Sunday, October 24, 2010

Coke Studio Pakistan -My Top 15 Songs

Hi everyone!
Well - Lately I've been hooked onto coke studio - and no, its not a band or a singer....its just a music studio where Pakistan's finest artists are gathered by producer Rohail Hayat ( of the Vital Signs fame) to create beautiful music incorporating eastern flavors of music with the more western touches to make the songs more accessible. During each season ( there have been three so far - starting on the 4th) - the videos are uploaded to youtube and songs are available for download on their website (

Here I list my top 15 coke studio performances along with the youtube videos. Some background information is also presented so that you may be able to understand the songs/find the lyrics etc:

15-Na Reindee hay - Arieb Azhar

If in case you can't see the translation/subtitles that are already available for this video - open it in youtube and click the 'cc' (closed captions) button and you'll see the translation of this song. Its a song written by Bulleh Shah to comment on how its difficult to keep things inside and what chaos is caused when words just spill out - I love the ending verse where he mocks the people who pretend to be pious by going on pilgrimage, pretend to be scholarly by reading many books and gain glory by fighting in the wars but tells them they gained nothing if they kept their friend (God) unhappy.......

14- Mai Ne ( Mai Nee) - Atif Aslam

This one is another favorite. I do ( sort of) believe Atif doesn't have a voice which is all-that. Don't get me wrong - he's got a nice voice but he's not trained and he can't pull all the stops. But I love this song. It's beautiful. My dad loves this song and he always says that no one can understand a child's pain more than a mother - so........

Anyway - I did a translation for this song right here Mai Ne

13 - Sir Kiye Yay Pahar - Strings

I love love love this rendition - The original track was released almost 2 decades ago ( you can check it out here Sir Kiye original

12- Aik Alif

A song about how human beings spend so much time getting to know external stuff yet they don't get to know themselves - Aik Alif English Lyrics

11 - Rona Chor Dia - Zeb & Haniya

Well - its supposed to be a cheesy pop song about how the person has moved on from an old relationship and is stronger now -what it IS is a BOMB of rhythm and beats ( most of them coming out of Javed Bashir's mouth =D ) - like one commenter said, looks like he's shooting bullets!

10 - Saari Raat - Noori

I have to say that when I was forced to listen to this by my cousin - I thought it was gonna be a snooze-fest - Sure, I loved the sitar in the beginning but I was in the mood for some HOO-HAA at that moment in time - then it hit me ......the intro of the song is like the calm before the storm....have a listen and you'll know....P.S This is a morbid love song ( according to the band) - so there's a whole discussion about how the lover's house should burn down yadda yadda - don't let that distract you from enjoying =)

9- Moomal Rano

I'll be the first to admit that this was not of my most favorite performances. Infact I found it a bit weird because there's very little western fusion in this one. Then I happened to attend a screening of a documentary about Sufi Soul, The Mystic Music of Islam at the World Culture Festval and the documentary featured these guys - I was intrigued enough to load this video and read up on the meaning of the lyrics - and I can't tell you what a difference it made ( it could also be the fact that at 2:30 am at night the instruments just take on a different meaning altogether) - Moomal Rano English Lyrics

8 - Naina De Akhay - Rizwan & Muazzam

This one was a surprise. Of course everyone knows Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the greatest representative of qawwali music. But these guys took me surprise. The lyrics are available in the youtube video ( press 'cc' to get them if you can't see them). I was impressed enough to look these guys up and got to know that they've worked alongside Temple of Sound in an album called People's Colony No. 1 ( Look up Wheel of Heaven on youtube - Wheel of Heaven - Temple of Sound & Rizwan and Muazzam)

7- Mori Araj Suno - Tina Sani

Okay - this should officially be the song of atheists. Or people who complain to God for their current predicament. The lyrics are included in the video ( again -> press 'cc' to activate them on youtube if you can't view them here)

6 - Alif Allah - Arif Lohar & Meesha Shafi

I couldn't believe that such a folksy sound could come out of Meesha and the toumba ( I think) that Arif Lohar introduced in the song just took it WAY up there.....Lyrics included - turn on cc on youtube blah blah blah...

