By Shershah Ahmed: The long awaited finale to Coke Studio Season 9 has finally arrived. It has been a long time coming, yet it seems like the season began only yesterday. We saw many brilliant performances, with singers and musicians winning hearts and minds alike. Or just hearts, in the case of Momina Mustehsan.
This final episode boasts numerous tracks, but the crème de le crop is indeed the collaboration between Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and the late great maestro Amjad Sabri.
‘Rang’ was a qawaali performed by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Amjad’s father and uncle, the Sabri brothers, in a rare live collaboration at a venue in Karachi nearly four decades ago. For the zealous Coke Studio aficionados, it holds immense importance; having been sung by artists such as Hadiqa Kiani and Fareed Ayaz and Abu Muhammad on the show previously. However this posthumous release of the track sung by the late Amjad Sabri, and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan holds even more importance amongst fans as this is technically the last time Amjad Sabri performed.
To say the reactions to the track are emotional would be an understatement. Flowing heartfelt tributes have poured in since the track aired, and many a tear shed. Everyone from the common man to dignitaries from around the globe have praised the performance and stated that Amjad Sabri will definitely live on in the hearts and minds of his fans. What makes this track even more stupendous is that according to Strings, the two maestros recorded it in one take, which is a nigh impossible feat, especially considering its 12 minutes long, with minimalist instrumentals and only the vocals taking center stage and a true masterpiece for the ages.
The rest of the songs featured in the final episode all have their own weight to them. Artists such as Noori, QB and Faakhir are but a few showcasing their talents.
‘Dil Kamla’ showcases the wonderful vocal melodies and harmonies between Faakhir and Natasha Khan. ‘O Re’ is Noori as always at the top of their game, and they certainly never disappoint, with either their performance or their sheer charisma. ‘Nimma Nimma’ brings Shani Arshad into the performance spotlight for a change, instead of his usual production responsibilities and that in itself is a welcome change.
Shiraz Uppal and Rafaqat Ali Khan bring their A game to ‘Tu Kuja Man Kuja’, while QB’s powerful voice dominates ‘Sab Jag Soye’ along with Shuja Haider showing us once again that his contribution to Coke Studio this year is monumental. As always, the house band and backup musicians continue to deliver and showcase their immeasurable talent for all to see.
As with all Coke Studio tracks, the tracks in this season have their own unique strengths and flavors but it is obviously ‘Rang’ which takes the cake for being the standout track. Amjad Sabri will be missed, but his legacy will live on. This is the end of another season of Coke Studio, but it certainly won’t be the last and we at Taazi cannot wait till next year, to see what the legends over in Karachi have in store for us!