Coke Studio is back with a bang

Last season (season 6) of the Coke Studio was big disappointment. Rohail Hayat, ex-producer, had set a very high standard of the music through season 1 to 3 but it declined with every passing season subsequently. Last season ended abruptly under controversial circumstances.


Read: Coke Studio: My favourite five songs!


This year Coke Studio has been produced by The Strings. First episode is available on the website and I must say its absolutely brilliant. The show is back with a bang.

‘Lai Beqadraan Naal Yaari’ by Tufail Niazi was the first song which was aired on Pakistan Television (PTV) when it was launched. It was sung by Niazi brother in this first episode of season 7 and is absolutely brilliant. My favourite song of this episode.

Here are all the tracks of first episode of season 7:











Strike a Chord – Dhol Beats

Do you play an instrument? Is there a musical instrument whose sound you find particularly pleasing? Tell us a story about your experience or relationship with an instrument of your choice. – Daily Prompt by The Daily Post

Although I cannot play any musical instrument, I am an avid music listener. The one music instruments that just makes my spirit to soar is ‘Dhol’.

I go mad and music takes over my soul. The sound of dhol is so load and beautiful, I can feel it in my heart. The dhol rythms of Bhangra, Dhamal and Kaharva takes you to higher levels of of ecstasy. The sound of the Dhol, if you ever hear it, is just insane! It is one of the best sounds ever in the music industry not to mention the sub-continent music industry! In one hand, a pencil-thin stick liberates high-pitched notes from one side of the large drum hanging from the neck of performer while a thicker, hooked one demands a strong pulse from the dagga, or bass side.

The Dhol, a double sided barrel drum, is the most sought after and used instrument in the music industry of sub-continent (Pakistan and India). The Dhol actually dates back to the 15th century, that’s how old it really is! In was used in the Punjab region of Pakistan and India to keep the farmers going to work. 

The sticks that strike the Dhol are made of wood – bamboo wood and cane wood. All Pakistani music songs/tracks consist of the dhol as part of their music madness when assembling the track.  The dhol varies in size and is usually quite large with a strap that will strap around the shoulder.

One of the best dhol performers of Pakistan is Papu Saeen. His talent took him to great levels of fame and is now an international figure. Rani Taj from India is another famous dhol performer.

Enjoy some of the great dhol beats !!


Papu Saeen and Overload Collaboration

Dhol mix by Rani Taj

Read here another blog on music I posted today. Coke Studio: My favourite five songs!


Coke Studio: My favourite five songs!

“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”

– Plato

Music is one of the foremost sources of global recognition and pride for Pakistan. Legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, evergreen Noor Jehan, soulful Pathanay Khan, melodious Mehdi Hassan, beautiful Nazia Hassan, jaunty Alamgir, soothing Ghulam Ali Khan,  rock star Ali Azmat, fervent Alan Faqir, quirky Hadiqa Kiyani, spiritual Sayeen Zahoor and star band of Fuzon – are the music ambassadors and source of dignity for Pakistan. The latest addition to the list is Coke Studio Pakistan which took music to an altogether different level.

Coke studio is Pakistani TV Series where talented Pakistani musicians come to jam with an in-house band. The show is produced by the Coca-Cola Company. Starting in 2008, Coke Studio has been popular throughout the country, receiving critical acclaim and frequently being rebroadcast on numerous television and radio stations. It is one of the most popular music programmes in Asia.

The program focuses on a fusion of the diverse musical influences in Pakistan, including eastern classical, folk, qawwali, bhangra, Sufi and contemporary hip hop, rock and pop music. Sometimes they bring together musicians from diverse influences and pick -up a popular track from any one of them to give it a completely different feel. Since 2008, the show got better and better every year, and so much that Coca-Cola launched it in India and the Middle East also.

The best thing about Coke Studio is their passion for music and not hesitating from experimentation. The way each and every minute detail is handled is simply outstanding. Behind the scenes rehearsals, camera work, video shooting, sound effects – their is sheer quality in each and every aspect of music production.

