Kashmir’s Mehjoor to echo in Coke Studio Pakistan
For the first time in the 11 year history of Coke Studio, the massively loved and followed musical show of Pakistan will feature a Kashmiri song sung by a Muzaffarabad based broadcaster, Altaf Mir. A song written by Kashmir’s famous poet Ghulam Ahmad Mehjoor, HA GULO will be performed by Altaf and his team “Qasmir”.
On July 3, Coke Studio kicked off their new series, Coke Explorer, under the reign of producers Zohaib Kazi and Ali Hamza.
A pre-cursor to the musical platform’s 11th season, premiering in August, Coke Explorer is an adventure-meets-music-meets-discovery journey that takes viewers of the show across the country. The five-part series, accompanied by five original songs, allows for Coke Studio fans to immerse themselves in the long- running show’s process of finding talent from across the nation.
“This year is going to speak on unity. There is a divide because of the elections so we thought of constructing something that would unite people — knit all these little little areas around Pakistan together to share what we appreciated — human stories,” Hamza told dailytimes.com.pk in an interview.
— Faizan Lakhani (@faizanlakhani) July 1, 2018
The program features five (5) sets musicians, each one from a different region including Kashmir.
The first one is a duo of Kalash girls, Ariana and Amrina, from the Chitral district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. They sing native folk songs but have been exposed to and appreciate popular international music. “We have Vishnu and Shamu Bai, two musicians from Dewan Lal Chand in Sindh, who sing devotional songs, known as bhajans, that they learnt from their father. Their singing is unique and very powerful.”
Zohaib Kazi told the Daily Times: “Three Baluchi musicians, Darehan, Shayan and Mangal, present throat singing in the unique music known as Nur Sur. These songs are traditionally performed at festive occasions and deal with themes of love, longing and separation. Their music is as powerful as the Tuvan singing of Mongolian monks. Qasamir, a band of four musicians from Kashmir, performs surreal songs dealing with love, beauty and harmony in Coke Studio Explorer. A lot of people talk about their love for Kashmir and its cause but few have heard the language of the region. The program will change that in its own small way. We have tried to capture the true essence of the language by recording the poetry of famed Kashmiri poet, Peerzada Ghulam Ahmad Mahjoor, in his homeland. We are confident that people will love the sound of the Kashmiri songs. The fifth performer is the Pakistani-Canadian Mishal Khawaja, whom we found on Instagram. She has a unique, refreshing take on urban music and sings with a lot of passion. Her act is likely to win a lot of praise and accolades.”
Speaking over the selection of musicians for Coke Studio Explorer, the duo said that they established the criteria for selection before embarking on a mission in search for musicians. “The musicians had to be relatively unknown. They had to represent a unique aspect of the culture, history and spirit of Pakistan. And, they had to be talented. The selections were made in the field – in a natural, freewheeling and largely unrestrained manner – using the criteria that had been established in the beginning.”
— meem (@meemelif) July 1, 2018
“The search for musicians was both extensive and expansive. It covered the remote mountains of Kalash, the scenic valley of Muzaffarabad, the vast landscape of Baluchistan, and the deserts of Sindh not mention the the infinite virtual terrain of the internet. A lot of time, effort and energy went into the search which was, fortunately, both productive and rewarding. We are very pleased with the results,” they said.
Hamza and Kazi were all praise for Kashmir. They said that they loved meeting people from remote areas of Pakistan and hearing their stories. “Visiting Kashmir and experiencing the unique beauty of the region and its people was a genuine pleasure.”