While India’s “Coke Studio @ MTV” was the recipient of much criticism last year for its abominable music, this year’s Indian music producers have delivered a gem to silence the critics.
The spectacular comeback shows improvement in the quality of music produced, as well as the songs, setting a new standard of brilliance for this programme. As expected, producer Leslie Lewis is no longer on board. Instead of just one producer spearheading the project (like Rohail Hyatt does in Pakistan), there is a variety of 12 producers working on five songs each. The list of producers includes: Amit Trivedi, Karsh Kale, Clinton Cerejo, Nitin Sawhney, Shantanu Moitra, Hitesh Sonic, Ehsaan and Loy, Hari Sukhmani, Agam, Dhruv Sangari, Jalebee Cartel with Shilpa Rao and Papon.
Of the two episodes released, one has been produced by Cerejo and the other by Sonic — both proving their virtuosity in their individual manners. Before we pick and choose our favourites from the two episodes, we must extend a note of appreciation to the “Coke Studio @ MTV” team for bringing together an exciting mix of veterans and youngsters as producers and allowing them to truly experiment with musicians. One can humbly conclude that the first two episodes of the Indian counterpart have outperformed the entire fifth season of Pakistan’s “Coke Studio”. While India’s new format is a positive sign that music is being produced in the subcontinent as a whole, it also serves as a wakeup call for producers and musicians at home to experiment and add diversity to what has become a generic and typical sound.
Call for new Pakistani producers
“Coke Studio @ MTV” is a great example of how the sound of an entire season can drastically change. In the name of diversity, our “Coke Studio” should consider other probable producers to enrich the musical show further. Rohail Hyatt may be a musical genius who has pulled off five incredible seasons, but he is now running out of steam and the quality of the latest season reflects that. From Shahi Hasan of Vital Signs to the likes of Faisal Rafi, Mekaal Hasan, Immu, Faraz Anwar and Amir Zaki, Pakistan still has a good number of people who could be given a chance, if not with an entire episode then at least with a couple of songs in the upcoming seasons.
List of our favourites
Madari: Brilliant melody
Clinton Cerejo combines the vocals of the well-known Vishal Dadlani from the Vishal/Shekhar duo and the mesmerising Sonu Kakar to give us an incredible melody this season. This song will make you sing and dance and also proves to be one of the most contemporary takes on the legendary Bulleh Shah.
Allah Hoo: Gives you goose bumps
The combination of Jyoti Nooran and Sultana Nooran gives us a deadly duo to look out for, accompanied by the musical genius of Hityesh Sonic. This song takes you on an unimaginable and unforgettable journey.
Husna: Post-partition love story
This soulful track sings the story of someone who’s beloved went to Pakistan after the 1947 partition, with Piyush Mishra’s voice adding the needed nostalgia and melancholy to the tale.
Chadd De: Vocal brilliance
Master Saleem, the singer of this beautifully penned song makes everything seem effortless yet brilliant.
Mauje Naina: Jazzing it up
This number is by far the most interesting fusion of the season so far, where Bianca Gomes and the Altamash brothers engage in a greatly convincing dialogue through music.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st, 2012.