Artists in Coke Studio Season 7
Below is the complete list and detailed profiles of artists featuring in the new season of Coke Studio.
Abbas Ali Khan:
Almost a decade ago Abbas Ali Khan began his journey in the musical arena, casting himself as a pop musician with the Album “Sun Re”. With the passage of time Abbas drifted towards the mystically rich Sufi themed tunes that can be heard on his latest album, Tamaam Alam Mast (Entire Universe in Ecstasy). This album is the outcome of years of endurance as Abbas took a leap of faith by diverting towards this deep-rooted form of music. Being a disciple of Ustaad Fateh Ali Khan as well as drawing his musical lineage from the Patiala Gharana, Abbas has been able to master numerous eastern raags, which he leans on when composing his music.
Over the years, Abbas has won numerous awards for his melodies and music videos and has garnered critical acclaim for his unique sound. Abbas is gifted with a mesmerizing voice and his creative intelligence comprehends not just vocals but compositions as well. He has also composed scores for different platforms such as TV, Film, and Theatre. Abbas preaches love, peace and harmony through his music and has now decided to convey this message through a larger platform as he plans to take his music across the globe after the release of his latest Sufi Fusion Album, Tamaam Alam Mast.
This 2014, Abbas Ali Khan will be making his Coke Studio debut.
Abida Parveen is one of the foremost exponents of Sufi music (Sufiana Kalaam) both in Pakistan and abroad. She mainly sings Ghazals, Urdu love songs, and her forte, Kafis, a solo genre accompanied by percussions and other instruments including the harmonium. Abida has a diverse repertoire of songs originally composed by Sufi poets and sings in Urdu, Sindhi, Seraiki, Punjabi and Persian, and together with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is considered one of the finest Sufi vocalists of the modern era. A few years ago she took a Bay’ah and formally entered into the tutelage of spiritual master, Muhammad Najeeb Sultan which she has also stated in many songs. In December 2009 she launched an album in his name.
Abida Parveen, a Sindhi, was born in Mohalla Ali Goharabad in Larkana (Sindh, Pakistan). She received her musical training initially from her father, Ustaad Ghulam Haider and later from Ustaad Salamat Ali Khan of the Sham Chorasia gharana. Growing up, she attended her father’s music school, where the foundations of her musical career were first established.
Abida Parveen embarked upon her professional career from Radio Pakistan, Hyderabad, in 1973. Her first hit was the Sindhi song “Tuhinje zulfan jay band kamand widha”.
Abida has been rewarded with numerous awards for achievement in music, including the prestigious The President of Pakistan’s Award for Pride of Performance (1982), and the Sitara-e-Imtiaz (2005).
Abida made her debut at Coke Studio in Season 4. Her performances were regarded as some of the most memorable the platform had witnessed since its inception. This season, after a gap of 3 years the musical maestro returns to the platform and will be performing alongside other renowned musicians including Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.
This Season of Coke Studio will witness the return of Bhangra legend Abrar-ul-Haq, who makes his return to the platform for a second time. Abrar made his Coke Studio debut last year and is excited to perform again at Coke Studio in Season 7. Abrar-ul-Haq is a household name in the Pakistani music industry and has long regaled Pakistani music fans with hit songs such as ‘Billo de Ghar’, ‘Rung Rung’ and ‘Preeto’.
Starting his journey from Narowal, Punjab, Abrar was a student of Social Sciences before later becoming a teacher at the prestigious Aitchison College in Lahore. However, his passion for music was a part of identity which always co-existed alongside his career in education, a passion which he took main stream in 1995 with his first album ‘Billo de Ghar’. With mass popularity through 5 more albums, Abrar-ul-Haq remains one of Pakistan’s most prolific artists particularly in the genre of Punjabi music. Abrar is also an avid philanthropist and humanitarian – he is the founder of SAHARA for Life Trust and the Sughra Shafi Medical Complex in Narowal. He aims to encourage the promotion of health and education in the country’s most remote areas.
