Coke Studio released the first episode of Season 8 featuring ‘Aankharli Pharookai’ by Mai Dhai and Karam Abbas, ‘Bewajah’ by Nabeel Shaukat Ali, ‘Sayyon’ by the Mekaal Hassan Band and ‘Tajdar –i-Haram’ by Atif Aslam.
‘Aankharli Pharookai’ – is a fusion of a folk tune with classical rhythms featuring the powerhouse Mai Dhai alongside Karam Abbas. Originating from the deserts of Thar/Rajasthan, the traditional song is an omen of something good about to happen. The song represents a specific vibe that has been incorporated in the musical arrangement, such as the harmonium played by Arsalan Rabbani which subsequently becomes the driving engine for the track or the melodious Rubab solo played by Tanveer Tafu that serves as the climax of the finale. The classical vocals sung in raag Bhimpalasi combined with Mai Dhai’s singing makes an otherwise folk tune into an almost psychedelic anthem.
Bewajah’ is a love ballad performed by Nabeel Shaukat Ali that describes the quandary of lovers trying to forget their loved ones in an age old pain of heartbreak that follows romance. It’s a track that has several tempo changes altering between the classical feel of a ghazal accompanied by the pop rock feel of the guitar and the bass. The song Featuring the seamless melody of the flute played by Sajid Ali that travels throughout, along with a more mellow layer underneath contributed by the string section making it a track that will move and mesmerize the audience by its simplicity.
Based on the traditional folk tale of Heer and her lover Ranjha, the Mekaal Hasan Band set the scene perfectly on their song titled, ‘Sayyon’. Working within the signature MHB sound, the song opens with mastermind Pappu on flute accompanied by Sajid Ali and his brother Abid. The classical melody is pushed beyond limits by guitar maestro Mekaal Hassan with his skills as they rumble through Sharmistha Chatterjee’s vocals singing the words of Heer waiting for her beloved Ranjha to arrive. The houseband shines through with Omran’s timing on the electric guitar and Imran Akhoond’s skills on acoustic.
‘Tajdar-i-Haram’ has been etched in histories memory as a qawwali that’s resonated through the world – encapsulating the love for the Prophet. It appears on Coke Studio in an intoxicating performance by Atif Aslam that grips the audience with the lingering sound of the Tabla played by Babar Ali Khanna and with the dominating rhythm provided by Arsalan Rabbani on the Harmonium. Singing in Urdu, Persian and Arabic – Atif Aslam and the ‘Humnawa’ perform a soul-fuelled rendition of a classic keeping the genre as organic as it once used to be; and yet creating an almost hypnotic trance that will engulf the listener by its sheer magnitude.