Reasons for Coke Studio’s lacklustre performance
There were a few reasons why this time round Coke Studio didn’t impress the way its first couple of editions, in particular, bowled over everyone. For starters, the choice of tracks seemed more personal (either artists’ personal choice or someone else’s) without keeping in mind what could strike a chord with the audience.
One example of it is Meesha Shafi’s rendition of the Faiz Ahmed Faiz poem Dasht-i-Tanhai originally (masterfully) sung by the legendary Iqbal Bano. The producers of the show did not take into account that a literary work of art set to music has totally different requirements than, let’s say, folk or classical music. She uttered the words, names of flower saman and gulab with such harshness that it defied their meaning. No different was the treatment to the word honton (lips) where she simply didn’t take into account the mellow vowel sound. The song didn’t need to be sung intensely with eyes closed and every facial muscle pulled. It needed understanding of the words employed in the poem.
Then Gumby’s absence as the erstwhile drummer was sorely missed. There was a definite non-existent thumping sound of his drums aptly used for the folk-ish as well as classical patterns of the songs. In this edition, the drums were one-dimensional. Lastly, a majority of the tracks lacked vocal and instrumental variation and were monotonous. The inclusion of the Chakwal Group was a little mind-boggling. If they had been made part of the venture, they should’ve been asked to come up with a number that would’ve highlighted their abilities. Instead they did easy-to-perform numbers.
Farhan Khan’s sitar rendition, if you are a sitar listener, was ordinary. He is a talented musician, make no mistake. He should’ve indulged in fusion and a bit of a jugalbandi type of thing. His act came across as something as if the producers of the show wanted to introduce the sitar to TV audiences.
Even the likes of Sanam Marvi and Farid Ayaz Qawwal sounded repetitive, as did Atif Aslam. As for the younger, louder musicians, well guys keep working hard. You might get another shot at Coke Studio.