Abrar’s music can also be heard in the soundtracks of renowned motion pictures. His song ‘Paani da Bulbula’ was a part of the OST of the feature film ‘Zinda Bhaag’ which also featured tracks from other leading musical talent. This Season Abrar is looking forward to injecting his signature Bhangra energy into Coke Studio 7.
Akhtar Chanal Zahri:
Akhtar Chanal Zahri describes music simply as “fuel for the soul”. He received his professional training from Ustaad Sadiq Ali Khan in 1964 and got his first official break in 1973, when he was discovered by Balochi Radio Station and brought regional folk to national attention. In 1974 Chanal’s music became popular nationwide when his song Deer Deer was first aired live on TV. Since then Akhtar Chanal has traveled all over the world, including the United States, the Netherlands and Europe for tours. In 1998 he was also awarded the Pride of Performance by the Government of Pakistan. He cites legends of folk and classical music, including Faiz Muhammad Baloch, Reshma, Alan Faqeer, Roashan Ara Begum and Mehdi Hassan as his musical influences.
His distinctive voice carries with it the stories of his birthplace – the sweltering fields of Kalat Balochistan, where young shepherds are raised to the tunes of regional folk songs while they work. “Where I come from, when a child is born, the only two things he knows how to do are sing and cry – music is a part of us from the very beginning.” says the 60-year-old folk singer. “The songs I hummed as a youngster watching my sheep, are embedded in my memory.” Zahri believes that every animal, field, flower and blade of grass can feel the positive energy of music.
Chanal is grateful to Coke Studio for providing him a platform from which he can showcase his talent to a diverse audience of people. Prior to Coke Studio he feels that he was not as recognized amongst the younger generation of music enthusiasts, but with the growing popularity of fusion music, this status quo will change. “Our newer generation has started appreciating our music due to the popularity of Coke Studio and I think this trend will grow in the future. Coke Studio has shown us a new path in the dark.”
This season Chanal rejoins Coke Studio, with a sound that inspires, thrills and awes and at the same time touches the heart with its Balochi passion, and whimsical Pakistani beauty. He will be participating in performances with Komal Rizvi and Momin Durrani in Season 7 of the platform. Chanal says that, “Coke studio is always much awaited and fans of the platform are very eager to listen to new performances from participating musicians. It was also a great experience working with STRINGS and the production team of Coke Studio. They were fine gentlemen and very humble throughout.” Chanal hopes to a part of future Seasons of Coke Studio.
If you blend a rustic voice with Sufi/Tasawwuf thought, a Sufi posture with a Sufi trademark and catchy melodies upon Sufi chants that assimilate through your ears to your soul, only one name would come to your mind and that name is Asrar.
Born in Azad Jammu Kashmir, the beautiful valleys and scenic vistas served as the inspiration for Asrar’s interest in music, which has been a part of the artist’s world almost all his life. From the tender age of 7, he started writing his own songs and also composed melodies for them. The subtleties and nuances of music and the various melodies captured his interest from then on, which allowed him to explore the dynamics of different harmonies to discover what appealed to him the most.
In order to further delve into music further, he moved to Lahore from his hometown of Kotli in Azad Kashmir. Inspired by Ustaad Sultan Ahmed Khan, Ustaad Salamat Ali Khan, Ustaad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Tufail Niazi and Michael Jackson, he always tried to incorporate nuances of Eastern and Western elements in all his work. He credits Ustaad Sultan Ahmed Khan for helping him develop a deeper understanding of Eastern classical music.
Since then he has achieved many milestones, of which standing first in the All Pakistan Musical Conference is prominent. His musical journey ultimately led him to open his very own production house Souls Speak Productions in association with close friends. The first single by Asrar was “Ni Saiyo” which was released in 2011 and remained on the charts for a period comprising of more than two years. He followed this single with another track titled “Chalak Chalak” which too received much acclaim. To date he has produced 8 songs with the acclaimed “Waris Shah” being the latest single launched by him. Asrar is greatly inspired by Sufi music and philosophy and aspires to perfect his craft in this specific genre. His future projects include additional songs and their music videos for an upcoming album which he plans on launching in the near future.
