By Shershah Ahmed: During Coke Studio’s yearly run, each week brings a new episode and with it a breath of fresh air. Fans of the almost decade long endeavor wait impatiently for the next installment, to see if it lives up to their expectations and the great thing about Coke Studio is, that it almost always does.
With Khaki Banda, Shuja Haider’s production announces its arrival in style. His previous release, a collaboration of Abida Parveen and Ali Sethi, thought receiving mixed reviews, certainly showed a different side to the usual Coke Studio productions.
With this track however, he brings an epic feel to the proceedings and the fact that dynamic duo of Umair Jaswal and Ahmed Jehanzeb makes this an extremely well thought out and mesmerizing collaboration. For the naysayers who claim that Coke Studio has lost its charm, Khaki Bandi reestablishes the fact that the most popular musical endeavor in Pakistan has still got it!
Ahmed Jehanzeb’s varied vocal dynamics, with its emotional low notes and powerful high notes add a depth to the track. And then there’s Umair Jaswal who is known for his boundless performance energy and his powerful raw, but polished vocals. The two come together to make Khaki Banda a treat to listen to, and the backup musicians play their part with grand ease, elevating the song to a whole other level.
Abida Parveen needs zero introduction. Her rendition of ‘Maula-e-Kull’ can be compared to a man dying of thirst finding an oasis. This coupled with one of the most prolific lyricists in Pakistan; Sabir Zafar, makes the song simple, yet the epitome of quality. The house band keeps things minimal, with just the right amount of musical nuances, and keeps it simple yet unique. Abida Parveen’s vocals are in a league of their own, and the evoke emotions almost too difficult to comprehend.
Considering how this is only producer Shani Arshad’s second single on Coke Studio, the level of craftsmanship is far beyond what one would expect. ‘Maula-e-Kull’ makes the wait for Amjad Sabri’s song even more of a challenging task. Abida Parveen also shows us that she still has the gift, and should not be taken for granted.
All in all, Coke Studio Season 9 continues to impress, and steamrolls over its detractors and naysayers, with its legion of fans making it an unstoppable musical force in Pakistan and it is exciting to think of what comes next!