Coke Studio – The great gig in the sky II

June 28, 2009

The second episode from Coke Studio goes on air tonight. These week’s show includes performances from Ali Zafar, Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan, Josh, Saieen Zahoor and Atif Aslam with Riyaz Ali Khan. Instep gives you a sneak peak…

By Maheen Sabeeh

(Nachna Painda)’
– Ali Zafar and Baqir Abbas


Last year Ali Zafar set Coke Studio on fire with his rendition of ‘Allah Hoo’ alongside Saeen Tufail Ahmed. This year he is back at Coke Studio.

“Something changed in Ali. You could see it. After ‘Allah Hoo’, Ali felt something on that floor last year,” said Coke Studio co-producer Umber Hyatt while speaking with Instep.
And if last year Ali Zafar took the first plunge, this year he has gone all out with ‘Dastaan-e-Ishq (Nachna Painda)’ which Ali composed with Baqir Abbas.

“We did the composition while the poetry is mostly Sufi but I wrote the chorus,” said Ali Zafar while speaking with Instep.

This is a different Ali Zafar, one who has been exploring folk and classical music for the last two years and those learnings have spilled onto Coke Studio where the focus is on our own heritage and sounds that hail from this soil. Not surprisingly, this is a perfect musical union. And then there is Baqir Abbas, whose flute has given this song a soft sonorous feel that will last long after the song stops playing.


‘Kinara’ – Riaz Ali Khan with Atif Aslam

As a rock song, ‘Kinara’ is one of the grungier tunes Atif Aslam has composed. Off his last record, Meri Kahani, the tune goes for a rollercoaster ride at Coke Studio where Atif joins Riyaz Ali Khan and gives an astounding performance. For the uninformed, Riyaz Ali Khan hails from the prestigious Sham Chaurasia Gharana and he is as lethal a singer as it gets.

With every song at Coke Studio, Atif Aslam is showing a different side of himself, one which is not afraid to explore new musical dimensions. This collaboration has plenty moments to prove this. And for whatever its worth, singing in front of the inimitable Riyaz Ali Khan is no small feat but Atif and Riyaz Ali Khan gel very well together.

‘Toomba’ – Saieen Zahoor featuring Ali Hamza on the banjo

Saieen Zahoor is phenomenal. Those who saw him on episode one of Coke Studio (season two) will have no doubt about his ferocious talent. And the ones who are unaware of this man’s might are in for a surprise. ‘Toomba’ is an original composition by Saieen Zahoor and the man is hypnotising and majestic. Besides Coke Studio house band (under the watchful eyes of Rohail Hyatt), Saieen Zahoor also gets musical support from Ali Hamza of Noori on the banjo.


As Ali admitted earlier, he discovered banjo on the sets of Coke Studio and he has taken to it. On ‘Toomba’, Ali Hamza strums the strings gently and it just makes the song so much more melodic and captivating.

‘Jaaney Do’ – Josh

Qurram Hussain aka Q
and Rupinder Magon aka Rup flew out from Canada for Coke Studio. This is their debut at Coke Studio and both Q and Rup have not disappointed us. Josh are known for their fusion of bhangra with contemporary beats but this tune is a nice change of pace from the band.

Featured on their record Kabhi, ‘Jaanay Do’ is a subtle ballad and Coke Studio musicians have added more character and mood to this soulful ditty. It is not one of the most famous songs Josh have written but it is one of their finest and at Coke Studio this fact shines out.

‘Ankhon Key Saagar’ – Shafqat Amanat Ali featuring
Gul Mohammad on the sarangi

‘Ankhon Key Saagar’ was ‘one of the most groundbreaking songs of this decade. It captured an entire nation by its pulse. It was and still remains the song that introduced the classes and the masses to the magic of Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan’s voice. At Coke Studio, that magic appears once again on a different level altogether.

“It is a sad song. He doesn’t find her in the end,” says producer Rohail Hyatt about the song. Keeping this sentiment in mind, Coke Studio has created a song that is epic in sound and truly spectacular. ‘Ankhon Key Saagar’ is a lot more heartbreaking and haunting. And Gul Mohammad’s sarangi – a multi string instrument – gives a mournful air to this song. Its absolutely brilliant stuff.

Source: The News | INSTEP