Coke Studio Season 2 [Artists Final List]

March 24, 2009


Rohail Hyatt Photo

Rohail Hyatt

A Pakistani legend in his own right, Rohail Hyatt is an award winning artist and producer par excellence whose art is in a state of constant dynamism, from his formative years on the 1980’s pop scene, to his leadership of the pioneering band Vital Signs, to his collaborations with icons ranging from Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Ustaad Saami to film-maker Shoaib Mansoor.

This visionary produced the definitive, critically acclaimed and now iconic music project ‘Coke Studio’ in 2008 which captured the essence and nature of the collaborative relationship between eastern and western music in Pakistan.

This year Rohail brings back Coke Studio for a second season with a passion, ambition and drive to promote pride in music and to celebrate what it is to be Pakistani.

Featured Artists

Ali Zafar

Ali Zafar is undoubtedly one of Pakistan’s most influential musicians. In addition to his work as a singer, this multifaceted personality is a youth icon, a songwriter, a composer, an artist and an actor and was seen and heard singing movingly at Coke Studio’s debut season last year.

Ali released his first album Huqa Pani in 2003 which was an instant hit, selling over 600,000 albums worldwide. He later went on to win several major awards including Best Music Album at the Lux Style Awards, Indus Music Awards and Asian Bollywood Music Awards. In 2006, Ali released his second album Masty to much acclaim. This phenomenon has a massive fan following both nationally and internationally and was bestowed the honour of Pakistan’s Youth Icon at the exalted Lux Style Awards in 2007.

Back by popular demand for another season of Coke Studio is Ali Zafar and his new avatar.

Arieb Azhar Photo

Arieb Azhar

Best known for his resonant voice and Sufi inspired melodies, Arieb Azhar is fast becoming a star in Pakistan, having spent over a decade in Croatia where he produced two albums of purely Irish music.

It was Arieb’s desire to reconnect with his roots and heritage that led him back to the country and in 2006, he launched himself with the release of single Husn-e-Haqiqi (Beauty of truth) from his debut album Wajj. This record is heavily inspired by the poetry of Sarmad Sehbai, Khawaja Ghulam Farid and Bulleh Shah and Arieb’s genre has come to be recognized as spiritual lounge music.

This 2009, Arieb takes us on a devotional journey complete with poetry, harmony and spirituality at Coke Studio.

Atif Aslam

Atif Aslam is one of Pakistan’s leading superstars who shot to fame with the release of his mega hit single Aadat, followed by the successful release of his debut album Jalpari. In 2008, he was awarded Pakistan’s highest civilian honour, the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz.

Atif released his second album Doorie in 2006 which was awarded the album of the year at 2007 LUX style awards, and released his third record Meri Kahani last year. He has collaborated internationally, specifically with Bollywood, a result of which is that he is now an icon and a household name with the Pak-Indo national, international and expatriate community across the globe.

This year, Atif joins the Coke Studio team and brings to the set his sensational live act.

Javed Bashir Photo

Javed Bashir

Javed Bashir is one of Pakistan’s most recognized and acclaimed classical singers, hailing from a family of renowned qawaals. Having studied extensively under the great Ustaad Mubarik Ali Khan, Javed’s command of the classical singing tradition can be heard and seen in his work with the internationally reputed Mekaal Hasan Band, with whom Javed has been since 2002.

Javed has also ventured into the realms of pop, dance, bhangra and cross-cultural folk by collaborating with celebrated artists including Bally Sagoo and Sondre Bratland, a Norwegian folk artist, with whom he released an album titled Dialogue in 2006.

Javed’s powerful, soulful and engaging voice can be heard in 2009’s rendition of Coke Studio.

JoSH Photo


JoSH is an immensely popular Montreal based duo featuring Qurram Hussain, popularly known as Q and Rupinder Magon or Rup. The band is perhaps most coveted for their ability to fuse R&B, Hip-Pop influences with both modern and traditional bhangra beats and music.

