‘Jana’ was originally released in 1982 in Nazia and Zoheb Hassan’s second album titled Star. The songs from this album, including Jana, were also part of the soundtrack for the Bollywood film Boom Boom. A ballad sung by a couple expressing their love for one another, the original version of Jan was notable for the use of synths to create a dreamlike atmosphere. For the Coke Studio version, the song’s sense of occasion as well as the respect it has earned over the years is translated into the reverence of the orchestra. Accompanying them in the composition are accents on the acoustic guitar by the virtuous Amir Zaki, adding an emotional depth and narrative to the sound. Joining Zoheb in this duet is Zoe Viccaji, whose on-point performance serves as homage to the late Nazia Hasan, retaining the sense of unblemished wonder towards love inherent in the lyrics.
Penned by the subcontinent’s foremost musical genius Hazrat Amir Khusrau, ‘Chaap Tilak’ is an instantly recognisable qawwali that has been graced by every legendary voice of this region for the past many centuries. Written in braj bhasha, the popular country dialect which was a forerunner of Urdu, its beauty lay in its simplicity. Sung from the perspective of a young girl, it is replete with modest yet enchanting symbols, as it celebrates the splendour of losing oneself in love. Both the use of motifs as well as the language itself were deliberate creative choices by Hazrat Amir Khusrau, as they communicated to the common people using their own ideas and aesthetics. This season’s Coke Studio serves as the host to a resplendent performance of this classic by Pakistan’s greatest living artists, Abida Parveen and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. The two musical legends have performed this song almost as a story, delivering the verses in an exhilarating back-and-forth style. The song’s composition is deliberately structured to create an environment where both these distinctive voices had the freedom to be heard on their own terms.
Javed Bashir’s ‘Yaad’ is an evocative Sufi poem that reworks traditional motifs in contemporary lyrics. Penned by Karamat Ali Asad, Yaad adapts a traditional asthaayi (the initial phrase of a fixed melodic composition) and builds upon the idea presented within it, namely that the agony for the beloved has left the poet unable to continue with their daily life, neglecting even their worship to God in the process. Such a seemingly sacrilegious juxtaposition is central to Sufi poetry, which stresses upon finding the Almighty through love rather than ritual. The desire to be reunited with the beloved is ultimately the path towards reunion with the Creator Himself. For Coke Studio, Javed Bashir performed this song in his distinctive style, using the process of mishermayl to bring together elements of the night-time raag Bhageshwari as well vocal stylings associated with qawwali. Ustad Tanveer’s use of the rubab is also a particularly memorable element of the composition, which is replete with a soaring energy to match the transcendence of the lyrics.
Episode Six of #CokeStudio‘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: http://cokestudio.com.pk/season7/schedule. In the meantime, keep yourself logged on to www.cokestudio.com.pk for the latest updates on Coke Studio (#CokeStudio7).