So, Coke Studio Season 6 is well into the second half of the run and I have deliberated for some time on my reaction to the new style. My mother used to say, “If you can’t say anything good don’t say anything at all.” Yorkshire Poet Ian McMillan lives by the same maxim. Creative people work hard to represent themselves in their work and yet reactions are subjective. So, if it’s not to your taste, don’t necessarily decry what some people have poured their heart into. Good advice.
Jumping down from the fence then, I fall firmly on the side of liking. Thumbs up. However, I do have some “Buts”.
I miss the studio band. I think they are excellent. Kamran “Mannu” Zafar has become one of my favourite bass players. He has such fluidity. His contribution was something to look forward to. And Babar Ali Khanna has made me fall in love with the tock of the dholak.
Let me explain. The new format brings together musicians from Serbia, Turkey, Bangladesh, Italy and so on, all via the magic of technology. All playing their carefully arranged part, in their own studio, whilst listening to the track on headphones, and then mixed together for the final version. It works. You can bring together a huge range of instruments previously thought unlikely. We have kora, harp, strings, brass, bells, chimes. But …… does it come over, eventually, as a little too “rehearsed”, a little too “sterile” sometimes ?
I can appreciate the pressure to freshen up the format and in my opinion Rohail Hyatt is a very talented producer and arranger. You can see why he has the job. He is creative with his interpretations to the extent whereby upon hearing Pakistani fusion music you might be able to pinpoint the Hyatt influence.
So I’m not getting on a downer here. Creative people are pouring their life into this and there have been some outstanding vocal performances. I should mention here that the Viccaji sisters backing vocals always sound like aural velvet to me.
But how about mixing it up a bit ? New format one episode – house band the next – or mix it in the same episode. What would happen if you flew the superb kora player to Karachi and jammed with the house band ? How about letting the current Serbian rhythm section stretch out ? They are obviously tight – I would love to see them rip it.
Exploration and experimentation drives the creative process. CS6 has again widened the format. I applaud it. It could go on to be better still.
Here is a wonderful example – stick around for the rhythm change – it’s cool. I love this track.
(If anyone in Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire would like to form a world music band to play this stuff – drop me a line ! I’m off to get my oud out.)
( PS. I clicked “What others are saying about Coke Studio Season 6” on the WordPress tag prompt.
You have a unique post here, folks. 🙂 )