Having preformed with the likes of Latino superstar Nelly Furtado and bhangra idol Sukhbir, JoSH enjoy much success nationally and internationally and have released three critically acclaimed albums to date. Last year, their song Mahi Ve received the award for best bhangra song of the year at the Pakistani Musik Awards.

In 2009, this multi cultural duo bring their bhangra and soul to Coke Studio’s centre stage.

Noori Photo


As one of the leading names in Pakistan’s music industry, Noori is often credited for revitalising rock music for Pakistan’s youth with the release of their first album Suno Ke Mein Hoon Jawan in 2003.

Internationally, Noori also teamed up with Indian pop singer Anaida for the single Naya Jahaan in 2003 following which they released their much anticipated record Peel Patti aur Raja Jani ki Gol Dunya in Pakistan in 2005. After a creative hiatus of almost 2 years, the rock sensations released their latest single Do Dil and are currently planning another cross border collaboration, this time with acclaimed Indian act Euphoria.

Brothers Ali Noor and Ali Hamza are best known for staging riveting live performances with unmatched amounts of raw energy and they will be seen rocking Coke Studio’s platform for its brand new season this year.

Riaz Ali Khan Photo

Riaz Ali Khan

A renowned eastern classical vocalist, Riaz Ali Khan has been somewhat of a child singing prodigy and hails from the illustrious Sham Chaurasia Gharana.

Khan Sahib received classical music training under the guidance of the legendary Salamat Ali Khan Sahib. He has performed, and represented Pakistan, at numerous international venues and is perhaps most heralded for his collaboration with Peter Gabriel with whom he performed live in Malaysia and England. Previously, Riaz Ali Khan was part of the Mekaal Hasan Band. He is currently working on his solo album Rang Raliyaan due to release in 2009.

This year, watch and listen to this legend set Coke Studio ablaze with his sensational alaaps, tans and sargams.

Saieen Zahoor Photo

Saieen Zahoor

Saieen Zahoor is one of Pakistan’s most enigmatic musicians whose mystical music is steeped in Sufi spirituality and devotion. Revered equally for his haunting voice and for his renditions of Kalaams by saintly poets Baba Bulle Shah and Mian Muahmmad Buksh, Saieen Zahoor has been a definitive part of Pakistani music for over five decades.

Saieen was born and raised in a rural family and started singing at the age of five. In fact, his first Sufi Kalaam lessons were under the guidance of Ustad Sain Raunka of Patiala. It was in 2006 that Saieen Zahoor released his first record Awazay and was also awarded the coveted Voice of the Year honour by the prestigious BBC World Music Awards. In 2007 he released a contemporary version of his Sufi song Allah Hoo as part of the film Khuda Ke Liye’s soundtrack to much acclaim.

This year witnesses the Saieen grace the Coke Studio stage with his evocative vocals and Ektara in all his mystical glory.

Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan Photo

Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan

Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan heralds the seventh generation of the renowned Patiala Gharana. Respected and appreciated for his ability to translate a classically trained voice over contemporary music, Shafqat was awarded the prestigious President’s Pride of Performance in 2007.

Shafqat has experimented with fusing the classical school with various music genres with bands such as Fuzon and also released his debut solo album, Tabeer in 2008 to much acclaim.

Awarded the coveted best live singer honour at The Musik Awards in 2008, this year Shafqat brings his tremendous taan-patterns and scintillating sargams to Coke’s Studio’s new season.


Strings is one of Pakistan’s all time most popular pop bands comprising Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia. Formed almost two decades ago, the band has grown to be coveted for its music, lyrics and energetic live act.  Strings won Best Artist and Most Favourite Band at the MTV Asia Awards in 2005 and Best Live Act at the Lux Style Music Awards last year.

The band originally debuted in 1990 with the release of their self-titled album which was followed by their second album, Strings-2 in 1992. After a band reshuffle and an eight year hiatus, Bilal and Faisal took the industry by storm with the release of critically acclaimed album Duur and 4 years later, Dhaani both of which enjoyed national and international popularity.