Regarding Coke Studio, Asrar says, “Performing as part of the Coke Studio platform is like a dream come true for me. This project is one of the leading musical platforms in Pakistan and it showcases the best musicians in the country. It is quite a trendsetter and I think it will become a genre of its own in the years to come.”
Asrar will be performing his song “Ali Ali” for the first time on the Coke Studio platform.
Another addition to the great tradition of female vocalists hailing from the Sub-continent, Fariha Pervez is the definition of immense talent and sheer perseverance. She established her presence in Pakistan’s entertainment industry from a young age through different acting and anchoring projects, but it was in Music that she found her true calling. Through the years, Fariha has ventured into many a genre; however her roots are firmly established in Eastern Classical music in which she was trained under Master Feroze Gill of the Gwaliar Gharana. With the massive acclaim that her song ‘Patang Baaz’ received from her debut album, Fariha found herself on the path to musical success and the beginnings of a prolific music career.
Fariha’s vision for Coke Studio is: “I want to see international performers performing together with Pakistani musicians on a larger scale so the Pakistani music industry can get the exposure and we can get experience working all over the world. With this we can learn a lot more and it will become a great platform for newer and younger musicians”.
Season 7 presents Fariha Pervez’s second appearance in Coke Studio with performances that speak volumes of this artist’s immense talent.
Humera Channa is a name that needs no introduction when it comes to popular Pakistani music. From a very early age she developed her musical talents through the recitation of naats, with a voice that was always appreciated by her teachers. Gifted with a mesmerizing voice it was only natural for Humera to hone her skills and venture forth into the professional musical arena.
With a father who was already a reputed film filmmaker, she did not have to look too far for the support she needed to enter the entertainment industry. At the tender age of nine, she sang for the film Darwaza Khula Rakhna which was written by her father. Her performance drew acclaim and her potential was immediately recognized by producer Nisar Haider, who gave Humera her first break on television where she was given the opportunity to perform the kalaam of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai on PTV Karachi. After this she was regularly seen on composer Niaz Ahmed’s music programme Khush Rang. In the1980’s Humera’s voice gave life to many actresses in both Urdu and Punjabi feature films. Humera did not restrict herself to the Punjabi language as she sang several Sindhi songs, which was a testament to her versatility as a singer. Soon she was acknowledged by producer Shoaib Mansoor and the talented host Anwar Maqsood who persuaded her to appear in their stage show, Silver Jubilee. Being a part of this project catapulted her to instant fame and made her a household name.
Humera has always been very selective about the work she does, focusing more on quality of content rather than quantity. Talking about the music industry and her work she says, “There are many artistes who have commercialized their music and to add insult to injury, they do not even know how to sing. I won’t take names, but they do not last long. For me, today, the most important thing is to maintain and deliver the quality that my fans expect of me. The monetary aspect comes much later on.”
This is the first time Humera will be part of Coke Studio which she considers being an ideal platform for high quality music that showcases the diversity of Pakistani melodies.
Javed Bashir is one of Pakistan’s most recognized and acclaimed classical singers, hailing from a family of renowned qawaals. Having studied extensively under the great Ustaad Mubarik Ali Khan, Javed’s command of the classical singing tradition can be heard and seen in his work with the internationally reputed Mekaal Hasan Band, with whom Javed has been since 2002.
Javed has also ventured into the realms of pop, dance, bhangra and cross-cultural folk by collaborating with celebrated artists including Bally Sagoo and Sondre Bratland, a Norwegian folk artist, with whom he released an album titled Dialogue in 2006.
Coke Studio welcomes Javed Bashir for the second time on the platform and looks forward to his soulful and stimulating voice at Coke Studio Season 7.
