June 8th 2008 saw the beginning of a musical phenomenon in Pakistan, the fusion themed recording studio named Coke studio with Rohail Hyatt at its helm as executive producer took the entire nation by storm and showed us a new unexplored side of our music by fusing folk and different contemporary styles together. The result was truly awe inspiring and thus took off like a rocket, leading not only to a grand reaffirmation among our youth in our folk music but a vision for the future of an industry quagmired in piracy problems and the dearth of music labels.
Last sunday saw the 5th episode of the 3rd season being aired. Having listened to the music from the last two seasons with some delight, I have to say the current releases or the last 4 episodes at least have not been up to the mark. The only two moments of brilliance i have noticed this time around were that by Arif lohar “Aik allah chambey di booti” and Abida parveen “Nigahe Darveshan”, the rest I am sorry to say were not up to the standard this brilliant collaboration has set for itself..
Obviously this may have something to do with the fact that this time around the biggest names of the contemporary music scene in Pakistan seem to be missing. The first season had Ali azmat, Rahat, Strings & Ali zafar, the second had Atif aslam, Ali Zafar, Shafqat and Strings and the third has EP, Karavaan, Zeb/ Haniya, Rizwan/muazzam & Noori get the picture?
The folk side on the other hand has remained strong throughout with stellar performances. Who can forget Rahat’s rendition of “Shama Paiyan” or Saeen zahoor’s and noori’ on “Aik Alif” or Atif and riaz ali khan pairing on “Kinara” or Zeb/Haniya on “Paimona”. Its not as if this time around the music has been lacking either or the effort, for instance Misha Shafi to me has been the find of this season, but over all there is only so much tan dolay man bole one can take and do not even get me started on EP or what Lohar did in Mirza Sahiban. Listening to it was task enough
Perhaps the desired effect has not been achieved because there is too much experimentation this time? Or the fact that we have become so used to fusion that it does not have the same lustre it did in the last two seasons? Maybe its just me but it sure seems like “Coke Studio” has reached its peak and is struggling to remain there. I do hope though that this is not so as this project has been an eye opener and it would be sad to watch it spiral into mediocrity.