Rocking it the way I like it

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.

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27 thoughts on “Rocking it the way I like it

  1. Don’t I just love them!
    Their brand of music always leaves me in a Sufi-singing, Urdu-spouting haze!
    Garaj Baras was the first song I heard and then came Bulleya…I still love those songs!
    I kinda lost touch but you’ve brought them back…on the playlist right now!:)

  2. I am so glad I took the time to listen to that – that was awesome. I’ve always had a soft spot for the sitar but that really was something else. Can’t even say what was my fave part, the cool beats, the perfect collaboration of all the instruments, the joy on his face, the final quiet twangs that just send your heart a flutter. So lovely.

    Have lost touch with Indian/Hindi music because I can’t really stand the Bollywood bullshit that comes up really, but I must look into this Coke Studio :)

    • Oh yay.. for 2 things:
      – The music posts almost never get any comments, and never any that say people stayed and listened to the whole track
      – I got YOU to comment on this one, even though theres a running post a few posts back!

      Coke Studio is wonderfully awesome. And seher is just the tip of the ice berg. I have been listening to coke studio for 4 years now. And seher gets played at least a couple of times everyday (i-kid-you-not) ever since i first heard it in august or so :)

      I’ll send you some CS reccos!

      • Hahah oh trust me I’ve been wanting to comment on so many but for some reason my laptop blocks your blog as a threat!! Have bookmarked the running post to come back to and comment properly.

        That’s my aim as well in 2013 – comment on more blogs – I feel so bad especially when you write so well and I do appreciate them all!

        • Whaa? As a threat?! thats odd.. I wonder if theres something I need to fix to make sure it doesnt. But Im such a tech-dolt, I wouldnt know how to find out :(

          Im waiting for your comment on the running one. My knees made me a bit sad in between, and I am not feeling as exercised as I was last month. Also it is mightly frustrating to reign in my energy and just keep from saying oh eff with the no-running, lets just RUN! But im trying hard to stay with the “resting” I have been advised and doing my knee exercises and I have to say the knees themselves are feeling better. SIGH (Imgettingold)

  3. What Sig said. I’m so tired of the rubbish bollywood keeps spouting and I yearn for sangeet like this. Do you know if they have CDs available? And do recommend more stuff from Coke Studio!

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  5. Make that a reco post, will ya? I am not the most discerning music lover, but Sufi music, like Jazz, somehow always gets to me. I am yet to hear this one (my internet conn is being such a b****) but I will take your word for it. Plus there is the sitar.

      • I’d have to agree with you on that TWC. I think the thing is a lot of mainstream movies are shit, and have shit music. But theres a whole second tier of cinema which though produces so-so movies, has decent music. Mirch was one of those quirky movies that I had to watch a couple of times. Cant say I appreciated the film, but it had an interesting concept (5 stories from the panchatantra, across time, woven together in the most absurd fashion). Did you ever watch it?

          • Hehe, well in some movies he has longer hair that comes down and covers his dumbo ears, but apart from that, I find him to be quite lech-able. If you know what I mean.. I can watch and ogle, but never imagine myself with someone like him..

            And the song hehehe, yes, coming back to the point of this comment, I used to really like this one soon after I watched the movie, but it has sort of blended in with the rest of the not so memorable trying-to-be-fusion-y bollywood and indipop that there is :S

  6. I have to request you to do a recco post too. Not only did I enjoy the piece, I got DD to listen to it too. She’s learning classical and a lot of the time argues that Hindustani classical has nothing to offer for someone who likes Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift and the like and wants to sing like them. Coke Studio lets me show her that any kind of music needs a foundation in classical. She heard this piece and liked it – baby step number 1 accomplished :)

    • Thats excellent :) I have to confess I like Bruno Mars (just a little bit :P) but I see where you are coming from, and having learnt Hindustani classical music for over a decade, I have to agree with you. Even though I didnt agree with my own mother back then. Now I sometimes wish I had listened and stuck on because there is so much new music happening of the Coke Studio kind, which mixes the traditional with the modern, without losing out on either. I hope DD can be inspired too. If you’re interested, you could also make her listen to Shanker Tucker (Shruti Box Productions). I dont *like* his music, per se, but I like the idea of what he is doing. And I suspect DD might see some potential there too!

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