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Coke Studio 12

Discussion in 'General Photos & Multimedia' started by ghazi52, Jan 25, 2019.

  1. ghazi52

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    Ali Sethi takes the stage on Coke Studio 12 in Gulon Main Rang, a ghazal by Faiz Ahmed Faiz that weaves multiple layers of meanings within images of blossoming springtime and romantic yearning..


     
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  4. atya

    atya SENIOR MEMBER

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    This is next level. Was waiting for her entry
     
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    Last edited: Nov 23, 2019
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    Code_Geass FULL MEMBER

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    It felt like abida parveen
     
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  12. ghazi52

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    Why Coke Studio still matters

    PEERZADA SALMAN



    Even the criticism of the Studio’s current season shows that expectations continue to be sky high.

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    It is hard to define Pakistani culture. The moment you start developing arguments to describe linguistic, sartorial, artistic and culinary dissimilarities between Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, you will invariably stumble upon elements that connect the three in more ways than one.

    Aren’t Barray Ghulam Ali Khan and Roshan Ara Begum a shared musical heritage of the subcontinent? And it’s a good thing. So there has been a lingering question of identity, which has nothing to do with identity politics, which has never found a credible answer in the post-independence cultural environment of Pakistan.

    In 2008, Coke Studio surprised everyone, pleasantly one might add, with its ingenuity and its uninhibited approach to conjuring up a creative atmosphere that allowed musicians to further explore what was already theirs. In doing so, it went on to define Pakistani music as essentially unique and unencumbered by the happy burden of tradition. This was an organic phenomenon.

    To begin with, the induction of Rohail Hyatt was an intelligent move made by those who came up with the idea for the Studio (it could be Rohail himself, one doesn’t know).

    Many believe he had a major part to play in pop band Vital Signs’ phenomenal success primarily because of his excellent composition skills and the ability to create melodies that had Western instrumental influences but eastern or, let’s say, the subcontinent’s melody structures. This meant the best of both worlds: contemporary pop tunes rooted in Pakistan’s land.

    Even the criticism of the Studio’s current season shows that expectations continue to be sky high with the show that has all but defined new Pakistani music

    Many of Vital Signs’ songs, such as Saanwli Saloni, are a testimony to this observation, where lyrics and vocals smacked of eastern sensibilities but with chord progressions, riffs and percussions that had a 20th century European flavour.

    Rohail had grabbed the opportunity with both hands because he knew he was the one who could make Coke Studio a modern-day wonder without losing sight of conventional Pakistani music. However, in the initial couple of editions, the emphasis was more on showcasing pop bands to get the ‘live’ music feel in order for the younger audience to get hooked.

    But what kind of pop bands? Strings and Atif Aslam.

    This was an important juncture. Strings were a group that used synthesisers and a light, pop-ish mood with lyrics that were innately ‘literary’ in their phraseology. For example, ‘Sar kiye yeh pahaarr, daryaon ki gehraiyon mein tujhe dhoonda hai.’

    Similarly, when Atif first sang for the Studio he meshed the groovy track Jalpari with a delectable Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan number Tu mera dil. This was an experiment that Rohail seemed to enjoy and excel in. A star, known as Coke Studio, was born.

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    Rachel Viccaji and Shuja Haider - Photos: Kohi Marri


    It didn’t take much for the show to get attention and traction across the border in India and in those parts of the world where expatriate Pakistanis and Indians lived in huge numbers. India had been making great film music for decades. Pakistan, film-wise, was equally good up until the late 1970s when Ziaul Haq’s vision was imposed on the country and the film industry was reduced to a factory of shabbily-made movies, mostly in Punjabi.

    Now, a couple of decades later, Pakistan was making music which was being noticed not just because it was top-notch but also because it was distinctly unique in its form and presentation.

    It didn’t take much for the show to get attention and traction across the border in India and in those parts of the world where expatriate Pakistanis and Indians lived in huge numbers.

    Coke Studio influenced shows in India participated in by the country’s top most musicians and composers. But none could enjoy the magic of their Pakistani progenitor.