Anyway....The sound is just amazing and judging by some 2000+ comments and over 2 million views - I'm obviously not the only one to think so....

6 - Husn-e-Haqiqi - Arieb Azhar

5 - To Kia Hua - Bilal Khan

4 - Daanah pay daanah -
Akhtar Chanal Zahri & Komal Rizvi

3. Ith Naheen - Sanam Marvi:
I never connected with Sanam Marvi - But Rohail had the right idea in just recording her voice and playing with the instruments later to give it a contemporary feel

2. Lamha - Bilal Khan:
what can I say - it's so haunting:

Honorable mentions: These don't get categorized and should be listened to just 'cause

I'm leaving No. 1 for the episodes to come (I'm hoping!)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Meray Log / My People

Translation for Meray Log by Noori:

My friends, my pals...
My intoxicated world...
Where have you gone?
Oh, My people...

My friends, my pals...
my searching heart is tired
Where have you gone to sleep?
Oh,my people...

My friends, my pals...
My wishes now silent
Why did you all forget..
My friends...

But what is today
May not be that tomorrow
Don't forget that
My friends
Trust is on the other side
Changing yourself will change your heart
My people

My friends my people
There's grief in your prayer
When will they wake up?
My people...

Chal Diay

Here's the translation for Chal diay - a coke studio production of Zeb and Haniya -

This scenery, this sky
This wind, my secret keeper

In the path way of the night,
Lie for you the candles
Taking your hand in mine,
We start walking too

Spread all around are the wishes
Hidden in the heart, why did they reflect in the eyes?

Taking the desire of the heart
We start living
Taking your hand in mine,
We start walking too

In the warm sunshine a cold sigh
Beneath the feet, the same path
Taking your hand in mine,
We start walking too

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mai Nee Main Kinnu Akhaan - Atif Aslam Coke Studio English Translation

I just listened to one of the songs my dad loves best - unfortunately, I couldn't find a good translation anywhere...

here's a translation I did; hope it helps in understanding the meaning of the song:

"O mother, Whom to tell?
The pain that grips my very being

Smokes the fire at my Master’s side,
Which burns red hot if poked
O mother, Whom to tell?
The pain that grips my very being

Wandering the jungles and deserts,
Not finding what I search for

O mother, Whom to tell?
The pain that grips my very being

The bread of sadness
A dish of sorrows,
The burning fire of grief-ridden sighs...

O mother, Whom to tell?
The pain that grips my very being...

Says Hussain the poor faqeer,
Meeting God would be ecstacy.....

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pretty in Prague

I recently went on a trip to Prague to get away from the stress of working on my project and since I like to photograph stuff, it was wonderful opportunity for me to practice my hand at that too.

I loved Prague! Its utterly colorful and there were things happening all around that were quite intriguing ( although it could have been that I was there for the weekend). As I had taken the night train, I reached there at 7:00 am and since the dorm I booked only allowed to check in at 2:00 pm, I was free to roam around the city at will. Since I had the 26 CZK ticket, it allowed me travel for upto 75 mins without interruption ( I thought I read somewhere online that it was 90 mins on weekends and the person at the dorm's reception agreed although the person selling them at the station disagreed so I limited myself to 75 mins).

First stop was the old town. It was sort of chilly but sunny at the same time ( which is the best kind of cold). There were plenty of benches to sit on and you could just sit there and watch the other handful of people milling about. You can see from the picture below the street illuminated by the rising sun...

Next, I went over to the astronomical clock which is a famous landmark and there were a pair of newly weds getting their photos taken - I joined in the action and it was fun to see that couples everywhere are slaves to their photographers on their wedding day =)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bethe Bethe Kese Kese...

I have been researching music by a very famous Pakistan Qawaal Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and I came across some fusion music. Here is a sample....

I translated the lyrics...and here they are:

"Oh what unthinkable pain my heart feels ...
You took someone else's name
And my eyes
Filled up
Oh what unthinkable pain my heart feels ..."