Although standard of the show for past two to three seasons has somewhat declined a little bit, still the genius of Rohail Hayat, the producer, comes up with three or four brilliant music tracks each year. I am a huge fan of the show and have never missed any episode. Although Rohail left the show after last season under some controversial circumstances, I hope his legacy of quality music production remains alive in future.

Six seasons have been aired so far since 2008 and each season include some outstanding tracks. I am picking my favourite five tracks across all the seasons of the show.

5. Rabba Ho

 A song from season 6, in which we witnessed a beautiful  fusion of Eastern, Western and regionally-inspired music for which the platform has come to be renowned. In season 6, Coke Studio’s cross-genre Pakistani musical talent was joined by international musicians trained in both contemporary and traditional instrumentation. For me this duet of Sayeen Zahoor and Sanam Marvi was best of season 6.

About artists: Sayeen Zahoor, Sanam Marvi

4. Saari Raat

An outstanding song from season 2, a season which I consider to be best of all seasons.  It is song that flows naturally – sung by Noorie, a rock band known for his raw energy.  This song has some brilliant Sitar and Keyboard pieces. the tempo of the song picks up gradually. It moves from classical to soft rock  to love ballad to something slightly heavy, meandering along the way like a river in a farmland.

About artist: Noori


3. Ishq Aap Bhi Awalla

A masterpiece from season 5. The song ‘Ishq Aap Bhe Awalla’ revolves around the life of a woman in love filling water from a well. The woman in the song is filling water but her focus is somewhere else and the words of the song are all the things she wants to say to her beloved. Traditionally this song is performed at weddings. Coke Studio’s treatment made it one of the greatest hit. It was sung by a group of folk singers, ‘Chakwal Party’, and Meesha Shafi.

About artist: Meesha Shafi, Chakwal Group


2. Garaj Baras

Ali Azmat, rock artist, struck pure genius with Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, classical singer. It’s the best song from season 1 of the show. It remains one of the biggest hits to-date. The part of the song where Rahet Fateh Ali Khan unveils himself as a classical maestro still gives me goosebumps. The guitar and drum work in this song is simply brilliant.

About artist: Rahet Fateh Ali Khan, Ali Azmat 


1. Alif Allah, Jugni

This song from season 3 is number 1 on my music playlist. Not only my playlist, it is rated as number 1 song of all the coke studio seasons. The idea of combining one musical powerhouse – Arif Lohar  and the edgy, young Meesha Shafi, was bound to be either very good or very bad. But it turned out to one great musical collaboration. The music, beat, tempo, vocals – everything is best about this song. This is my favourite song from Coke Studio.

Artists: Arif LoharMeesha Shafi


Also read my post Strike a Chord – Dhol Beats in response to Daily Prompt by Daily Post.

Tum Ek Gorakh Dhanda Ho – A Qawwali by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Some songs never get old. It is a natural trait of humans that when one likes a particular song one likes to listen to it repeatedly. Music has power to change the mood of human in just a minute and it is considered as the natural and spiritual peace provider tools.

‘Tum Ek Gorakh Dhanda Ho’ is a beautiful qawwali by legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and is a personal favourite of mine. Hardly a day goes by when I do not listen to it. It has a very soulful melody and rhythm to it. It is still number one in my Ipod’s music play list, followed by ‘Desert Rose’ by Sting and Cheb Mami.


Qawwali is the devotional music of the Sufis and mystics which is very famous in sub-continent, Pakistan and India in particular. The term includes both the medium and its performance, and has been a dominant feature of Islamic culture since the 12th century.

It was the energetic recordings and concerts of the late, great artist, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (1948-1997) which first introduced Qawwali music to Western audiences. His singing effortlessly transcended language and cultural barriers, and his spirit reached and moved people all over the world. Today, Qawwali is seen as one of the world’s most passionate and vibrant forms of music.


I am working on a blog ‘ The Soulful Journey of Qawwali’ in which I shall explain the history of ‘Qawwali’ genre of music. I shall post the blog soon. Meanwhile, enjoy this soulful qawwali:


Read the translation of this Qawwali here.