    Here’s a tiny evidence of the Pakistani show’s popularity. In 2016, in one of the sessions at the Karachi Literature Festival (KLF), Indian comedian Sanjay Rajoura, when pushed to respond to a question about Kashmir, said: “Kashmir le lo, Coke Studio de do [Take Kashmir, give us Coke Studio].”

    After six or seven years of its inception, as always happens with any product, the standard of the programme began to drop a bit. Rohail left the show and the reins of the show were given to Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia (of Strings). They did a fine job, but they were not the initiators of the idea and Rohail’s was a hard act to follow.

    Voices of concern were raised that the quality of the songs being produced was no more worth writing home about. Strings did a few seasons and left, followed by Ali Hamza and Zohaib Kazi taking over for a year.

    And now Rohail is back in the saddle.

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    Abrarul Haq - Photos: Kohi Marri


    The show is again in the spotlight. The moment Atif Aslam’s version of a hamd — originally presented by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan — went on air, people began to talk about it. Many loved it. Some didn’t. But check out how many views it has had so far on YouTube, and you’ll know ‘what just happened’. In terms of a purely musical yardstick, it is easily Atif Aslam’s best live performance.

    The first episode of Season 12 was appreciated. And the second had Abrarul Haq sing his famous Billo with the kind of the ‘feeling’ that’s the hallmark of Coke Studio. Then came the groovy Saiyaan by Shuja Haider and Rachel Viccaji.

    There have been duds as well. But if there’s criticism, you know it’s because the expectations continue to be sky high from Coke Studio and from Rohail. There’s few things on Pakistan’s cultural scene that still matter like that to people.
     
  13. ghazi52

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  14. ghazi52

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    Coke Studio 12 comes to an end

    By Maheen Sabeeh

    Instep reviews episode five, which comes off as a mixed bag, audio-visual wise.


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    Coke Studio 12, the behemoth that is more than a TV show, is still judged by the whole country or at least those who still watch it, as well as the music industry at large.

    It is like a cricket match, which when it works is cause for celebration – albeit mostly on social media – and if it fails, triple the amount of hate takes over that same digital space. We already showcase strange love for cricket and while Coke Studio has never led to the same magnitude of national response, it has now created a kind of toxicity where a bad Momina Mustehsan song (‘Ko Ko Korina’) will lead people to make death threats on social media and the return of Rohail Hyatt will become something to be worshipped. In short, it elicits extreme reactions or complete ignorance.

    That’s never a good thing. But that’s exactly what’s going to happen when words like ‘Sound of the Nation’ and ‘Cultural Cohesion’ are thrown at you with a TV show that started out as a space where people could showcase their original new music and not just get lost in the realm of ‘Sufi’ or worse, pander to the public. We’ll get to the larger verdict eventually but let’s look at the second last episode of Coke Studio 12 first.

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    Episode 5 – The return of icons and commercialism

    In episode 5, not only did icons like Hadiqa Kiyani and Fariha Parvez – both of whom do not get enough credit in our industry – return to the series, but so did Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, who appeared for a second time (as did Aima Baig). Shamali Afghan was the only new voice in the episode.

    Hadiqa Kiyani opted for folk (which after Wajd is not hard to predict) with poetry by Bulleh Shah, Waris Shah, and Mian Mohammad Baksh. During the BTS, she explained the larger meaning behind the song and noted that you have to look beyond the superficial to feel the depth. She spoke of Ishq, be it for the Divine or worldly, and how ‘love’ is unconditional.