Jawad Ahmad, one of the most renowned artists of Pakistan, first reached fame with his song “Allah Meray Dil Kay Ander” which showcased his fondness of Sufism. Since then he has added 3 studio albums and several singles to his portfolio and has also participated in the OSTs for popular TV dramas, which now make him a household name. Jawad draws inspiration from a diverse range of musical figures such as Ustaad Amanat Ali Khan, Mehdi Hassan, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Kishore Kumar, Madam Noor Jehan and Lata Mangeshkar as well as iconic Western artists including Elvis Presley, Pink Floyd and Michael Jackson; this dynamic mix of genres is reflected in his diverse body of work.
Hailing from Lahore, Jawad initially completed a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Lahore, where he was actively engaged in the musical and literary societies, and was part of a party band by the name of Jupiters with Ali Azmat which later disbanded. These early projects formed the basis of a serious consideration of adopting music as a career much later in his life.
Having had no formal education in music, Jawad taught himself by relying heavily on the work of those he aspired to be. Being his own tutor allowed him the independence to delve into various musical genres and develop his own style.
“I have trained myself through listening to these prestigious singers and the first lesson that I learnt and always uphold is an uncompromising attitude towards producing good music. Once I had set this premise, I got inclined towards greater experimenting evident through my first two albums, the first having a Sufi tinge and the second being somewhat commercially oriented. It has also made me a versatile singer in terms of wanting to use both Urdu and Punjabi expression in my songs which has been much appreciated by my listeners,” says Jawad of his musical journey.
The versatility of style that has always appealed to Jawad has also led him to take a keen interest in fusion music, hence his participation in Coke Studio Season 7.
“To me, fusion music is the new, modern music, created by mixing and amalgamating different trends and styles of music, which has more of a regional or a global appeal than only local, provincial or national. Coke Studio, in Pakistan, to me is a platform to create good fusion music which is a blend of Pakistani folk and western or world music.”
A Lahore based artist, Jimmy has been an amateur performer from the early age of 13 and has been a definitive part of the Lahore underground music scene 2005. During his early years, he was a part of the aptly titled ‘Cover Band’ which on numerous occasions has been known to feature music maestros including Mekaal Hassan, Louis J. Pinto (Gumby), Farhan Albert, Waqar Khan and Ahmed Ali Butt to name a few. He is also a resident performer at Lahore’s popular restaurant Gunsmoke. Few of his most renowned performances include Jimmy Khan Live at Cosa Nostra, The Beatles Tribute at LGS, Annual Ball at Tetra Pak Pakistan, Levis Red Tab Gig at the Lahore Alhamra Auditorium and numerous private shows for the US Consulate.
Jimmy Khan, since his debut with ‘Pehla Pyar’ in 2011, has launched “Aisay Kaisay” in 2012 and “Nadiya” in 2014 [with his new band Jimmy Khan & The Big Ears]. Jimmy is all set to take his talent to the next level with his debut performance at the Coke Studio Season 7.
Rizvi has always loved being center stage. From a nine-year-old dancing queen to an actress in a popular drama serial when she was sixteen – to a singing sensation at eighteen and later TV show host, Rizvi’s career has been a roller coaster of performances, and she has enjoyed every moment of it.
Rizvi was born in Dubai and raised in England and Nigeria. She came to Pakistan as a teenager and embarked on her career as an entertainer while still in school. During this time, alongside preparing for her A Levels Rizvi acted in a popular drama serial Hawaaein and released her first pop album called Bauji. Later, while enrolled at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Rizvi appeared in a number of television plays. She then jetted off to Bombay to host a show for a popular Indian music channel and simultaneously released her second album titled Parbat.
In 2011, Komal Rizvi returned to the limelight, showcasing her talent at Coke Studio Season 4. Her performances were very well received by audiences and aided in reestablishing her vocal talents as a musician. Now 3 years later Rizvi returns to her much loved platform and she performs with the leading names in the music industry of the Country.
A multi-faceted personality, Meesha Shafi is one of Pakistan’s most edgy and exciting personalities; a symbol of the modern day youth of Pakistan, a role that was previously unfilled. Steeped in a family tradition of the arts, philosophy, culture and acting, Meesha is the daughter of veteran actress Saba Hameed and her ability to write is born from the legacy of her grandfather, Hameed Akhtar, a revolutionary Urdu writer who ran the ‘Progressive writer’s movement’ for many years.
