In commemoration of ten seasons, our writer, Rida Aamir compiles a list of songs from each season, that really define Coke Studio for us.
Garaj Baras – Ali Azmat (Season 1)
The song that made us sit up and take notice of Coke Studio. In a blazing trail of absolute music glory, Ali Azmat’s Garaj Baras was our first glimpse into the genius of Rohail Hyatt’sventure.
Paimona – Zeb and Haniya (Season 2)
Although we still feel the original is better, this reworked version is a delight unto its own.
Alif Allah – Meesha Shafi and Arif Lohar (Season 3)
The first real, brilliant collaboration of Coke Studio and still one of the finest. Alif Allah was the song everyone had on repeat during that year and even today is a firm favourite. The raw energy of Arif Lohar, Meesha’s edgy vocals, the kalaam and the reimagined tune – absolute perfection.
Larho Mujhey – Bilal Khan (Season 5)
A great track that brought not only an excellent voice to the Coke Studio platform but also a genuinely interesting meld of lyrics and meoldy.
Sab Akho Ali Ali – Asrar (Season 7)
The year Strings took over and Asrar’s Shakkar Vanda became a breakout. Yet, Asrar’s Sab Akho Ali Ali is the tune that resonates with us even more, for its dynamic vocal rendering.
Mujhe Baar Baar – Abbas Ali Khan (Season 7)
This song has an almost unidentifiable quality. Something that lifts one up while hearing it, yet there is a dark magic about it that makes it an absolute winner.
Chaap Tilak – Rahat Fateh Ali and Abida Parveen (Season 7)
The genius beauty of this track was subverting everything we know about it, as this cheerful shaadi song and turn it on its head by revisiting Khusro’s lyrics in another way altogether. The tonal changes made for a hauntingly mesmerizing track that still lingers in the mind. The vocal master class was just the perfect icing on the cake.
Tajdar-e-Haram – Atif Aslam (Season 8)
A lot of purists perhaps still scoff at the idea of this cover, but we loved it. Taking on the original was not an easy task, but Atif Aslam’s passionate rendering and the musical arrangement together, really worked superbly, making this a firm favourite that can be listened to anytime on repeat.
Bewajah – Nabeel Shaukat Ali (Season 8)
One of the finest tunes to have come out of Coke Studio, the song was relatable and universally appealing. The longing in both the lyrics and vocals still resonate.
Sayon – Mekaal Hasan Band (Season 8)
A gorgeous melting pot of stunning vocals and an addictively memorable melody, combined with beautiful lyrics. This is the kind of musical collaboration that makes one fall in love with the very concept of music itself.
Rockstar – Ali Zafar (Season 8)
An irreverent, utterly fun take on the persona of celebrity, Ali Zafar brought some much needed zing, punch and pizzazz to a wonderfully witty track.
Ae Dil – Sara Haider & Ali Zafar (Season 8)
Musical chemistry in a bottle – that’s what this track was all about. With its jazzy undertones, Ae Dil was an absolute treat to listen to and the vocal jugalbandi really worked its magic.
Khaaki Banda – Ahmed Jahanzeb & Umair Jaswal (Season 9)
The surprising standout track in a year where one wouldn’t have normally rated this at all at the start of the season. Yet here it is. There’s this lilting darkness to the musical approach that somehow made this song unique to the whole season.
Ae Rahe Haq (Season 9)
Sentimentality aside, this cover version reminds us why covers are so important sometimes. It brought together beautifully a mix of vocals in a melody that almost read like an essay, with an introduction, build up and stunning climax.
Tinak Dhin – Ali Hamza, Ali Sethi, Waqar Ehsin (Season 10)
A delightfully fun track, Tinak Dhin is an absolute joy to listen to. Tonally, Ali Hamza, Ali Sethi and Waqar Ehsin’s voices complement each other beautifully. The lyrics and the mood of the song are playful and if this doesn’t get you singing along, then nothing will.
Naina Moray – Javed Bashir & Akbar Ali feat. Amir Zaki (Season 10)
A beautifully composed mix of brilliance. Javed basher where he says “Mann atkeya be parva de naal” and with Akbar Alis beautiful notes reach right into your soul. Listen to this brilliant blend of melodies and voices par excellence.