    The song, titled ‘Daachi Waaliya’ finds Hadiqa Kiyani at her best on Coke Studio as a performer in all her years because her own understanding of Sufism and folk has deepened with time, which is why Wajd (Volume 1) sounded so genuine. Thematically, ‘Daachi Waaliya’ is more Hadiqa than Coke Studio but sonically it is Coke Studio and it sounds a little like Coke Studio of the earlier Rohail Hyatt years. It’s got groove and little percussive sounds as well like the past, with the addition of Uncle Tanveer Tafu, who is playing an unnecessary mandolin in this song. There is such a thing as too much and repeating past successes is also boring. But Hadiqa is the reason you don’t shut off the song. The set has changed and so have the players and, though shot well with darkened hues, it looks a little like the old Coke Studio whereas by now it needed to evolve drastically – even if it meant being shot on the street or in a basement with natural light coming via windows. We saw a drastic change last year and decided to write it off even though it was a complete visual and audio change.

    Anyway, moving on to Fariha Parvez, she sings ‘Balma’ which is in the language Braj and though is a Thumri, a semi-classical form of singing, this song according to Fariha Parvez is the pop version of it, which is an interesting way of describing this lasting love song and once again, you wonder why the likes of Fariha Parvez and Hadiqa Kiyani are not given more songs in films, in music shows because, if anything, their skill level keeps going up, never dwindling, something that is apparent in ‘Balma’. It is also a bit of hodge-podge to put Hadiqa and Fariha in the same episode.

    With Rahat Fateh Ali Khan collaborating with Aima Baig – both in their second appearance on the season – Uncle Tanveer Tafu returns and opens the episode with his now-irritating banjo for some reason. RFAK doesn’t sound half-bad with ‘Heeray’ but that banjo continues to kill the percussive instruments and when Aima Baig enters, all hope dies because it is Jhankar Beats Volume Coke Studio and we are again harkening back to the old days of Coke Studio where this very sound had the country hooked.

    The saving grace comes in the form of Shamali Afghan, who sings in ‘Pashto’ and makes his debut with a song called ‘Mram Mram’ (‘I Am Dying’) with lyrics by Khatir Afridi and Rahim Ghamzada.

    All you have to do is give him a chance and he will work his magic; the beat is so different that it works and the Jhankar Beats is not used here. Add to it Kami Paul’s playing of the drums like a dream and you have a near perfect song.

    – Watch out for the review of the finale episode and our Coke Studio verdict.

    – Photography by Kohi Marri
     
  15. ghazi52

    ghazi52 PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    THE ICON INTERVIEW: ‘I DON’T THINK THE JOB IS DONE’ — ROHAIL HYATT
    Madeeha Syed
    December 08, 2019


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    Photography by Kohi Marri
    I get to the main door and pause. Do I go downstairs, in the basement, where the studio is or upstairs where the living area is? I’m meeting Rohail Hyatt, the (original) producer of Coke Studio, the day after the last episode of season 12 came out. I’m surprised he’s agreed to an interview so quickly. Has he even had time to decompress?

    “The roof,” responds a member of the household staff. Inside, even before you begin making your way up, you can see plants, mostly vines, trailing their way down the stairs. Upstairs, the space is filling gradually with knick knacks, treasures that Rohail has collected from around Pakistan and the world, including masks seen on previous CS sets, leading all the way to the top of the house.

    The roof is a little oasis in this concrete city. A green space with its own flora existing peacefully. It started off with placing a table, couple of chairs and some plants in one section and gradually, the whole rooftop was taken over until it’s now become an outdoor living space complete with its own sitting room, dining area, resting space and bathroom.

    Up here, you’re removed from the chaos of city life. It’s oddly peaceful. As the sun fades into twilight, little twinkling lights turn on the roof. He’s built this space very meticulously, section by section. Rohail is notorious for rarely stepping out in public and it’s not just because he gets mobbed by people that recognise his distinctive light chestnut brown hair and firangi features. I can understand why he would spend most of his time here.

    Huge expectations were attached to the return of Coke Studio’s original producer, after a hiatus of six years. Some felt the latest season did not live up to them. In his first exclusive interview, the revered music producer talks about what he was hoping to accomplish and why he thinks a lot more still needs to be done

    Although Rohail has always exuded calm even in the face of chaos, it’s usually his eyes and forehead that give away how he’s actually feeling — in more stressful scenarios, his forehead might be slightly furrowed, hazel-coloured eyes wide or narrow depending on the situation, shooting little darts of fire. But now, he comes across as oddly peaceful — it feels like he’s returned from meditation rather than someone who’s just wrapped up a whole season of music.

