Music can simplify the most complicated of emotions or at least help you live with them. For the music lovers of the Indian sub-continent, Pakistan Coke Studio is a gift that they could never get enough of. From Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s Afreen Afreen to Atif Aslam’s Tajdare Haram, these beautiful renditions have given us a lifetime of joy and helped us stay calm even in turbulent times. Every season of Coke Studio comes with beautiful tracks that automatically find their way into our playlist. But there is a whole lot of incredible gems that deserve more attention. This world music day, we have compiled a list of 8 underrated gems from Coke Studio we should more often listen to.
1) Ronewalo se kaho:
One of the popular Ghazals penned by Sudarshan Fakir, this rendition by Sajjad Ali is in a league of its own. Ali’s melancholic voice captures the heartbreak, the sorrow of missing one’s love. A masterclass in effortless singing, this song once again shows why Sajjad Ali remains one of the most accomplished singers of the Indian sub-continent
2) Aye Kuch Abr kuch karar aaye:
Originally sung by Ghazal maestro Ustad Mehdi Hassan, the ghazal gives expression to poignant emotions — of joy and grief, suffering and yearning, It’s a personal reflection of Faiz’s inner state during his imprisonment in Hyderabad Jail, Atif brings his own to this songs. Atif does not replicate Mehdi Hassan but brings out a different emotion to the song
3) Ustad Rais Khan/ Raag Hansdhwani
An exceptional rendition of Hansdhwani, a carnatic raga which was later embraced into the Hindustani classical music. One of the greatest Sitar player of the Indian subcontinent, Khan could play the ‘harkats’ (complicated nuanced techniques) which were beyond imagination. Born in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore, Ustad Rais Khan was best-known for his iconic sitar playing in Madan Mohan’s melodies but the music virtuoso moved to Pakistan in 1986 after marrying famed singer Bilqees Khanum.
4) Neun La Leya| Kaavish
After garnering attention with his beautiful lullaby ‘Nindiya Re’ in season 4, Kaavish mesmerised us with this rendition of ‘Neun La Leya’, a Punjabi song originally composed by Ali Bela and written by the great Kalay Khan sahab. A poignant composition delivered by Jaffer in Desh raag in a calm, unhurried fashion while Sajid Ali’s flute provides those additional tugs at the heart strings.
5) Senraan Ra Baairya:
Released in Coke Studio Season 4, this Rajasthani folk song has been beautifully rendered by Asif Hussain Samraat & Zoe Viccaji. Once addicted, it’s very hard to get over the sweetness of Hussain’s soulful voice. The music support especially the Sarangi could tug your heart strings . This song is like medication for anxiety.
6) Aj Latha Naeeo | Javed Bashir
Released in Coke Studio Season 2, this criminally underrated song portrays the unmatched vocal prowess of Javed Bashir. With an eerie mix of classical with metal, this track could very well transport you into a state of trance. This song not only opened the floodgate of opportunities for Bashir but also upped the ante of Coke Studio that was still establishing itself.
7) Sar Kiyae| Strings
One of the best compositions of Strings, this song was a sensation back in 1992. The remastered version, released in Coke Studio season 1, is equally enthralling. With great support from Percussionaists, Bilal Maqsood has made this iconic number more soulful. It was a kind of precursor to what Rohail Hyatt had set about to master.
8) Kuch Hai | Mizraab
A powerful and haunting tune released in season 4, this is one of the most underrated compositions of Faraz Anwar. The mood here is subdued but in a potent manner. This song has a strong verse melody and a decent chorus.