Coke Studio has been criticized strongly this year for its choice of singers and the kind of music it has produced. It won’t be wrong if I might say that it was not much of the music this season that made some artists the talk of the town but a bunch of famous trolls who helped them in rising to fame. Now, of course if they deserved it or not is another debate but for most part the season was a bit of a disappointment for people who follow the series religiously (like me).
Having said this, it was a pleasant surprise to see names like Saieen Zahoor and Sanam Marvi in the list of the artists’ line up for episode 6. Need not to mention that these powerhouses of Sufi singing have given some soul stirring hits to the show like Toumba, Allah Hu, Haq Mojood and Koi Labda which have helped in building the brand’s image. Despite this, they were last seen in Season 6 (produced by Rohail Hyatt) and we didn’t get to see any of them in the seasons produced by the Strings until recently.
Followers were filled with excitement when these two names were announced on social media and when the song finally came out on last Friday, as anticipated the fans were left saying, “This is what Coke Studio is about!”.
“Lagi Bina-Chal Mele Noon Challiye” is a captivating Kalaam by Waris Shah which grows on you gradually. The listener embarks on an elating journey which, by the time when it ends leaves a big smile on the face. The contrasting voices have been merged beautifully with the help of the fusion of Sindhi and Punjabi folk style music.
Jaffer Zaidi, following the footsteps of his great mother puts up a great show of his music genius with a brilliant house-band at his disposal which did complete justice to these magnificent voices. They were successful in creating a melody that amplifies the emotions of the lyrics rather than overpowering them.
Not to forget the “Guitar Cycle” that has been talked about even in the BTS video of the song. This cycle is the life of the composition which when combined with the drums, Dholak and Dhol gives a touch of mystic trance to the song as it follows. Undoubtedly this instrumentation has the tendency to get stuck in your mind; making you go in for more again and again. The insertion of flute and harmonium is like icing on the top which brings natural finesse to the performance.
To top it all off, at the third or fourth listen (that is if you don’t find yourself lost in the song again!), you will notice that there are no backing vocalists. Yes, they aren’t any and that is why “Lagi Bina-Chal Mele Noon Challiye” in all its mesmerizing glory stands out among all the singles to have come out of Coke Studio this fall. The song successfully reaches its pinnacle in the finale without any counter melody (produced by backing vocalists to support lead vocalist’s melody). The extremely harmonious and transcending vocals of the two acclaimed singers are enough to create an aura which is difficult to get out of. Such is the gift that they have!
In the end I just hope that the Coke Studio’s producers will honestly consider the feedback of their ardent fans while making the “Sound of the Nation” next year.