In 2010, Meesha Shafi launched her solo music career with an unforgettable performance on Coke Studio. Her session performance in collaboration with Pakistani folk legend Arif Lohar received over 6 million hits on Youtube, making it the most viewed Pakistani song ever internationally. In 2012, she returned for another season of Coke Studio where she collaborated with qawaal group The Chakwalis for a performance which became one of the Seasons’ biggest hits.
Apart from music, Meesha has also made her mark in modeling and acting and has also participated in various Pakistan based sitcoms. Internationally, her performances for blockbuster Bollywood movies “Bhag Milka Bhag” and Hollywood movie “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” established her credibility as a versatile artiste. After her last outing in 2012, Meesha comes back to Coke Studio and looks to further explore her musical gifts as a vocalist.
Momin Durrani is the voice behind some of the most successful TVCs and jingles in Pakistan over the last 8 years. The artist has made his mark in the entertainment industry through voiceovers and jingles in genres of soulful, romantic, comical and soft tones modulating his voice cord to suit almost every mood or character. The artist is all set to explore new horizons in music and will be making his Coke Studio debut with Season 7.
Expressing his thoughts on Coke Studio, Momin said, “Coke Studio is the only platform which has kept the hopes of singer/ musicians alive. It can be called a singer/ musicians’ Paradise. The artist gets a chance to give his best as there are no restrictions and limitations imposed on him. Words cannot express the feeling of immense grandeur that one gets being attached to this prestigious platform”.
Coke Studio looks forward to welcoming this versatile artist to the platform this Season.
Naseer & Shahab:
Naseer & Shahab is a Pashtu rock band duo which was formed by Naseer in 2010. Naseer Afridi lives in Pakistan while Shahab Qamar resides in Australia. From its inception, the duo has been redefining the status of Pashto rock music, a musical category which no one could have even imagined a few years back.
Commenting on his musical aspirations Naseer Afridi says, “I was surrounded by folk music but I was never influenced by it. A cousin of mine introduced me to Linkin Park when I was 14 and since then, things changed. Back then, everyone would love folk and for a majority, rock music was termed noisy. I’d disagree with them and tell them how amazing rock music is. My cousins would laugh at me for being the odd person out trying to bring Pashto rock into the scene. They’d give me examples of how successful my fellow folk musicians were and laugh at me. I was told to focus on folk music, in short, not experiment. I started taking myself as a rebel for putting Pashto Rock Music against the mainstream Pashto music. Folk music was never bad, but with such pressure, I think folk music and I became enemies for a while. Imagine that!”
One of the band’s most coveted singles has been “Za Sta Pashan Nayam”, a single which speaks volumes of the band’s philosophy and melodic code. The duo has been recognized for their musical contributions in the past, being nominated by both Radio 1 FM 91 as the Best Radio Rock Band Award and the 12th Lux Style Award committee in the category of Best Emerging Talent.
Commenting on their Coke Studio debut in the present Season, Naseer Shahab said, “Coke Studio remains a benchmark for musicians and Naseer & Shahab still treat it that way. Coke Studio is a vision, not just to bring forward rich music but to highlight the exotics of the Music Industry. To us, Coke Studio means an opportunity to present the revolution in Pashto music to the masses”.
Looking forward the band is working on its first studio album and is also looking out for potential collaborations with mainstream pop/rock artists in the country. Coke Studio welcomes Naseer & Shahab as the band makes its Coke Studio debut in Season 7.
Javaid Niazi and Babar Niazi, more popularly known as the Niazi brothers, started their musical journey in 1981, when they performed alongside their father in India and were honored with the K.L.Sehgal Award for their musical talent. Both brothers are vocalists who enjoy deep roots in Pakistani music. Hailing from a family which has a background in classic and folk music, both have been trained and mentored in the art of music from their father (late) Muhammad Tufail Niazi, an acclaimed classical and folk musician. Javaid and Babar Niazi also had the honor of being mentored by Pakistani music legend Ustaad Salamat Ali Khan Sb.