On the international circuit, the Strings song Na Janay Kyoun has the distinction of being part of the OST for Spiderman 2 and so far they have a plethora of hit songs that have featured in a number of Bollywood films. The boys are also known for having collaborated with internationally renowned acts like Euphoria and actors Sanjay Dutt and John Abraham.

Coke Studio welcomes back to the studio the Strings duo and their signature elegance for another season this year.

Zeb & Haniya Photo

Zeb & Haniya

Hailing from Kohat in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province is the country’s most anticipated female duo, Zebunnisa Bangash and Haniya Aslam. The ladies skyrocketed into the music scene with their first hit single Chup some years back and have since collaborated with top industry musicians for their debut album, released in 2008.

Zeb & Haniya’s music seamlessly mixes folk inspired music with blues grooves and jazzy rhythms into complex melodies grounded in local tradition. This year they bring their smoky vocals and sultry guitar playing to Coke Studio’s Season two.

House Band

Assad Ahmed Photo

Assad Ahmed

Assad Ahmed is one of Pakistan’s most celebrated and popular guitarists with his distinctive rhythm and lead guitar playing.

With over two decades of experience with rock and pop artists such as Junoon, Awaz, Vital Signs and now Karavan, combined with classical giants such as Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Assad is no stranger to the poetic fusion between classical eastern and contemporary western genres.

As one of the most seasoned musicians in the country, Assad steps up to the Coke Studio platform this year as rhythm and lead guitarist.

Babar Khanna Photo

Babar Khanna

Babar Khanna hails from a traditional music background and is one of the country’s most renowned and respected Dholak players. Armed with many years of national and international experience, Babar has performed in collaboration from the likes of Humaira Arshad and Jawad Ahmed to Jal and the Raaga Boys. He also has a seasoned history in teaching his instrument in the UK and was awarded by the BBC for his performance with the Shola Music Group.

In 2008, Babar’s beats were seen and heard as he played the Dholak for Coke Studio’s first season. This year he revisits the Coke Studio set bringing in a new aesthetic, renewed passion and pride.

Jaffer Zaidi Photo

Jaffer Zaidi

Jaffer Zaidi’s relationship with his keyboards is ongoing since the delicate age of 1 year and 15 minutes and has come to reflect a sound and style that neither caters to the eastern nor the western genres of music but rather that which is distinct as being comfortably in between. The talented son of legendary Nayyara Noor, Jaffer is also a composer and is front man of his band, Kaavish.

As one of Pakistan’s most exciting new talent, Jaffer brings his keyboards on to the set of Coke Studio for season two.

Javed Iqbal Photo

Javed Iqbal

Javed Iqbal is a violin maestro and has been playing the instrument for over four decades. He is the talented son of the great classical singer Bhai Chela Patialay Walay.

A legend in his own right, Javed has collaborated with artists from almost every era and genre: from Isa Khelvi, Farida Khanum, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Sahab, Madam Noor Jehan, Nayyara Noor, Humaira Channa and Abrar ul Haq. Javed has toured globally and extensively within Europe and Australia with the likes of Ghulam Ali and Abida Parveen. Javed is a regular on Radio Pakistan and can be heard playing the violin for various ghazals, pop songs and qawalis.

Watch and listen to Javed Iqbal’s violin mastery on the set of Coke Studio this season.

Mannu Photo

Kamran ‘Mannu’ Zafar

Kamran Zafar, popularly known as Mannu, is one of Pakistan’s most versatile and experienced Bass Guitarists and has had the distinction of performing with a diverse pallate of national artists, both live and in the studios including the Mekaal Hasan Band. Currently, Mannu plays live with Ali Azmat and is behind the bass on his second album, Klashinfolk.

As one of Coke Studio’s core band members from its acclaimed season one, Mannu will be tapping his fingers on the fret-board once again for Coke Studio’s second season this 2009.

