I’m pretty sure I come off as some sort of Coke Studio Maniac, with posts here, here and here, all featuring it. That is probably the most apt description for someone like me. Because I just don’t seem to tire of it. Coke Studio, all five seasons thick, has a permanent place on my playlist at all times, giving me the chance to always dip in. For every kind of mood, every occasion, every moment. There is always a Coke Studio track that fits.
So this is me, quite unabashedly admitting to how much I love the musical melange, the melting pot that is Coke Studio Pakistan. Because seriously, they know what they’re doing. And as a wise man told me recently, the defining factor that takes the Pakistani version leaps and bounds ahead of the Indian imitation is that it was not televised. It was music, for music-sake. Collaboration for music-sake. Experimentation for music-sake. In India, it was all of that for TRP-sake.
Right so now that I have that elaborate disclaimer (as if I really needed one) out of the way, you have my permission to judge me all you want. But not before you listen to the gem that sealed the deal in making Season 5 the best season yet, on the show thus far.
Seher hit me in the face early one Monday morning, when bleary eyed, I landed on the Coke Studio website, eager to check out the fresh stash from the latest episode. Shashank led me to it. He was always quick to pick up on these updates and then generously dole them out to me at opportune moments. Coincidentally it was when I was wilting under pressure, and desperately needed a music pick-me-up, that he showed me this one. He doesn’t know it, but those pleasant interruptions are usually the best kind at work.
That Coke Studio heralded a brand new take on all things considered musically old and dusty, is not an unknown fact. With intelligent collaborations and fresh new perspectives its given classical and folk genres a voice. A means of expression, of bringing the old back with a punch. Of blending it in a way that makes it stand out and making it heard amidst the din that is today’s music. Overshadowed by the clatter of Bollywood, Indi-pop and the like, artists like Farhan Rais Khan bravely straddle both worlds. Shamelessly flirting with everything new, never losing their souls to commercial bigwigs, Coke Studio lets artists teeter on the line, often straying this way and that. Tantalising and teasing; sometimes with hard bluesy riffs, sometimes with mellow strains of love-song pop, and sometimes, like in Seher, with in-your-face rockified avatar of an instrument like the sitar.
This is music with body. Its hard not to sit up and notice this one. And once you do, chances are that like me, you will listen to it a couple of time every single day.