It’s the late summer in Pakistan and you know you can expect a few things to happen. Heavy monsoon rains that lead to days of load shedding, bad results for the cricket team, lots of patriotic songs on the TV and Coke Studio on the airwaves.
Season 9 kicks off tomorrow with a highly anticipated first episode, so here we are with our take on what to expect of the newly overhauled Coke Studio :
Ali Sethi and Abida Parveen
The collaboration that has the internet hyperventilating, this duet promises to be magical. On one hand there is Abida Parveen, the greatest living legend of Pakistani culture today. If you haven’t heard of her work before, you should stop reading this article and ask your estate agent to help you move from the rock you have been living under and find another place.
But many more of you might not have heard of Ali Sethi, or heard of him without having heard his music. Ali appeared last season on Coke Studio, but has been making a name for himself for a few years for his marvelous renditions of ghazals set to understated, modern compositions. Yaad Mei Teri and Dil Jalanay Ki Baat are the sort of performances that have left listeners swooning, even before they had a look at his Mashallah body and face.
Zeb Bangash and Noori
Speaking of Mashallah people, there is a lot of husan and talent in this collaboration as well, which is one that the Coke Studio has seen before. In Season 3, Noori and Zeb & Haniya had come together for a song that became infamous for incorporating every Noori-lyric-cliche around: Tann Dolay, Mann Bolay etc etc. But the song itself was rather delightful, and both these acts have been fantastic guests on the show before as well.
Noori have been enjoying the success of their LSA-winning album, Begum Gul Bakaoli Sarfarosh, as well as looking to establish their production credentials. They recently released Pyar Wyar with QB, and are also one of the music directors for this season.
Zeb Bangash is no longer part of the ethereal charms of Zeb & Haniya, but her recent project is just as fascinating. Bringing together musicians from various parts of the world, she is currently the lead of a band called Sandaraa, which has put out a superb EP this year.
Naseebo Laal and Umair Jaswal
The question of whether you know of Naseebo Laal’s music or not is one of the most reliable burger-exposing litmus tests in Pakistan. An institution of Pakistani film and folk music, Naseebo’s trademark voice is heavier and sultrier than monsoon clouds that are just about to burst. She has often been used brilliantly in some risqué songs like Kundi Na Kharka Sohniya and Pyaar di Ganderi which have been lent credibility by her powerhouse vocals.
Older fans of Umair Jaswal would also remember him for his powerhouse vocals when he was lead singer for the heavy metal band Qayaas. Since then, he has moved to lighter parts of the periodic table in terms of his music, landing a hit last season with Sammi Meri Waar for his…err… ‘dancing’ as much as his vocals.
Back in the early 2000’s when Musharraf still wore khaki and Taher Shah still had a buzz cut, Ali Khan made some sort of record by releasing a hit song with the fewest lyrics possible. His song, Saathiya, basically involved him repeating that word about seven hundred and forty three times.
Returning now with a George-Clooney-stranded-on-a-desert-island-look, he has a shot at returning to the mainstream once again. The promo for his song doesn’t give away much, other than the fact that he wrote it around the same time as Saathiya. Let’s see if its lyrics involve more than a few words too.
Well, we sure as hell are excited for the new season of Coke Studio to bring us some much needed musical respite from everything that’s been going around in the real world. What are you looking forward to in the upcoming season?