Being a Strategic Studies student whenever elements of Pakistan’s soft power are discussed in our class, Coke Studio is a name that echoes the loudest in my mind. Not only CS rescued the collapsing music industry back home but also introduced the world to our rich musical heritage. The country which was once famous for producing best mangoes in the world soon became popular for creating groundbreaking melodies; all owing to the great ascent of Coke Studio.
Now that I have thoroughly elaborated on the world’s obsession with this music franchise, let’s have a look at 10 all time favourite Coke Studio songs which I, being a millennial, believe hit a chord with my generation and continue to rock us till date.
Note: Fellow millennial, you may disagree with this list and honestly I would be surprised if you don’t because I am one of those who have generation gap with their own generation.
1. Toomba by Saieen Zahoor
Saeein Zahoor’s passionate vocals accompanied by his toombi’s catchy riffs made up for a folksy Sufi melody that still rules our playlist.
2. Saari Raat by Noori
One of the most honest 21st century heartbreak songs, Saari Raat will surely help you forget your ex in the most lit manner. Our respect to Noori for not romanticizing agony and keeping it real!
3. Kirkir Kirkir by Sajjad Ali
Looks like Tinak Dhin is not the first time lyrical drumbeat breathed life into a song. Our substitute for Hakuna Matata, Kirkir Kirkir is an upbeat number which is an absolute epitome of swag, wit and cool. I bet you hundred bucks you will end up prancing like a kid while listening to this danceable music! Sajjad Ali himself could not resist doing so.
4. Larsha Pekhawar Ta by Hamayoon Khan
Sung by acclaimed Pashtoon singer Hamayoon Khan, Larsha Pekhawar Ta was the first Pashto song after Bibi Shireen which was on the lips of every other Pakistani regardless of if they knew the language or not. This speaks volumes about how successful was this number in leaving an impression on our minds and souls, the imprints of which are still present.
5. Neray Aah by Overload and Rachel Viccaji
A percussion-soaked rock number “overloaded” (look what I did there :P) with unforgettable guitar riffs, Neray Aah has all the capacity to break us into head-banging and going, “aan aan aan”. Undoubtedly one of the most power packed and enthusiastic performances to have taken place in Coke Studio, Neray Aah perfectly puts into words our feelings when we see our crush.
6. Laila O Laila by Rostam Mirlashari
With a Turkish house-band, Pakistani back vocalists and Iranian Baloch as lead singer, Laila O Laila is a perfect illustration of the magic that is created when sounds from diverse cultural backgrounds are married together to produce a harmony that is cherished forever. Rostam’s emotionally rich vocals, heartfelt lyrics, rhythmic echoing claps and captivating violin notes make this melody all the more mesmerizing.
Added brownie points for Mirlashari’s luscious locks, traditional attire and adorable facial expressions! There is something about this song which makes me smile from ear to ear when I watch it.
7. Dost by Abida Parveen
It is performed by the great Abida Parveen. Need I say more? Do we really need to justify the inclusion of this masterpiece in our list?
This sublime soothing number effortlessly transports the listener to another world and when concludes creates an aura that lasts longer than the song itself. I do not deem myself fit enough to utter a single word in Abida Parveen’s respect.
8. Rona Chor Diya by Zeb & Haniya
Produced by the insanely talented female duo of Pakistani music industry and the classical maestro Javed Bashir, Rona Chor Dia has inspiring lyrics which depict that life goes on and so should we; instead of remaining despondent in the face of any tragedy or for that matter any heartbreak.
Rona Chor Diya can well be summed up as Pakistani “Never mind I will find someone like you”. The intense and expressive delivery of lyrics by Zeb and Haniya further emboldens the message being conveyed by the protagonists.
9. Paar Chanaa De by Noori
Paar Chanaa De is perhaps one of the greatest songs to have come out of Coke Studio. It was directed by Noori and features Shilpa Rao, famous singer from across the border and a cameo by Noor Zehra on ‘Sagar Veena’.
Richly textured and soulful composition, Paar Chanaa De offers an intoxicating musical experience, the melody seeps into one’s brain and that is why it carries higher recall value. It is probably a milestone achieved not just in Noori’s career but also in Coke Studio’s whole trajectory. No, I am not exaggerating!
10. Tinak Dhin
Ali Hamza marked the debut of his career as a music director with Tinak Dhin which can safely be claimed as the best original produced in this year’s season. With funky yet traditional feel to it, the song has all the potential to compel listener to dance. Ali Hamza, Ali Sethi and Waqar Ehsin although have unique voice textures, all three were blended skillfully through the instrumental.
What fascinates me the most is the witty lyrics that is interesting enough to prick one’s ears up. In times when artists easily get away with nonsensical and meaningless rhyming words, Tinak Dhin has restored my faith in Pakistani music scene.
See for yourself!