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Facebook Rule Book...

I have a set way about how I do things. Rules for almost everything I do. There are things I'm allowed to do and things that are off-bound. A while ago I realized that even with Facebook, I've come up with some rules that I follow religiously....well...almost =D. Having edited all the personal stuff I could have written, I have decided to write these rules down if only to get my writing instincts back on track whether they want to be or not. So here goes:

Rule No. 0: I hate Notes:
I do. I’m sorry. All anyone does in their notes is: ME ME ME! And I’m guilty of the same so forgive me. Plus, when you’ve read rule no. 1 you’ll realize the whole privacy thing ticks me off. Sorry. Too Many *I*’s will be following this and *I* apologize in advance.

Rule No. 1: Camouflaged Display picture:
Better yet, no display picture that shows you. It's crazy, I'm not pretty, I'm not obnoxious about my 'beautiful looks' but, contrary to popular opinion, I am an extremely private person. I think I learned to mess about with Photoshop just so I could use it to hide behind. And so far I'm pretty happy with the way things have turned out. (And by the way, I am NOT happy with my current DP...too much me in it, I guess)

Rule No. 2: (Almost paranoid) compulsion about not adding people:
I hate adding people. I think I've only added 10 people on my own. It's not that I wouldn't like huge friends’ lists like the rest of you...but I am absolutely vain when it comes to adding people in my friends list. Its a dependence thing. Or a shyness/reserve thing, I don't know. Take a pick. Totally weird, totally inexplicable but true nonetheless. [P.S: and it’s nothing to with arrogance either]

Rule No. 3: No commenting on other people's pictures: Oh wait, this should be Rule no. 4 because Rule No. 3 is: Don't go through people's albums/photos. There's a good, logical, reason for this:

a) Usually they're all theme-based anyway. If you’ve seen one, you've seen them all.
b) They're brag based. Sight seeing or parties? Yeah that makes me feel mighty better. NOT
c) They're usually pretty boring anyway...

Rule No. 4: No commenting on other people's pictures/ only commenting on my own pictures:
I can control what goes in my albums and it ain’t nothing personal (I don’t think). I'm wired differently that way and the sole purpose of my album is to provide anyone who goes through with a good laugh (yeah, so I am comedian, kill me).

Rule No. 5: People You May Know Tool is my Enemy:
Don't get me wrong… its useful. But there a couple of reasons for my dislike (read: hate) for this valuable tool:

a) It always fills my heart with joy when I see the faces of people I know and realize that THEY DIDN'T ADD ME [See Rule No. 2]....and I guess the whole "if they didn't see me worthy of being added, I ain't doing it either" scenario plays out dramatically and in slow motion like an old Pakistani drama series.

b) Sometimes "I" know the people in the list but I'm sure they don't know me, which means that these people are more popular than I am and while I have no delusions about how famous I am, I do feel bad. Enough to hate the tool. And those people too, come to think of it =D

c) In the newsfeed across the network: comes the one-liner: "X added Y through the People You May Know Tool". Frankly, I think this is absolutely unnecessary. And over-rated. I always end up wondering for all of 2 seconds: who added who. Did X give in or did Y? And I have better things to do in those 2 seconds.

And the number one reason I hate the PYMK tool:
d) No matter how many times I delete all the people and remove this tool from my home always shows up again after a day or two. What is up with that? And why do I feel happy to see it? Well it’s not out of any love for the application; I can tell you...More like: I get to delete people again. Ah the sweet bliss of deleting (the popular) people!

Rule No. 6: NO commenting on anyone’s status/Status Updates and the ability of people to comment on them and for US to get notifications for years after that:
Yes, I agree. I made a darn mistake. Forgive me for I gave in to the temptation and commented on someone’s status. That doomed me for ever and now I have 50 notifications telling me that someone else who I don’t know commented after my comment. What the heck do I care? I DON’T, so leave me alone!!! (Again, I know that people who’ve commented on my statuses and pictures have felt this too and again, I apologize!

I'm sure I have loads of other rules too - I'll update them as I come across them (or not... :D )