Gumby Photo

Louis ‘Gumby’ Pinto

Louis John Pinto, better known to all as Gumby, is Pakistan’s most dynamic and popular drummer having been a definitive part of the country’s burgeoning music industry for the past two decades. Gumby has grown into a drum icon owing to the diversity and sheer magnitude of his work including performances and recordings in the genres of jazz with his band the Kolachi Quartet and with Aamir Zaki, to rock with Noori, Junoon and Ali Azmat, pop with the Vital Signs and to eastern and western collaborative music with Mekaal Hasan Band and Fuzon.

In 2008, Gumby was seen in his element, behind the drums at Coke Studio’s Season One. This year, catch the drumming dynamo as he returns to the scene with his instrument of choice for Coke Studio’s brand new season.

Natasha De Sousa Photo

Natasha De Sousa

A blue blooded Karachiite, Natasha joined the Coke Studio team last year as assistant video director and returns to the studio in 2009 as backing vocalist.

Armed with a wardrobe of skill and talent, Natasha is an actor, producer and voice over artist by profession and has also had much singing experience throughout her schooling years at both her school and church choirs. In 2001, this singing sensation staged solo opening acts for popular band Stereo Nation and bhangra bandmaster Sukbhir.

This season, catch Natasha in front of the camera for a change, at Coke Studio.

Omran Photo

Omran ‘Momo’ Shafique

Omran Shafique, fondly known as Momo, has proved himself to be one of Pakistan’s most skilled and indeed grooviest lead guitarists in no time at all. Currently front man and lead guitarist for his band, Mauj, Omran’s funky guitar playing sensibility can also be found in Co-Ven’s and Ali Azmat’s live and studio set-ups along with the likes of Zeb & Haniya and Maryam Kizilbash.

At Coke Studio last year, Omran showcased rhythmic and syncopated funk as one of the projects core band members. Omran reignites the set of Coke Studio with a second season in 2009 as guitarist.

Saba Shabbir Photo

Saba Shabbir

Born in Britain, raised in Islamabad and having lived in Lahore, Saba Shabbir brings her distinct flavour back to the Coke Studio recording platform for another season.

Her first public performance was at the Alhamra Auditorium in Lahore where she performed an original song with band Knumb, after which she went on to record single Akhri Baar with Shehryar Mirza. Her big national debut came in 2008 as backing vocalist for Coke Studio’s first season.

This season, catch Saba’s smoky pipes behind every artist at Coke Studio.

Sikander Photo


Sikander joins the Coke Studio house band on the dholak, an instrument he has been playing for over fourteen years. Having studied under the tutelage of the respected Ustaad Javed Faiz, Sikander has played live with the likes of Abrar-Ul-Haq, Jawad Tariq Tafo and Nisar Butt in Pakistan, Dubai and Bahrain.

He brings to Coke Studio his fusion dholak flavour this season.

Waris Baloo Photo

Waris Baloo

Waris Baloo is one of the Pakistan’s most seasoned Dholak players and joins the Coke Studio house band this year from the renowned Okara district, Dipalpur. Waris grew up heavily influenced by the classical school of music introduced to him by his Aashiq Ali Khan Sahab, a celebrated tabla player and his uncle Rafiq Hussain, a talented qawaal.

Waris earned his nickname Baloo from his teacher and guru Ustaad Ejaz Baloo Khan Sahab and has been playing the instrument for over two decades. He has performed with maestros Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Sahab, Ustaad Salamat Ali Khan Sahab and Madam Noor Jehan and has directed music for Arif Lohar, Shafqat Salamat Ali and Sher Miandad. Waris teaches eastern percussions at a school in Lahore and has also taught the instrument at a University in Denmark.

Watch Waris Baloo and his Dholak at Coke Studio this season.

