Spirit of the Studio

At two more episodes than the previous season and nearly twice as many artists from last time around, the sheer awe factor of Coke Studio 2 artists is certainly undeniable. You also have to give credit to the artists for not only experimenting with their own songs but tackling new ones too. The fourth session is titled Spirit and with such acts, it's obvious why.

Mai Ni Main – Atif Aslam
I can only imagine what was going through Atif's mind as he sang this song. It would be a daunting task to be in his shoes to cover a song previously sung by maestros such as Hamid Ali Bela all the way to Reshma, and Atif flawlessly sings the classic tune. He's definitely one Coke Studio artist that continues to shatter people's perceptions of him and his musical prowess.

Bulleya – Riaz Ali Khan
This is probably the most covered Baba Bulleh Shah poem there is and rightfully so, with its poignant lyrics and its underlying tones. Like the many artists before him, Riaz Ali Khan makes Bulleya his own. His voice carries the lyrics and tones of the poem and give them a life of their own. In addition to the poem, Riaz Ali Khan brings raags of his own composition within the track, a pleasant addition indeed. One of the crimson studio's lighter tracks, definitely pleasant to the ear, whenever the time, whatever the mood.

Chup – Zeb and Haniya
This is the title track that made them famous in the first place and Zeb and Haniya once again prove why it was so. This isn't as glorious as Paimana, however it definitely is groovier, thanks to Omran Shafique's guitars. Given the house band talent at their disposal, Zeb and Haniya could've taken the song into a completely different direction, which, in the spirit of Coke Studio, would've been a pleasant surprise.

Saari Raat – Noori
Noori's the kind of band that you listen to at full volume. Their energy is at best obvious and overwhelming, in good kind of way. Coke Studio gives them a chance to show a much more mellow side to them, especially Ali Hamza, who appears at home and ease at this slow pace, his other half, Ali Noor still brings in the loudness every now and again, but that's just enough so that you know you're listening to Noori.

Mahi Ve – JoSH & Shafqat Amanat Ali
Bhangra songs are quite the acquired taste, you either love them or love to hate them. This, however, is not a bhangra track at all, and that's all thanks to Shafqat Amanat Ali's brilliant contribution to this track. His powerful raags echo and evoke a completely new feeling to the track. It's interesting to hear JoSH change their trademark pace and shift down to second gear for a change. This is definitely one of their pleasant performances yet.

Though the artists continue to put out some great music, most of the performances came out with a more 'manufactured' or 'staged' sound than the previous season. Perhaps it's because it was made for a TV audience rather than a live one—and the change felt from the first season and the second one is obvious for everyone to hear. And they are hearing it by the hordes, keeping the spirit of Coke Studio alive and well.

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