The program focuses on a fusion of the diverse musical influences in Pakistan, including eastern classical, folk, and contemporary popular music. The show provides a platform for renowned as well as upcoming and less mainstream artists, from various genres, to collaborate musically in live studio recording sessions.
Coke Studio has been popular, receiving critical acclaim and frequently being rebroadcast on television and radio in Pakistan. The official Facebook page of coke studio has over 500,000 fans.
Coke Studio is an international franchise that was first launched in Brazil. In Pakistan, Coke Studio was first produced by Rohail Hyatt, of Vital Signs (band) fame, and his wife Umber Hyatt in 2008. Its Featured artists on each episode are backed by a house band and guest artists.
Coke Studio Pakistan has had three successful seasons. The first season premiered in summer of 2008, it had only few popular names like Strings, Ali Azmat, Ali Zafar and few underground names (though in international market) were Sajid and Zeeshan, Mauj and Saba and Selina, who interestingly were part of House band as well. It had a live audience as well. The first season didn’t get much of an attention or feedback except for a few breathtaking performances like Garaj Baras which was a fusion and a collaboration between Ali Azmat and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Allah Hu by Ali Zafar but everything changed ever since the second season hit the floor.
The second season broadcasted in June of 2009, and the list of artist included the likes of Atif Aslam, Noori, Zeb and Haniya, Javed Bashir, Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan, Arieb Azhar, as well as Ali Zafar and an international act of Josh. The season became an instant hit and got international acclaims. Coke Studio’s music could be heard everywhere, their music literally broke the jinx of differences across the world as it was loved and appreciated by all. The second season was like a grand celebration in itself. But this celebration was not over yet, the third season awaited all.
The third season went on air in June 2010, and had few additional names like Abida Parveen, Sanam Marvi, Tina Sani, Fakir Juman Shah, Arif Lohar known for their Folk and sufi music and Meesha Shafi, Entity Paradigm , Karavan, Aunty Disco Project to infuse that rock feel into the atmosphere. The continued acts included Noori, Zeb and Haniya and Arieb Azhar. The third season couldn’t live upto the expections as it kept on increasing day by day but what did make a difference was an act “Alif Allah Chambey Di Booty” performed by Arif Lohar and Meesha Shafi. A funky and rocking fusion of folk it got viewed 400,000 times in about five weeks. The streets filled with the words “Jugnee Jee”, the tunes made everybody dance and sing along. To top it all Abida Parveen’s musical connection with God was splendid.
The fourth season is expected to hit the floors on 22nd May when the world will once again delve deep into some coke. The expectations are higher and the wait is seemingly endless. This season will also feature Indian artist Rabbi Shergill and it is speculated that even Kailash Kher is inn as a guest artist.
Coke Studio has changed the musical scene of Pakistan. Nothing can be more soothing than music and for the common people Coke Studio has become like a medicine to forget their pains and sorrows. It is good to see when in the times where Pakistan is literally fighting with internal politics and extremism, Coke Studio have managed to keep their country’s head high with their work. And have given a reason to people to speak of their Country’s musical culture out loud which is something to be proud of.
The popularity of Coke Studio has taken it allover to India where it’s been launch under Red Chillies Production House and the place of a music maestro is being filled by Leslie Lewis of Colonial Cousin’s fame. The show will be telecast on MTV and is said to go on air in June 17th. There is a lot of pressure on folks to make it as big as their Pakistani counterpart. The line up artists are Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan, Shaan, Wadali Brothers, Sabri Brothers, Kailash Kher, etc. The success of Indian version would be based on some serious music excluding Bollywood as is being suggested by fans on it’s official Facebook page. The fans have clearly shown their disinterest regarding Bollywood music being played on this platform in order to maintain its charm.
We wish that the Indian version becomes as successful as the Pakistani version. And in no time is all over the places. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best !!