Coke Studio: Fariha Pervez is ecstatic — but we beg to differ

Published: October 21, 2013
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Singer makes Coke Studio debut with renowned qawwal Moazzam Ali Khan, Serbian house band and the in-house dhol group. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Singer makes Coke Studio debut with renowned qawwal Moazzam Ali Khan, Serbian house band and the in-house dhol group. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

LAHORE / KARACHI: 

Unlike previous seasons, Coke Studio’s much-awaited season six took off with just one single — a jazz-reggae spin on a traditional qawwali Jogi by Fariha Pervez and renowned qawwal Moazzam Ali Khan.

The veteran singer has developed quite a following over the years due to her repertoire with the audience as well as her versatility and tells us that her debut this season materialised when she approached the famed platform herself. “I never tried to be a part of Coke Studio before but this season, I asked Rohail and he immediately called me over through his team,” Pervez tells The Express Tribune.

Working with Rohail is something that many artists have cherished, and Pervez’s experience was no different. She says that Rohail’s charm lies in the fact that he allows musicians to decide their songs for themselves.

“Rohail is a music lover and is willing to work with anyone who is good or has potential. But what makes it an awesome experience is that he makes artists feel comfortable and lets them sing whatever they want,” she says. She highlights that Rohail gave her the opportunity to perform live in Turkey with Turkish musicians.

For Fariha, the timing of her debut with Coke Studio couldn’t have been better, because for the first time the hit show is featuring a diverse group of international musicians. Her performance features the contributions of a Serbian house band alongside a brass section and a string orchestra, complemented by Coke Studio’s dhol group that provides the essential Punjabi folk element to the track.

“The opportunity to perform with people from abroad provides a totally different experience not just in terms of enjoyment but also in terms of learning. This will allow us to not only hear a whole new variety of music but will also put Pakistani music on an international stage,” asserts Pervez. “International musicians
are definitely going to create a different sound [for the platform],”
she adds.

As far as her performance is concerned, Pervez feels that it provides a different ethos to the original version and gives it a fresh appeal. “This song is really important to me because it was a source of inspiration growing up. The rhythm is entrenched in my genes,” says Pervez. The original version has been composed by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and written by Bulleh Shah.

“Moazzam provides flavour to the song and gives a certain amount of variety to the qawwali. Also, he is from Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Sahab’s family and for that reason alone it was an unforgettable experience,” she adds.

The verdict

While Pervez is happy with her performance, we beg to differ. One of Western music’s primal pleasures is the way the kick drum locks in with the bass guitar and Jogi is proof that a great rhythm section can add grease to even the driest of productions. That and the tasteful brass section salvage an otherwise ordinary track. Though not as overly-produced as its predecessors, the song is still too slick for its roots. The silence between the strumming and the humming is a bit too obvious.

It wouldn’t have been unreasonable to expect a fire-starter to set the mood right for a much-anticipated season six of Coke Studio. But what is served instead is a non-starter — that turns cold even before the seven minutes are over. Fariha Pervez fails to make an impression of any sort — her vocal delivery has neither the power of soul nor the charm of a diva. First is the worst? We only hope!

Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2013.

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Reader Comments (32)

  • Turbo
    Oct 21, 2013 - 7:28PM

    I completely disagree with this nonsense article!

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  • Khan
    Oct 21, 2013 - 7:56PM

    I’m so confused, are we only gong to a see a song a week or something? This season has been very poorly marketed, true fans are in the dark.

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  • Talha
    Oct 21, 2013 - 8:36PM

    First episode is on Sunday the 27th. Promo running on tv. I guess they gave out a single befor the episode. At press conf they said 3 so ga per episode. So Sunday three more songs :) can’t wait :) loved jogiiiiiii@Khan:

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  • BJ
    Oct 21, 2013 - 8:51PM

    Well I searched on Google and didn’t find any music composed or written by either of the two critics i.e. Sher Khan or Ali Haider Habib. What is the criteria to become a critic on ET by the way?

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  • Zain Abbass
    Oct 21, 2013 - 8:58PM

    Why does the editor publish such trash? The author and the editor ought to be water boarded and given a thrashing. The ET always bashes the accomplishments of this country like Coke Studio and Waar. While not perfect this is progress and it deserves praise.