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    It’s been 12 years since he first started Coke Studio and, outwardly, time has taken its toll. While his hair has always been a shade of very light brown, now the beard is downright blonde and there are streaks of blonde on his head. It’s the sun, he laughs.

    You’re coming back to Coke Studio after six years, I say to him. “Has it been that long?” responds Rohail in surprise, settling on a couch with a shawl. Karachi evenings are getting cooler.

    Yes. Were you expecting that phone call asking you to return? “No,” he says. “They came earlier as well, but this time it was a very different circumstance — it was like they would pull the plug on the show if I didn’t [return].”

    Was he ready for it? I’ve been observing Rohail for over a decade and work on each season would consume him completely — his every waking moment is spent on it. “As has this last one,” he says. “But that’s just a quirk in my personality. That’s with anything I do. It’s my strength and my weakness.”

    Did it get too much when he left CS the last time six years ago? “Uff yeah. Definitely. I don’t think anyone should be in a position where they have to do six seasons in a row!” he laughs.

    “You get saturated,” he confesses. “You start questioning why you were doing this in the first place? We were always contemplating options [for other producers]. We’re still contemplating options. Producers, please send in your resumes!”

    But Rohail is of the opinion that it shouldn’t be that one producer takes over only after the other leaves, “I would love for some producer energies to join and we work together before it’s handed over to them.”

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    Rohail with SM Baloch from Banur’s Band


    What was it like putting the show together again after all this time? “It was very different from the first six experiences because of where we I’d been in the last five years,” Rohail says. “I was very clueless as to what the reaction was going to be. I’m clueless even now!” he laughs. “I was overwhelmed by all the love and warm wishes people poured on my return and for the season. This certainly makes the effort on the project worthwhile. It was very touching.”

    I worked with Rohail as a producer in season one (only). Back then, he was coming out of relative self-imposed obscurity and several young artists I spoke to either had a vague idea or didn’t know who he was. I can’t imagine it’s something he’s confronted with now. “I wouldn’t know — I don’t receive those calls!” he laughs. “If I did, there’d be a problem. I’d be like, ‘Rohail? Rohail kaun hai? [Who is Rohail?]’”

    How did he decide what the line-up was going to be? Because when the list came out the feeling was that it’s… “Safe,” he chuckles. “Yeh ‘safe’ kya hota hai? [What does ‘safe’ mean?]” Familiar, people you have featured before, I elaborate. “I think it was a mix of both,” he says. “I don’t know if that’s safe but I wanted to stick to people who are professional musicians and singers. That’s their primary line of work. I’m not saying actors or actresses can’t come in the future but let’s re-establish the show’s connection with music, holistically.”

    Back in the day, during the show’s origins, I remember Rohail feeling very strongly that this show was supposed to promote Pakistan’s folk, classical and indigenous music by marrying it to more popular or mainstream music. It seemed revolutionary at the time, but it’s been a decade since then, more shows have come out, and I think it’s safe to say that now we are more aware of our indigenous music and enjoy it.

    Has he ever felt there needs to be a change in format? “Change, in a show like this… unless you say we’ve explored as much as needed to be done and now we know who we are, what our heritage is…” he starts. “And for anyone that suggests that, ek moun pe patakhay jaisa thappar parta hai [you get slapped hard across the face]. Because even now, we know nothing. Seriously. Should the format change before the job is done? I don’t think the job is done.”

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    Rohail sharing a laugh with Ali Sethi


    Perhaps take the audience to where the artists are from? “I wouldn’t be interested in fragmenting,” he says firmly. “This is not a travelogue where the music is done separately. That can be a part of it, but the core Coke Studio is all about a meeting place. You meet there and go to wherever you came from. What’s left behind is what you share with the world. The core aspect of the format shouldn’t be changed.”

