When the artists’ line-up of Coke Studio’s season 11 was revealed, the name Chand Tara Orchestra made me the happiest. Having the privilege of listening to their music earlier, I was waiting curiously to see how CTO uses Coke Studio’s platform to experiment with the band’s signature sound. So, when episode 4 hit our screens last week and I watched or rather experienced Chand Tara Orchestra’s Nami Danam, I was transfixed! Here’s why!
Watch: Candidly Yours | Episode 3 | Omran Shafique (Part I)
Soulful Ancient Persian Kalam!
Nami Danam is Khwaja Usman Harooni’s kalam who was a Sufi saint and had the famous Moinuddin Chishti as his disciple. A Persian composition, Nami Danam beautifully puts into words how the love of God compels the devotee to reach their limits in order to please the Master!
In Coke Studio’s version, Chand Tara Orchestra has not only done complete justice to the Persian pronunciation of kalam but has also ensured the preservation of its essence, that too effortlessly.
Shaheryar Tariq’s Spellbinding Vocals!
Unlike CTO’s other numbers, Nami Danam opens full throttle without any gradual ascending effect and so, any vocalist in such a situation has to aim for higher notes right from the beginning in order to stand their ground. While many would find themselves at a loss in such a situation, the arrangement rather compliments the powerful vocals of Shaheryar that kept the song together like a solid rock. There comes a point when Sherry’s expressive vocals start feeling like reins gripping the instruments, gliding the whole composition towards greatness.
Watch: Candidly Yours | Episode 3 | Omran Shafique (Part II)
Nami Danam also happens to be one of the very few songs in the history of Coke Studio that doesn’t use backing vocalists but the finesse in the melody and Sherry’s finely-calibrated notes engross the listener in a way that they won’t feel the absence. Now that’s some epic stuff!
Doesn’t Sound Like A Four Piece Band!
One thing that comes across as a surprise every time I listen to Nami Danam is that CTO’s sound is too big and overwhelming for a quartet. Moreover, I could easily listen to each of the member’s contribution to the melody but the sonic palate only adds to the cohesion of the bravura and brings out a performance which is emotionally so rich, it can transport you to another world.
Transcendent Climax Of The Performance
Towards the end of the number when the pace of the loop steps up the listener is transported to a place where we can find ourselves among the Sufi Whirling Dervishes spinning to the beats of Mee Raqsam. The ability to leave the audience with such a mesmerizing experience gives you a glimpse into the magic that Chand Tara Orchestra is capable of creating!
Chand Tara Orchestra Finally Meets The World!
I remember the first time when I heard a CTO melody. I was sipping on my tea in a restaurant, busy in a chatter when Makki Madni started playing. I felt a pull and all of a sudden, I found myself captivated by a beautiful loop. Since then, I am a fan! However, I always wondered when will the world get to experience this unusual mix of traditional, folk and rock Sufi music. So, when Chand Tara Orchestra took to Coke Studio’s stage, the grandest platform for country’s musicians, the whole nation had only good things to say! The sublime Nami Danam makes up for a timeless piece of art that will always remind the world of Chand Tara Orchestra’s brilliance!
Watch: Candidly Yours | Episode 3 | Omran Shafique (Part III)
Give it a listen and you will know why Pakistanis are going crazy over Chand Tara Orchestra’s Nami Danam!