A concoction of music

By You Desk
Tue, 04, 24

Coke Studio’s journey of musical melodies continues into its 15th Season this year. You! takes a look...

A concoction of music


Launched in 2008 in Pakistan featuring established and emerging artists from various genres, Coke Studio quickly gained a large and loyal following, and expanded into an international music franchise. This music platform combines myriad musical influences, from traditional classical, folk, Sufi, qawwali, ghazal and bhangra music to contemporary hip hop, rock and pop music. The show is noted for promoting Pakistan’s multiculturalism by inviting artists from various regions and of various languages to collaborate musically. The format features an always changing and fascinating mix of Western instruments (primarily guitars, pianos, synthesisers, bass guitars, and drum kits) with traditional instruments from the Indian subcontinent (harmonium, rubab, sarod, sitar, bamboo flutes, dholak, tabla, and other traditional percussion instruments). With rare exceptions, the singer is the lead instrumentalist.

A brand new season:

A concoction of music

Awarded as Pakistan’s biggest cultural export by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Coke Studio Season 15, featuring eleven original songs, will reflect the diversity of Pakistani culture, languages, genre and experiences, anchored in Pakistan’s passion and love for music.

With powerhouse producer and curator Zulfiqar (Xulfi) Jabbar Khan at the helm, each song in Season 15 is a collaboration, a story woven with threads of artistry and fraternity. This season has built on a legacy of compelling visual storytelling by some of Pakistan’s most progressive directors, including Awais Gohar, Murtaza Niaz, Jamal Rahman, Zain Peerzada, and Luke Azariah, alongside Coke Studio stalwarts Zeeshan Parwez and Kamal Khan.

“This season celebrates the enduring power of art, the power of music - the power of love, of warmth and of connection. Each story and world is built on Pakistan’s rich and diverse tapestry: both its heritage and future, fostering a sense of shared identity,” said Xulfi.

“Coke Studio is etched into the country’s musical DNA. Now a global platform, it is set to build on the same legacy of showcasing the incredible talent and artistry of Pakistani musicians to the world,” elucidated Volkan Onguc, Vice President of Coca-Cola Pakistan and Afghanistan Region.

A concoction of music

Aayi Aayi - A celebration of culture

Recently, Coke Studio released the first song from Season 15, Aayi Aayi featuring Noman Ali, Babar Mangi, Marvi and Saiban. The song takes inspiration from timeless lore from the heart of Tharparkar, echoing the resilience and courage passed down through generations.

Directed by Awais Gohar, Aayi Aayi has opened Season15 with a love letter to the unique iridescence of the heritage of Sindh. Art Director, Hashim Ali, paints a dusty yet lavish vista, combining traditional artefacts with ancient motifs from the Indus Valley Civilization to date. Collaborating artists, Noman Ali, Babar Mangi, and daughters of the soil, Marvi and Saiban, step into the procession one after the other, each broadcasting a separate lustre of sound-sensation; an arrangement as diverse and yet congruent as the people of Pakistan’s most ethnically harmonious, gateway province.

A concoction of music

Noman opens with a melodic verse describing the strength of an individual, representing the strength of an entire people - Paarsaye chali gaii (All shadows have fled); Khuabon ko tumne khuwab dikhae (You have spun new dreams out of the past); Bedaar hogaye Thar wale (Thar’s people have awoken); Qaaflay main woh tanha nahi hai (United as a caravan, no longer alone); Sath sab kache ghar wale (All homes of this soil as one). He is met by villagers awash with the colours and textures of Rajasthan, his words meet their beckoning in the spirit of festivity; rangoli, garlands, sweetmeats, and honour await the one who returns.

Babar emerges, hoisted above his companions at first, he plunges into the crowd to join its unsinkable festivity.

A concoction of music

His rap rouses the blood - Gao jo dil me hai (Sing from your heart); Jo bhi hona chahtay ho hokar dekhao (Be who you want to be); Yahan kisi cheez ka hisab nahin (Nothing needs to make sense); Dunia hai khwabon pe kayam (The world is built on dreams).

The music breaks for only a moment, a moment decorated by a peacock in full feather. It is Marvi and Saiban’s moment to shine. The two take over in song and spirit; their raw talent haunts a listener to the core. And so figures who stood tall for love and endurance from past to present come alive; still enchanting newcomers to this land. All are welcome. All are of Sindh.

With over 24 million subscribers, over 5 billion views on digital platforms, and streaming in over 180 countries, Pakistan’s Coke Studio has been credited with bridging barriers and nurturing culture within South Asia, fostering a sense of unity and appreciation for shared heritage.

- You! desk

Photography by Amna Zuberi and Nadir Firoz Khan