The second episode of Coke Studio titled Will got a really bad feedback on twitter and elsewhere too. I personally feel it had lows but wasn’t that bad as the complaints suggest and here is my justification.
Nothing much to write about. Justifying this would be a sin. Amanat Ali himself wasn’t sure of doing this as we can make out from the Behind the Scene footage. His singing style doesn’t fit the mood of song and lyrics are epic fail; in such state house band can’t come to your rescue. Bad start.
This track takes the cake as the best of the second episode. @SohailAbid at twitter describes the feel perfectly:
Listen to the song Momal Rano with your eyes closed. It’s not what you hear usually / Sindhi (folk) music has a special quality. As if it’s desert that’s singing, not the men.
Fakir Juman Shah with his troupe takes our spirit to another world; most will not understand a word of it but still you’re moved by it. Moreover it is like folk trance which reflects in the way they move their hands on instrument, captures the rhythmic aesthetic of samaa. Their continuous singing reminds you of the infinite and you can’t help but move with the track. A music journalist in Dawn Images wrote: “Had Fakir Juman Shah’s troupe performed Moomal Rano anywhere else, I would perhaps have enjoyed their show. For the simple reason that in CS, you expect something fresh and new added to the original song. In this case, the folk group (that has done many tours abroad including a recently-concluded tour of Australia), performed Moomal Rano just as they would have anywhere else. The pace of the song was unusually slow and the energy was missing.” I enjoy her reviews and she has a right to have an opinion but I believe that House Band brought a great feel to the song with the percussion and keyboards which you won’t get elsewhere. Most of the audience would have listened this for first time so I guess it was very appropriate to experiment with instrumentation and doesn’t take the soul away of the troupe’s performance. The ‘new’ doesn’t necessarily have to be both ways. As far the issue of being slow and low-energy is concerned, I refer you to the tweet above. If you make it Alif Allah Chambay Di Booty, it would lose the flavor. Post note: I imagined how would a Flamenco performance look on this beautiful rendition.
The high moment: Fakir Juman Shah kissing his instrument in the end.
Tann Dolay ***
The repetitive lyrics in Noori songs are a big problem as highlighted in this blog post titled ‘Too much of Tan dolay Man bolay can be bad for you’. I wish they don’t come up next with a song on tolay aur cholay. Jokes apart, I really like the melody of this song and Haniya is top-notch here. Zeb and Ali Noor also play their part very well. Ali Hamza got little bit into excitement and forgot that he actually had to sing and not cry (happily) like a crow. All in all it is a nice song and worth listening minus Ali Hamza. Okay he is forgivable, not that bad; maybe his style doesn’t match up with the other three and disrupts harmony. The song ends on a displeasing note, too much of wavering ‘jaa’aaaan’ but Zeb finally hits the correct note and the song is saved.
The high moment: Haniya’s first line. It was killer!
Bolo Bolo ****
If you have a problem with Anglo accent of the lead singer of Entity Paradigm (E.P.) then I can’t help you. People hated the fact that song got experimented and for many the treatment went out of hands. Many complained that we are missing fusion in most of the tracks. I believe Coke Studio is more about experimentation, fusion is just a part of it. People need fresh and new stuff and when E.P. is coming up with a soft rock version, everyone’s complaining. I find the original track very cheesy and I am being honest. Both the track and EP diverted from both the usual Coke Studio and band’s feel which turned everyone into a critic. In my opinion, they tried something different and nailed it. In fact, Fawad captured the emotion of song better than Sajjad Ali, hate me for this if you want. No points for Ahmed Ali Butt, he never got any from me anyways.
The high moment: The slower version which starts at 2:50
Naina De Akhay ****
Most of the people loved this track so did I. Some complained and honestly, they know more about music. The song was thought to be an insult to the form of Qawali, the actual genre of Rizwan and Moazzam, which Late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan also sang. My take on it’s treatment is that I actually enjoyed avoidance of shouts and loud claps. It was more soulful and less aggressive. The song matures with every alaap that duo attempted. The drums overtook the function of claps whereas guitars replaced the shout and lifted the song.
The high moment: Sajan Bin Raata Hoeyan Waddiyan
We all need to understand that Coke Studio stands for celebrating diversity in music and their strength is experimentation. It would be reflect in various forms whether it is giving chance to new musicians, putting folk in limelight, trying hands on fusion, playing with genres and instrumentation and sometimes even bringing raw/new songs/compositions on plate. If you are trying to look out for the same kind of stuff they gave you in previous seasons then you need to rethink about it’s spirit. Think is it more important to produce fusion music and the WILL for experimentation to explore broadened horizons? Whatever the case maybe, Coke Studio has redeemed itself with it’s third offering titled conception.