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!)


Doctor said...

Your list is dominated by third season. What about first and second? Don't tell me you didn't liked performances by rahat, shafqat, josh

EeeJay007 said...

I agree with what you're saying - I did get the coke studio craze during the third season (especially as Alif Allah just gob smacked me totally) - Just to make it a fair comparison - I'll go over all the seasons again to evaluate their relevance....

P.S: It could be that the Sufi music has been encorporated much more in the third season and so when I am recommending these songs to my non-Pakistani friends, it speaks more universally to them ....


prashant gami said...

With reference to Moomal Rano and what you said "it could also be the fact that at 2:30 am at night the instruments just take on a different meaning altogether" ,I am guessing that just the time of the night didn't have everything to do with the differed perception of instruments. ;)