Shazee Photo

Zulfiq ‘Shazee’ Ahmed Khan

Zulfiq Ahmed Khan, more popularly known as Shazee, hails from the city of lights, Karachi and is an experienced multi percussionist. His musical influences range from hip hop to pop to desi bhangra. A self taught musician, Shazee has been playing the percussions for over a decade and was an integral part of the Coke Studio house band last season. Shazee has also previously performed live in collaboration with the likes of stars Ali Haider, Sajjad Ali, Hadiqa Kayani, Jawad Ahmed and Ali Zafar both nationally and internationally with his band We-Five.

This year, Shazee brings his multi percussion set up to Coke Studio for a brand new season of music.

Guest Artists

Gurpreet Chana Photo

Gurpreet Chana

Gurpreet Chana is a tabla performer with distinctively rhythmic and melodic patterns. This year he joins Coke Studio all the way from Canada, where he is based. For Gurpreet what started as a desire to bang his hands on coffee tables in his youth ended up as a career in eastern percussion on his Gerrard street tables gifted to him by his grandfather.

Gurpreet has been learning and performing his instrument for the past twenty-six years and was taught the Punjab Gharana style by Ustaad Parshotham Singh and initially played kirtan or hymns at Gurudwaras. While he continues to be engaged with classical tabla style, his music has evolved to encompass more of a fusion feel. Previously, Gurpreet has performed and recorded with artists of the stature of Nelly Furtado, Wyclef Jean, Jorane, Kiran Ahluwalia,

This year, listen to the Gurpreet’s unique tabla beats at Coke Studio season two.

Gul Mohammad Photo

Gul Mohammad

Gul Mohammad is a young and talented classical artist whose forte lies in his mastery of the sub continental lute, the Sarangi. A generational tradition for Gul Mohammad, the Sarangi was also his grandfather Ustaad Ghulaam Muhammad Khan’s instrument of choice as was his father’s, the acclaimed Akhter Muhammad at NAPA, under whose tutelage Gul Mohammad came to learn the multi stringed instrument.

Gul has performed live with classical giants Salamat Ali Khan Sahib, Roshan Ali Khan and Ghulam Abbas Ali Khan Sahib and has also worked in the studios with producer Fasial Rafi and guitar guru Shallum Xavier. Gul regularly performs on Pakistan Radio and is currently working with percussive fusion band Taal Karisma on their debut album.

Gul Mohammad will be stirring soulful resonances at his bowed Sarangi at this year’s Coke Studio.

Rakae Jamil Photo

Rakae Jamil

Rakae Jamil brings his Sitar to Coke Studio as a guest musician for season two. Growing up in Lahore, Rakae was influenced by the classical music school and his sitar playing sensibility incorporates this with other more contemporary influences.

Rakae learned his instrument under the guidance of Ashraf Shareef Khan, Ikhlaq Hussain and Shujaat Hussain Khan in Delhi. He has been playing the instrument for almost 8 years and he teaches music at the prestigious Sanjan Nagar Institute and Aitchison College. Rakae has performed live at various concerts and festivals including the All Pakistan Music Conference in 2006 and World Performing Arts Festival in 2007. He is also a Musicology graduate from the National College of Arts.

Catch Rakae Jamil and his Sitar at Coke Studio this 2009.

Sadiq Sameer

A gifted musician, Sadiq Sameer joins the Coke Studio house band from Peshawar with his lute like instrument, the Iranian Rubab. With over a decade worth of Rubab playing, Sadiq also teaches his instrument at two schools in the NWFP.

Having trained under the guidance of Ustaad Mohammed Umer and his son Ustaad Humayun and heavily influenced by the works of Mehdi Hasan Sahab, Ghulam Mohammad and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Sahab, Sadiq is a regular on the airwaves with live shows on PTV National and Khyber and Radio Pakistan. He has performed live and in the studios with the likes of Zahoor Khan, Sunny, Rahim Shah, Jalal Sarhadi and the late Gul Khan and Ustaad Sher Afghan.

This year, Sadiq brings the magic of the Rubab live on to the set of Coke Studio.