Coke Studio hath arrived again!!

cokestudioIt is that time of the year again! Coke Studio‘s Season 3 kicked off yesterday. The first episode was titled Reason. Each song title in the review below is a hyperlink to the respective youtube video.
The season took off with a poetry recital by Arieb Azhar. Arieb Azhar had earlier featured in the last episode of Season 2 with a simple but beautiful track called Husn-e-Haqiqi. And this time he narrated Na Raindee Hai, a poem by the great Bulleh Shah. Coming in Azhar’s baritone voice and supported by Rohail Hyatt‘s lounge-ish arrangement, the track provided the perfect start to the season. Following Arieb Azhar was Sufi doyenne Abida Parveen making her debut at Coke Studio with Ramooz-e-Ishq. Majestic as always. Respect. No other words.
No.3 was another debutant pair at Coke Studio, Arif Lohar and Meesha Shafi, performing the song called Alif Allah. This was my first time with Arif Lohar, and the Behind-The-Scenes video had everyone describing him a rockstar. Meesha Shafi had apparently requested Rohail to permit her to sing alongside Lohar. One listen to Alif Allah was enough to explain why. The energy that Arif Lohar’s voice possesses is unbelievable! That he was able to make an impact in spite of following someone like Abida Parveen itself speaks lots of the man! And Meesha has made best use of the opportunity she got, backing him well.
Another group debuting at the show was the veteran rock band Karavan, another group I was listening to for the first time. And their rendition of Yaadein, a track from their 2010 album Saara Jahan, was pretty much following the standard Pakistani rock template with its predominantly melancholic feel. Starting off with a long and fascinating ad-lib by Sadiq Sameer on the rubab, Zeb and Haniya‘s funk-based take on the Afghani traditional folk song Bibi Sanam provided a wonderful closure to the inaugural episode of Season 3. Zeb and Haniya have been one of my favourites on the show, and it was wonderful to see them in the opening episode itself with such a groovy cover!
Coke Studio’s Season 2 was a real musical treat. And going by Episode 1, the 3rd edition promises to be even better! Next episode shall be aired on 20th June.
Music Aloud Rating: 9/10
Recommended Tracks: All are recommended of course, but my faves are Ramooz-e-Ishq, Bibi Sanam and Alif Allah.