Throughout their careers, both Javaid and Babar Niazi have entertained both local and International audiences and have travelled extensively to all parts of the globe, showcasing their musical talent in countries including United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, the Middle East, India, China, North Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia.
Season 7 marks the Coke Studio debut of the Niazi brothers
Rachel returns this year to take part in the next evolutionary step of Coke Studio. This being her third year as a backing vocalist, Rachel found herself amongst a wide variety of musical influences, both local and global – something that she was greatly intrigued by considering her own multi-faceted musical influences.
A psychology undergraduate at Szabist, Rachel grew up in a musical home – her early years were spent singing hymns in Church and caroling at Christmas. Several years of gigs and musicals later, Rachel stepped into the limelight with her performance in the musical ‘Mamma Mia’ staged in Karachi. With Coke Studio, Rachel has been able to connect her knowledge of music with the sounds of the soil – an experience that she feels has enriched her understanding of music as a universal language.
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan:
Ustaad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was born on 1974 in Faisalabad, Pakistan and is the son of Farrukh Fateh Ali Khan, Ustaad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s brother and accompanist. He is also the grandson of another legendary qawwali master, Fateh Ali Khan who was the scion of a family whose name has become synonymous with a South Asian musical tradition ten centuries old which has only in recent years captured the imagination of listeners in the West. He was chosen at birth by his uncle Ustaad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan for tutelage in the traditions of qawwali music and was preciously singing for and with his uncle and father by the age of three. His formal training with his uncle began at the age of seven & he performed very first time at the age of nine at the death anniversary of his grandfather. From age fifteen, after years of intimate study, he was made an integral part of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s qawwali party which came to be known throughout the world.
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan took over Ustaad Nusrat’s legacy and is carrying over the former’s spiritual massage to the world. He took the helm after the untimely death of Ustaad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and as his successor he took it upon himself to sustain the traditional music of Hazrat Amir Khosroo. With his sufi music he has built a bridge between the East and the West, to the admiration of millions of followers of sufi music the world over. In March 1998, Rahat for the first time appeared himself with Eddie Vedder in the Dead Man Walking benefit concert in shrine auditorium in Los Angeles. In 2002, he worked on the soundtrack of The Four Feathers in collaboration with the American composer of orchestral and film music, James Horner. Also in 2002, Rahat guest performed with The Derek Trucks Band on the song Maki Madni for Trucks’ album, Joyful Noise. In 2006, he contributed on the soundtrack of Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto.
The musical maestro has also sung many blockbuster hit songs for numerous Indian movies and continues to enjoy cross border appreciation from Indian audiences. In Pakistan, Rahat Fateh Ali has performed as a playback singer for many films and dramas. The singer made his Coke Studio debut in Season one where he performed live with Pakistani music sensation Ali Azmat. Now after a gap of five seasons, Coke Studio welcomes back the music legend to its 7th Season of the platform.
Belonging to a family with an artistic background, Rahma Ali is an aspiring actress turned singer with ambitious plans to grow and create a distinct place for herself in Pakistan’s entertainment industry.
After completing her education from Beaconhouse National University in Lahore, Rahma started her career as a TV actress and later transitioned into singing, even though she had no formal training in the art. Rahma is excited about being a part of the Coke Studio family and looks forward to discovering her true artistic potential as a vocalist through the platform.
Coke Studio welcomes this talented multi-faceted artist as she makes her Coke Studio debut in Season 7.
Sajjad Ali started singing when he was seven and released his first album, “Master Sajjad sings Memorable Classics” in 1979 when he was just thirteen years old. This ambitious undertaking included a collection of classic numbers previously sung by the likes of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and Mehdi Hassan. Ali went on to make numerous television appearances but his true potential was not realized until 1983, when he was invited to perform on Silver Jubilee, a PTV stage show directed by Shoaib Mansoor. It was this memorable performance by the then 17-year-old Sajjad Ali that brought instant recognition within the music industry and the lasting appreciation of a wider audience.
