Multiple producers, more original music and new entrants will help re-define Coke Studio.
Eight seasons in, can Coke Studio surprise us anymore? That’s a question that can arise in one’s mind when a show or series has been around for this long; 8 years and 8 seasons in Coke Studio’s case. Coke Studio has been around for quite some time and thankfully, it has been doing a good job, discounting a few glitches here and there. However, it has been criticised for being repetitive or redundant, with many fans claiming that it was losing its steam by not thinking out of the box. But then a question begs to be asked: does Coke Studio even need to change things?
The people at Coke Studio obviously did think that it was time to shake things up a bit. Here’s what appears to have changed this season…
1. There are several producers
Up until Coke Studio season 6, Rohail Hyatt was the only producer of the show. In season seven, we saw Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia take the reigns. However, this time around we won’t be seeing 2 but 6 producers altogether: Noori, Fakhir, Shiraz Uppal, Jaffer Zaidi, Shuja Haider and Shani Arshad. Each producer will position a different, individual sound as they will be working with a separate set of singers, even musicians. Producers will be choosing their own house band members as well, which means greater freedom to create music. This is perhaps a great idea because it will definitely bring diversity to the sound that we will hear this season.
2. There are exciting new acts/debut performers
Of course, the most anticipated performance will be of late Amjad Sabri and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan performing ‘Aj Rang Hai’. Prior to his death, Sabri spoke about the qawwali, and how special it was that he and Rahat were to perform it together. “About 40 years ago, my father and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan read this kalaam at a dargah in Karachi and 40 years later, Rahat and I are reading it again.”
It is extremely unfortunate that this is the last we will hear of the great Amjad Sabri, but we are glad that there is something to look forward to.
Coke Studio season 9 will also featuring its first ever Bollywood singer, Shilpa Rao. Rao is the first Indian to be featured in Coke Studio Pakistan, and she will be singing alongside Noori. This is another exciting collaboration because Rao indeed does have an extremely melodious voice, and we can’t wait to see how she sounds in a Pakistani production.
Another debut performance that we are excited/nervous about is Mehwish Hayat. The beautiful diva is making waves in the acting world, both on the small screen and the big screen. But can she create the same magic in the music world? Hayat has given glimpses of her singing on morning shows and Instagram videos and so far what we can assess is that she does have a promising voice, but probably hasn’t received enough training yet, which is why we are excited and nervous at the same time. This could either end up sounding really nice or go horribly bad. The other female actor turned singer’s Coke Studio performance that we can remember is Ayesha Omar and we hope Hayat has some better sounds up her sleeve!
3. There is a lot more original music
In an interview with a local newspaper, Strings announced that they have chosen to present a lot more original music in this season. Of course, everyone would like to hear the modern interpretations of old kalaams and ghazals, but Strings believed it necessary for the TV series to create original music, to help the music industry grow. That is really great to hear because while our singers have mastered the art of performing covers (Sara Haider, Zoe Viccaji,) they are still struggling when it comes to making their own music. Their ‘cover’ performances prove to be more memorable than their original songs. Perhaps this move will help musicians to focus more on creating new songs.