The wait for the much awaited season 7 of Coke Studio is over and now we finally know what will be happening inside the studio with ‘no strings attached’.
Strings have been too caught up with their jamming and pre-release preparations to share any information regarding their first major venture as producers; however, insiders have given The Express Tribune an insight on what we should be expecting. This time around, the show will not feature any international collaboration unlike last time and it will focus more on the utilisation of local talent and maestros. Apart from a set list of artistes, who will collaborate with the House Band, there will be a number of guest musicians, who will be featured in the season as collaborative musicians. The show will go on air on September 7 as per Coke Studio’s Facebook page.
Here is the list of the new House Band members, guest musicians and some featuring artistes to look forward to:
Imran Akhoond (Guitars)
Known for his swift guitar playing in the music fraternity, Akhoond’s most noticeable onscreen appearance has been as Shehzad Roy’s guitarist in his videos. He has been a session musician for many artistes and has also played guitars in some of String’s music albums. Other than that, he doesn’t have as many accolades as the greats he has replaced.
Khalid Khan (Bass guitars)
Previously associated with Mizraab, founding member of Aaroh and a session player for Fuzon, Khalid Khan is one of the most well-known bass guitarists in Pakistan. He brings in a plethora of experience to this relatively young House Band and has an equally diverse skill set to combine it with.
Ahad Nayani (Drums)
Nayani is Pakistan’s next big thing as far as playing the drums is concerned. Never before has the industry seen a young drummer mature quickly with time since the making of Gumby. Nayani is also the drummer for Strings, so it will be interesting to see their chemistry in a bigger and a more selfless project.
Sara Haider (Backing vocals)
The Viccaji duo (Rachel Viccaji and Zoe Vicajji), which is highly criticised for its flat harmonies, will be broken up this time around, as the multitalented Sara Haider is replacing Zoe on the backing vocals. Sara has previously been featured in Uth records and her vocal talent can be seen in many different forms of live performances that she keeps herself busy with. The Rachel and Sara duo should be a pleasant change.
Jaffar Zaidi (Keyboard), Babar Khanna (Dhol) and Sikander Mufti (Percussions)
With season 7, Babar Ali Khanna becomes the most persistent member of the Coke Studio team, even more persistent than Rohail Hyatt himself. After all, he is the only member of the House Band who has been a part of all the seasons now. Jaffer Zaidi and Sikander Mufti have also retained their place in the studio and their combination may remind us of the signature Coke Studio sound, provided there isn’t a conscious effort made to stay away from it.
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan
Abbas Ali Khan
Some of the guest musicians
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2014.