KARACHI – Following the announcement of Coke Studio first episode, Coke Studio Season 7 Episode 2 Two will air on 28th September across all leading broadcast networks nationwide featuring “Washmalay” by Komal Rizvi, Akhtar Chanal Zahri & Momin Durrani, “Phool Banro ” by Humera Channa & Abbas Ali Khan, “Charkha” by Javed Bashir and “Chehra” by Zoheb Hassan.
“Washmalay” performance sees a reuniting of the bubbly, pop stylings of Komal Rizvi with the regal, rustic presence of Baloch folk singer Akhtar Chanal Zahri. The two hail from entirely disparate backgrounds – Komal’s a Karachiite who grew up performing pop music while Akhtar Chanal Zahri’s signature, Pride of Performance winning voice has sung the classical folk and Sufi songs of the Balochi, Brauhi and Sindhi languages for over four decades. Joining them is veteran voice actor Momin Durrani, whose expertise in voicing programs in regional languages provided him the insight and expertise for this song. The song Washmalay is a traditional Balochi “folk song,” in the truest sense of the term – it is a song sung primarily by women and families during wedding festivities, and is generally performed as a tukbandi in which the singers ‘string along verses’ with similar themes. Consequently, its lyrics are not written by any one person, but rather the different addition of lyrics come to represent layers of time itself. The song originated from the Makrani Baloch but soon disseminated throughout Balochistan and is often the centre of wedding festivities due to its simplicity of verses as well as the joyous nature of its tune. The original beat pattern of Washmalay is African, given its Makrani origin; however the Coke Studio version has employed a percussion arrangement in a fusion of eastern and western styles. There were three saaz instruments used: the three-stringed damboora, the sarinda and finally the banjo which despite its apparent roots is not only common amongst the Baloch but also arrives in this song like the return of a long-lost loved one. This version has also had an orchestral acoustic atmosphere, and the repetition of Washmalay is set to delicate variations strewn within the music.
“Phool Banro” is an old Rajasthani wedding song, which has been popularly sung by Reshma. In Coke Studio, Season 7, Humera Channa who has the voice and presence of true majesty has resung this rachi basi dhunn which is deeply embedded in the fabric of shaadi remembrances and given it a new life, taking it beyond it’s time-limited format and reinventing it. This geet immediately immerses one in the love and togetherness which can only be felt during the time of someone’s wedding, especially thanks to the alaap Abbas Ali Khan graces the song with. The styling and aura created by the alaap is further accentuated by the accents provided by the flute and acoustic guitars, and it is these sounds which build up the song to a spectacular denouement in the signature Coke Studio style. In the case of this song’s lyrics, they describe the wedding of a boy who the parents and relatives are singing for. They are celebrating and heralding how he was once a mischievous boy, whom they indulged with their love despite his naadani. Now they cannot believe that he has transformed into a groom, and highlight how auspicious the event of his wedding is as he starts his new life.
One of the most recognisable and iconic South Asian voices of the new millennium, Javed Bashir returns to Coke Studio for the third time with a rendition of Baba Bulleh Shah’s eternal classic, “Charkha”. A song which has been graced by some of our most beloved voices, Javed describes its central message being one of commitment – a commitment to one’s passions, one’s beliefs, and one’s ideals. The lyrics speak of the revolutions of the spinning wheel – how their movement mimics the relentless, unending cycle of life, and how the yarn which gets spun out provides testament to the quality of one’s life and purpose. For this performance, the producers chose to keep two parallel sets of compositions, allowing for the traditional to run alongside the modern, rather than being replaced by it. Javed Bashir also added some of the hallmarks of the signature styles of Southern Indian classical singing, thus ensuring that even if the coming together of the aesthetic elements is new, they retain the reverence of those who sang it before. The song was composed on the popular night-time raag Bhageshwari, but using a process known as mishermayl, Javed added elements and sur’s from other rags to give a sense of an extempore performance.
“Chehra” marks the return of one of Pakistan’s most storied and beloved pop icons, Zoheb Hassan. This performance revives a classic track from the 1984 album Young Tarang, the release of which had initially established Zoheb and his celebrated, late sister Nazia Hassan as the biggest pop stars in South Asia. The song itself is an ode to both the act of love as well as the beloved themselves. It lyrics unravel a desire and a constant beseeching for the beloved to provide another glimpse, another smile. In this version, the Coke Studio sound transforms the synth-pop sounds of the original into the elegiac accents of the violin. In the same vein, the rubab is introduced as a stunning replacement to the guitar sounds and is used to provide a point of departure from the original while further accentuating its intent. The soulful sincerity of the composition is brought to a soaring crescendo when Aamir Zaki unleashes a blues-laden solo on his electric guitar. Few Pakistanis are as synonymous with the guitar as Aamir Zaki, and his performance here adds both depth and vitality to the song. The song concludes how it began, led out by the stately mourning of the violins.
Episode Two of Coke Studio’s Seventh chapter in its journey will be aired on all major television channels, radio stations and available online across Pakistan. The airing schedule for the second episode can be viewed at CokeStudio’s Official Website.