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  • Oct 21, 2013 - 9:05PM

    Disagreed! She did amazing job. The track is ON-REPEAT here.

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  • hamza khan
    Oct 21, 2013 - 9:15PM

    disagree as well…i thought it was good.

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  • zubair
    Oct 21, 2013 - 9:28PM

    I completely dis agree and really Sorry to say but this article is a Crap. I have been following Express Tribune and for me this artical is totally biased and based on personal opinions and emotions. Fariha sang it very well though there was one mistake in lyrics where she said “Kharda” instead of “Jamda”. apart from this it was a brilliant effort, may be the Authors are unaware and naive to recognize the beauty of Jazz, Raga and Classical forms… Rizwan did well and let it sound like Fariha’s rendition of this Qawwali. She is a lite\pop singer and one the authors must not compare her version with Qawwals like Rizwan himself and great NFAK.. It was a peaceful and beautiful piece of music. The season starts from 27th October 2013.

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  • zubair
    Oct 21, 2013 - 9:30PM

    The show will Air on 27th of October and it will be like every year..@Khan:

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  • Oct 21, 2013 - 9:36PM

    I couldn’t agree more with the author of this report. Fariha Pervez is just a mediocre singer. She definitely doesn’t belong to a versatile and quality platform like Coke Studio. Thank you.

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  • AfterEid
    Oct 21, 2013 - 9:43PM

    Well the writers seem to be from the likes of Taher Shah, wanting to write a viral article based on nonsense. Fariha’s performance was excellent and the combination of these music maestros across the boundaries is note worthy. I totally enjoyed it. Only true music lovers who know the true potential of Pakistani singers would truly have enjoyed this just as much as i did. Another point i want to highlight is that the writers should have also critiqued the BTS for this song. The Coke Studio Pakistan crew did a heck of a job in changing the perspective of our foreign friends towards Pakistan. The guitarists diverts from his discussion of music to accepting his change of thought towards us.

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  • san
    Oct 21, 2013 - 9:52PM

    The two critics Lion Khan and Ali Haider need to first understand music and then do their critical analysis. Between I love Jogi. Nee Mai Jaana Jogi De Nal Nee Mai Jaana Jogi De Nal

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  • 123
    Oct 21, 2013 - 9:56PM

    she is so bad its not even funny.

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  • Faheem
    Oct 21, 2013 - 10:11PM

    What a non sense article was that. I mean absolute rubbish it was. She did an amazing job, the song was meant to be low toned and it made perfect sense. I loved it, simply amazing job done by coke studio. ET! for GOD sake hire some sane people as critiques.

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  • Pakistani
    Oct 21, 2013 - 10:39PM

    If the author knows better than he should sing in coke

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  • Parvez
    Oct 21, 2013 - 10:48PM

    You are so wrong that its not even funny. I had no idea who Fariha Pervez was nor had ever heard her……..but she blew me away. The tone of her voice, her sense of timing, her control and yes she’s a stunning looker and yet you find faults. While Moazzam Ali proved his quality by taking a step back and complementing Fariha so that she stood out…….now that is what a quality artist, comfortable in his own skin, would do.

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  • catWomen!
    Oct 21, 2013 - 11:30PM

    Negativity sells..exactly what ET doing here.(and in many other cases, Waar review for example)

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  • liketovoicemyview
    Oct 21, 2013 - 11:34PM

    read the article first and then watched the song clip, came back to mention my disagreement about this article but i guess I am late, many others have already done that :)Recommend

  • Amrita Yasin
    Oct 21, 2013 - 11:57PM

    I personally don’t like coke studio much. Save for a few songs, the rhythm of folk songs just doesn’t integrate well with western instruments. Having said that, I think Fariha’s singing was brilliant.

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  • Ali Ash
    Oct 21, 2013 - 11:59PM

    I completely agree with the writer. Every singer cannot be a Sufi soul singer and ms patangbaz sajna is not meant for this genre. The lyrics and the melody are brought to life by the emotion and feel of the singer and musicians. Jogi just seemed a zabardasti of sorts. It looked and sounded like a true session recording! We need that spacey sound, look and feel.. I hope this season doesn’t turn in to Choke Studio!

