I would sit in class and play beats on the tables,” says Tahir Mithu, who has been playing music since he was a child growing up in Kotri, Sindh. He later on went to perform at Bhit Shah for Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai’s urs and since then has been enthralling audiences with his soulful vocals. From the very first note of the timeless “Pere Pavandi Saan” (Bhittai’s Sindhi folk tale of Sassi Punno), you are taken on a voyage through the Indus river and its beautiful folk tales. Sindhi melodies needed such packaging and finally someone is doing justice to the folk tales that need to be heard by the world.

Atif Aslam gives his career best as a vocalist

From winning a million hearts through “Aadat” to being one of South Asia’s most sought after rock stars; Atif Aslam has really come of age. His latest performance in “Coke Studio” was yet another feather in his cap. The brilliance with which he performed an improvised version of his own song “Rabba Sacheya” proved why he’s one of the biggest superstars of the country.

Stating earlier that he likes to explore different dynamics and dimensions when it comes to music, Aslam lived up to that promise. In his latest performance, we saw a totally new Aslam; an Aslam who now has a great command over Punjabi diction and is more experimental in his approach.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (20)

  • Ali
    May 28, 2012 - 9:39PM

    Chakwal group and Tahir Mithu performances were Awesome.
    I don’t know what Meesha was doing there but I like this song and play all the time in my car. I never thought I ll be listening to this kind of songs. I give the credit of this to Rohail


  • Obaid Khan
    May 28, 2012 - 10:16PM

    whole episode was great all the songs especially Rabba SacheyaRecommend

  • American
    May 28, 2012 - 10:47PM

    Khabram Raseeda by Fareed Ayaz and Abu Muhammad was pure Spiritual Ecstasy


  • liberalpak
    May 29, 2012 - 1:02AM

    Tahir Mitthu’s Folk song was awesome. It takes me into mystic world. Folk Sindhi songs connects our hearts with purity. It is THE best song and excellent work by Rohail and team for bringing back Folk songs from its lost glory. Folk songs belongs to rich roots of Pakistan, it connects us to our roots and thanks coke studio. Keep it up.


  • xohaib hassan
    May 29, 2012 - 2:48AM

    hehe. i guess rafay changed his mind to write in favor of readers because of the worst comments n criticism from readers. Cokestudio has the tradition to pack best 5 songs of different dimensions that you are unable to fill yourself with all of them at a time. I am listening to only chakwal group even i loved all of those songs. Tahir mithu’s performance is also great. Atif as always superb. I just dont like Billal Khan in this season.


  • Afaaq
    May 29, 2012 - 4:47AM

    Coke Studio : Same old folk songs sung in a new tune sounding similar to last years songs.


  • Faesal
    May 29, 2012 - 9:13AM

    Coke Studio brings out best of everyone. truly Rohail Hyatt is blessed with immense talent to create magic.

    Songs on coke studio are nothing but pure spiritual journey


  • Zee
    May 29, 2012 - 9:20AM

    Meesha Shafi wasnt really needed in the Chakwal group song. Even backing vocalists couldve done that much.


  • Topak Khan
    May 29, 2012 - 9:39AM

    Which language is “Laro Mujay”. I have never heard this phrase in urdu may be its English?


  • May 29, 2012 - 10:00AM

    Feel sorry for the rest of the artists because Chakwalis and Misha Shafi floored them. Their songs were very nice but ‘Ishq Aap Bhi Awalla’ was par excellence. Misha looked gorgeous.


  • ....
    May 29, 2012 - 12:18PM

    Great great episode. Thank you thank you to the whole team of Coke Studio! You’ve done us proud and you’ve done music proud also <3. PS. Could we have more Balochi music next season pleasee?


  • May 29, 2012 - 1:53PM

    Ahh Well Hadiqa proved to be best so far…


  • Asim
    May 29, 2012 - 2:15PM

    Why all Coke Studio songs sound same?


  • Florence
    May 29, 2012 - 4:14PM

    Meesha Shafi could have collaborated with somebody else because all she did was look pretty and just stand there. Her voice was overshadowed by the Chakwaal Group and one couldn’t distinguish her voice among the voices of the men. She should give it another try with some other artist. As for Bilal Khan, Larho Mujhe..I still didnt get it..shouldnt it be larho mujhse? other than the lyrics, they song is catchy.


  • Khan
    May 29, 2012 - 11:57PM

    Coke Studio should be labelled folk studio. Seriously fusion of music doesn’t mean, take anything and turn it into something which sounds the same all the time ….


  • Abdulah
    May 30, 2012 - 6:36AM

    :O why is everyone criticizing meesha here? i think that it was the best match of this season along side qayaas and atif, meesha has an immense talent and looks


  • Adeel
    May 30, 2012 - 1:42PM

    Rafay…this time review is quite good. I believe Coke Studio is doing wonders for our beloved country so our media should also encourage their efforts. Keep the same spirit of your review for upcoming episodes of Coke Studio. Many Thanks


  • Shayan
    May 30, 2012 - 2:25PM

    I think so far this is the best CS-S5 episode. But I am little disappointed by the inclusion of Bilal and Meesha in this season. I think instead of repeating them, two new artists must have given opportunity to use this plateform to introduce their talent. Meesha’s voice textuer might fit with Arif Lohar’s vocal tone, but it is merging with Chakwal group’s voices and doesn’t stand out. While listening to audio, I could hardly figure out her voice. I think Zoe or Raechal might serve the purpose a lot better. Bilal khan failed to impress me this time again, almost 3 years in the game and still imature writing, composition and vocals.


  • Zeeshan
    May 30, 2012 - 4:41PM

    I am from Chakwal and i have heard this Chakwal Group live at a local festival. Muneer Hussain, the leader of the group, is one of the best Dhol player in Pothohar region. In addition, he’s got some awesome dance moves while playing the Dhol. I was wondering why Coke Studio has not allowed/asked him to play Dhol in this song. I believe that this song could have been much more successful with Dhol being played in it. Also, this move could have provided the original Pothohar feel in this song.


  • bg
    Jun 12, 2012 - 11:52PM

    why such a biased article from an indian journalist degrading coke studio pakistan is given space in tribune pk as below?

    saying that quote ¨¨¨ coke studio pakistan has its roots in india ¨¨¨ what could be more rubbish than this


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