    One gets the impression that, this time round, the show wasn’t as popular in media circles as it has been previously. But when one went online, each video would have hundreds of thousands to millions of views, with comments from around the world.

    “That transcending power of music is very endearing,” he says. “Our roots, come from many places. I was told the first song was trending in eight different countries. In the UAE, it was trending at number one. I’m sure it’s mostly through Pakistanis and Indians everywhere but it transcends that. That’s a wonderful sign of its growth — that is love spreading.”

    As far as losing popularity in media circles, Rohail relates his experience with the Vital Signs. “In the beginning we were ‘niche’,” he says. “We were ‘cool’ and immediately accepted in elitist circles. That lasted about a year and a half.” Until they were sponsored by a major soft drink brand. “The moment we became awami, they [the elite] ditched us. But we started doing more concerts — National Stadium ke level ke concerts [concerts at the level of the National Stadium].

    “What Coke Studio might have lost over the years, it gained in the masses. Coolness returns as well — it depends on what kind of song you’re doing.”

    There have also been accusations of the show appropriating different cultures. The most prominent has been the backlash against the Sindhi classic, Tiri Pawanda, in the last episode by the all-female Punjabi group, Harsakhiyan. The arrangement and the vocal tones of the group are very promising but the issue is that they aren’t pronouncing the words correctly, they don’t have the right linguistic rhythm and, as a result, the song lacks gravitas.

    “If a Persian singer sings Nusrat’s [Fateh Ali Khan] song, as a tribute, we’ll find his Urdu a bit weird,” responds Rohail. “But you’re missing the whole point — he’s making an effort to sing in your language. That’s what you appreciate — the heart behind it. Atif is singing in Balochi as well in Mubarik Mubarik. He’s not Baloch. His words will not have perfect pronunciation. He’s harmonising with Baloch culture and reaching out to them.

    “The argument swings both ways. It shouldn’t mean that now we don’t need Sindhi [artists] since Punjabis can sing in Sindhi!’” he laughs. “That would be very shameful.”

    The show also fell into some copyright issues this time round. Several songs from the season, including Saiyaan and Billo were taken off YouTube, due to alleged copyright infringement. This has never happened before.

    “It has. But not to this scale,” explains Rohail. “Take the example of Billo. A lot of people said Rohail didn’t do his work right, what kind of leadership is this, that Billo came off, or there were strikes on the other songs. It gives the impression that we were careless and didn’t do our [due diligence].”

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    But according to him, they did. They confirmed with the artists, signed agreements, ran IPO searches and confirmed ownerships. “The rights for Wohi Khuda Hai are with a UK company that pinged on the IPO searches,” says Rohail. “Apparently Nusrat signed off all his rights to them. They said you’re welcome to launch the song, just put our name as publisher. We’ll collect our royalties from wherever — your Spotify etc. Case closed. They didn’t strike us [on YouTube]. They’re earning money off the song.

    “But when we did Billo’s due diligence, the claimant who struck on Billo wasn’t pinging anywhere,” he relates. “The claimant did not pop up on the IPO searches, and Abrar ul Haq signed a licensing document with us for Billo that asserted his complete ownership of Billo. However, since the claimant had Billo on their YouTube channel they automatically have strike power. When the strike happened, we checked in with the artist and he completely negated the claim and said this was fraudulent. The claimants, when we reach out to them, say they have documentation to prove their claim.

    “How do we protect ourselves from this situation where all due diligence was completed but a claimant takes down the video nonetheless? We are open to clearing licenses from any rights-holder but, in this case, YouTube was used to negotiate instead of an amicable negotiation.” Rohail is understandably frustrated.

    But he’s choosing to use this as an opportunity to gear up and prepare for the next season.

    When do you begin working on that? “We already have!” he laughs. But it’s only been one day since the last episode came out! “I know,” he confirms while adding that they’re open to receiving music portfolios from anyone who is interested, from any part of the country. He won’t confirm if they’ve narrowed down any artists or music. But for Rohail, anything is possible.

    Published in Dawn, ICON, December 8th, 2019