ICYMI, Coke Studio dropped the first episode of their eleventh season in Pakistan. It couldn’t have been timed better ahead of the country’s 72nd Independence Day, especially with former cricketer Imran Khan as the Prime Minister-elect.
And the season XI premier is a direct reflection of a fresh approach. First up was Shikwa/Jawab e Shikwa, a fusion of the rock version of Iqbal’s century-old poem with a qawwali adaptation of another one of his works.
The central idea of the poem Shikwa is that God is not fulfilling his promise to protect followers of the Prophet from loss and a decline in fortune. In Jawab-e Shikwa God answers directly that he has not broken his promise; instead it is the Muslims, his followers, who have turned away from the Path.
If that wasn’t any proverb on this day and age, another radical occurrence on the night came in the form of two transgender artists taking centre stage on the show for the first time in Balkada. Lucky and Naghma sure made this song their own, alongside Jimmy Khan’s vocals.
It was followed by a multi-lingual rap that finally gave voice to underground rappers. The act might not have been the greatest, but it does set a promising precedent for rap music in this part of the world.
The finale though was the most powerful. Main Irada was a song about women empowerment and created an all-woman band that will give you the chills.
With rock, qawwali, rap, classical, funk and so much more, this was a power-packed way to kick-off the new season after an underwhelming outing last year. It was also a sneak peek into life of artists and common people in Pakistan, something that we don’t have access to everyday.
Can’t wait for the next episode. Also, happy Independence Day Pakistan!