2016 is coming to an end, it’s time to take a break and celebrate. And what’s celebration without some fun music? Nothing! Let’s take a look at the best products of Pakistan’s music industry this year. Yup, that’s right; we are talking about Coke Studio Season 9.
Strings have been producing and directing the show since the last two years. They made a slight (read: huge) change to the format this season. For the first time in Coke Studio Pakistan, there were 6 guest producers instead of just 1. The impact of this was that we got to enjoy a good variety of songs that catered to the likes of all kinds of audience. Anyway, to be able to enjoy, one needs to calm down and relax first. Therefore, let’s start with the best Sufi songs of this season, which are a great music therapy for both the mind and the soul:
Anyway, to be able to enjoy, one needs to calm down and relax first. Therefore, let’s start with the best Sufi songs from Coke Studio Season 9, which are a great music therapy for both the mind and the soul:
On top of the list is Aaqa. It is a unique combination of Abida Parveen’s powerful vocals with Ali Sethi’s soft ones as they put heart and soul into this reverential Sufi poetry. Shuja Haider is the music director. He accomplishes the deep, soulful effect with the use of soft guitar, harmonium, Rubab and a touch of Qawwali. This single connects to you on a spiritual level and transports your mind to a place of deep peace, devotion and swirling Sufis dervishes.
Next, the most anticipated performance of the season, and rightly so, Rang is a duet of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and the beloved late Qawwal Amjad Sabri. An ancient Sufi poetry by Hazrat Ameer Khusro, this is a poem about the Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. It has been sung for decades by the very ancestors of the two performers particularly Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Ghulam Farid Sabri, respectively.
Shani Arshad has done a good job at directing the music. Both the legendary artists deliver unforgettably powerful, captivating performances. They radiate the essence of history, traditions, the Qawwali culture, nostalgia and selfless devotion altogether. This is not just Qawwali, it is an extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime musical marvel.
3- MAN KUNTO MAULA
This is a beautiful collaboration of Jawad Bashir and Ali Azmat. It is a fusion of Hazrat Ameer Khusro’s age-old Manqabat (a Sufi devotional poem) in praise of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and another written by Sabir Zafar. It is also a mixture of the pop-rock and Qawwali genres. Deliciously fusing genres, lyrics, singing styles and what not, this song is exactly what Coke Studio is all about. Jaffer Zaidi’s music direction is remarkable and the both the vocalists do justice to their respective genres, making this a treat for your ears.
4- MAULA E KULL
This is a refreshingly unique combination of the Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s (popular 12th-century Sufi saint) Sufi poetry and the mesmerizing vocals by none other than the Queen of Sufi, Abida Parveen herself.
The lyrics have an addition by Sabir Zafar. Shani Arshad’s attempt at letting Abida’s vocals and the Sufi chant ‘Haideri Um Qalandarum Mastam’ overpower the musical background by keeping it to a minimum creates a fascinating effect. The song starts off at a low pace and turns into a Dhamaal at the end. It is a composition that transports you to another world and makes you want to stay there.
5- KHAKHI BANDA
This duet has been written, composed and directed by Shuja Haider. It has Ahmed Jehanzeb’s melodious singing interlaced with Uzair Jaswal’s high-powered rock style vocals. The lyrics are overwhelmingly eye-opening. The music and vocals compliment them to create a great song to listen to.
6- LAGI BINA/CHALL MELE NOON CHALLIYE
This is an exquisite poem by Waris Shah. It has been sung beautifully by the very talented Sanam Marvi and the one-of-a-kind singing talent Saieen Zahoor. Jaffer Zaidi, the music director, merges Sindhi and Punjabi folk style music which goes well with the vocals to create a song which you would want just lose yourself into.
7- TU KUJA MAN KUJA
This is a devotional poem written in honor of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Written by Muzaffar Warsi and originally composed by the legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, this is a Qawwali featuring Rafaqat Ali Khan and Shiraz Uppal. Both the singers have sung well but Rafaqat overshadows Shiraz with his brilliantly captivating vocals. On the other hand, Shiraz Uppal’s music direction is commendable, as it does justice to the lyrics which are filled with reverential awe. Continue to PART 2 for the other genres.