The words are beautiful; the voices that sing them mellifluous. And yet, I find that instead of being overwhelmed as I usually am by the qawwali of Fareed Ayaz and Abu Muhammad, enraptured by the transcendental waves of their music, parts of my consciousness are held down, niggled. Perhaps it’s the constant drumming and strumming, perhaps it’s the psychedelic sound waves zipping across giant screens, perhaps it’s the acoustics that throw back bits of the singers’ strains at them. But the Coke Studio version of Khabaram Raseedah doesn’t affect me the way even scratchy recordings of live, open-air concerts do. Continue reading Coke Studio Pakistan – At a crossroads: Nandini Krishnan→
So the unanimous verdict is that Coke Studio India (first aired on the Friday that went by) is no match for Coke Studio Pakistan [Wikipedia]. For some it’s been like an India-Pakistan match – I’ve seen Indian congratulate Pakistanis on Twitter for the ‘Coke Studio victory’ and others ask Indian musicians and singers to listen to Pakistani singers and hang themselves. For most, this was not surprising – Coke Studio Pakistan has showcased some of the best music you’ve heard in recent times and it raised the bar too high for Coke Studio India. There’s also the problem of Bollywoodisation of music in India, of dumbing down, producing music aimed at the marriage market and livening up the moods of those stuck in traffic. A celebrity culture has taken the passion out of music in India – it does not seem to come from deep within. New popular music in India leaves you with the kind of feeling that a mall does. Loud and empty.
It was many summers ago. I was visiting my village on the banks of the Jhelum. I saw the people of my village go towards the Eidgah, across the chappaD, or the pond. When I asked my grandfather about them, he said. “Ajj mela ay putter!” [Son, today is a fair!] The mela ground was bustling with makeshift shops and people thronging them. At one end of the mela a circus had come up. The mithai stalls were packed with customers and curious on-lookers, some of them were buying and eating. And that’s when I heard the sound of their music. There they were, surrounded by a circle of spectators. A couple of local artists sang a song I had not heard before. I couldn’t understand a word, other than ‘O mereya Jugni, O mereya Jugni’ – which they chorused, over and over again.
Arif Lohar sining a Jugni with multiple beat instruments – dholak, dhol and bongo and chimta. Even the alghoza – two short and narrow reed flute like instruments – used to keep fast rhythm between three to four notes. *