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  • FAWAD Subhani
    Oct 22, 2013 - 12:00AM

    For all the richness and diversity of music expected from Coke Studio, I find “Jogi” least ‘satiable’ for an opening song!

    Everything seems to be in order and very well orchestrated, note to note consonant, proportionately symphonic … … then what’s missing ?

    I guess it is expectation versus actual gratification of musical desires which remain remarkably insatiable for the said composition. I don’t know if the song stalls on a musical crescendo, or alternatively is missing a musical high point or … … perhaps it is just me, undecided, not knowing whether to expect more of Coke Studio or of Fareeha !

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  • Typical Desi
    Oct 22, 2013 - 1:32AM

    What The verdict
    Really ?

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  • sensible
    Oct 22, 2013 - 6:31AM

    And I also beg to differ.The song is great. Fariha sang it beautifully and foreign band just took it to another level. Don’t compare it with original, please!Recommend

  • Tahir Khan
    Oct 22, 2013 - 11:14AM

    Honestly do the ‘critics’ ever go without saying bad about everything. I think Fariha Pervez did a brilliant job in Jogi. Most of the times it is difficult to accept changes. The change like collaboration with East and the West in Coke Studio and the Serbia House Band instead of Pakistan House Band. Rather than bashing Coke Studio and the artists who performed in it try to appreciate them for once. Do remember that Coke Studio Pakistan is considered the best so far and loved even by the international viewers and music lovers. Coke Studio Rocks and thumbs up for Fariha Pervez for doing a great job and a thumbs down for the critics, article and ET. I disagree.

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  • Saad
    Oct 22, 2013 - 12:42PM

    Who made these guys critics? You are criticizing Rohail Hyatt’s work, so you should be good at criticizing.

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  • Asad Jahangir
    Oct 22, 2013 - 2:11PM

    Couldn’t agree more!! I am a vocalist myself and the song just didn’t feel right.

    Firstly, I disagree with the idea of having a Serbian house band, a string orchestra etc, it kills the basic purpose of calling this production ‘Coke Studio Pakistan’.

    Next, I feel like the production team struggled too much to make the multi-location band thing work together and overlooked the importance of making a quality production which Coke Studio is known for. There is no ‘soul’ in Fareeha’s vocals. Being a vocalist, I can feel that she is more worried about hitting the right notes than throwing in some feelings.

    The music itself is monotonous! Remember the good old house band? and how much they loved playing their songs? the expressions on their faces were priceless and showed how much they loved what they were doing… VS … the off shore band who looks to be on a 8 to 5 day job.

    Thanks!!!!

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  • Beast
    Oct 22, 2013 - 2:52PM

    I couldn’t agree more.
    I don’t think international musicians can understand our music, our culture, Spiritualism, BULLEH SHAH.

    I even missed Louis John Pinto in last season.

    There was no Energy in the whole song.

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  • Waheed Khalid
    Oct 22, 2013 - 4:01PM

    “One of western musics primal pleasure is the way kicm drum locks in with bass guitar”
    Hahhahahhaaa
    Man WESTERN MUSIC is quite a wide term isn’t it..
    The writer has only praised the production..I.e the producer.. too much rohail phobia in Pakistan.. all of cokestudio is his sound.. so the way fariha is singing. .is rohails fault.. if its bad.

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  • Merc
    Oct 22, 2013 - 4:11PM

    If you could mention her with her first name Fariha instead of last name Pervez, that would be great.

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  • Irfan
    Oct 23, 2013 - 5:04PM

    The first time i loved a song by fariha, and this guy begs to differ LOL..:D

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  • faiz
    Oct 23, 2013 - 6:33PM

    I dont know why we have to criticize individuals to make our point. The writer/critic talked about music, its an opinion. He did not give a verdict about personalty or musical accomplishments of the singer. The comments are loaded with derogatory and scornful remarks about the critics. You can just say, “I disagree. The song was good, becasue….”, instead of bashing the writers individually. AND, for those who said that these writers do not have anuy musical record, well, guys, so dont you. You are also here to give your opinion. Dont you?

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  • Saleem
    Oct 25, 2013 - 5:20AM

    Jogi was awesome, still don’t understand Punjabi so well, beautiful soul touching sound. Loved the slower tempo and beat. Being critical is good, over critical not so good.

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