After a series of albums celebrating the classics, Sajjad Ali decided to concentrate on his real area of interest – popular music. A prolific songwriter, Ali released three pop albums in quick succession. The unusual combination of Sajjad Ali’s classically trained voice and his catchy sing-along melodies had a unique appeal and his albums were well received by the public. However, it was the release of his single Babia in 1993 that catapulted Sajjad Ali to unequivocal stardom.
Propelled by the momentum of the single’s success, Ali lost no time in recording and releasing a complete album. Titled Babia ’93, the album contained three hit singles – Babia, Bolo Bolo and Kuch Larkiyaan – and turned Sajjad Ali into a household name. Between 1993 and 2002, Sajjad released numerous albums including the popular Chief Saab (1995), Moody (1996) and Sohni Lag Di (1999). Sajjad also undertook the additional roles of director and actor for the film Aik Aur Love Story which featured the smash hit Lari Ada. In 2002 the popular musician released Koi Toh Baat Ho, which was followed by Cinderella in 2003 and the release of the single Teri Yaad in 2004. Sajjad undertook a new album Rangeen in 2005 which was followed by Chahar Balish in 2008.
Singer, songwriter and composer Sajjad Ali made his Coke Studio debut in Season 4 in 2011 with a voice that, in his own words, was “more mature”. He also contributed to the soundtrack of popular feature film “Bol” with a revamped composition of the track Din Pareshan Hai. Now 2 years later, Sajjad Ali is all set to make another appearance on the Coke Studio platform in Season 7.
Starting out at age 17 with a popular local music channel as their VJ, Sanam Saeed is now coveted for her ability to enthrall television audiences, fashion critics and theatre aficionados alike, with her electrifying work as a Pakistani model and actress.
As a model, Sanam is sophisticated and glamorous and has the ability to strut down the catwalk with poise and grace in both Eastern and Western silhouettes. As an actor, Sanam stormed the theatre with her incredible performances in some of the biggest theatrical productions seen in Pakistan to date including ‘Blackfish’, ‘Mamma Mia’ and ‘Chicago’. The latter two performances being musicals also brought out Sanam’s vocal talents as a singer and she was made a part of the group of backing vocalists in Coke Studio’s Season 3, 2010. She also went on to receive much appreciation for her performances in some of the biggest TV hit dramas in recent years.
Now three Seasons later, Coke Studio again welcomes this talented artist to its podium, this time in the capacity of a vocalist.
With a childhood spent listening to rock and pop music, Sara Haider is a Karachi born artist who believes that everyone teaches you something in life. While she grew up with western musical influences such as The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Sara also explored eastern styles, including the music of Nayyara Noor, Geeta Dutt and Nazia Hassan. For Sara, music is something that represents who we are thus transitioning from rock and pop genres to traditional music was always a challenge she set for herself.
Having started her musical career though composing her own original music and performing at various café’s, Sara is majorly a self-taught musician who also benefited from the support and guidance of other artists over the years. Sara believes that one can learn on the job, while performing on stage and working in a studio, which is where she picked up the Tanpura to enhance her musical aesthetics. For Sara, fusion music as a genre is a strange term as for her all music is fusion based, where you cannot have one without the other, even pure jazz or pure Hindustani classical are combinations of so many different things.
Sara aspires to create music for the sole purpose of leaving a mark on her listeners and to produce a sound that is an expression of her life and thoughts. Sara believes in the spirit of collaboration and has worked with many different people to learn more from their experiences and in the process, learn something about herself. Being the youngest member of the Coke Studio family, she believes she has learnt the most from her participation at the platform.
Regarding Coke Studio, Sara says, “Coke Studio gives us what we need; a goal. For people who were 15 when the first season came out its all we know of big budget, mass appeal music. Maybe the prevailing security situation prevents huge live rock concerts from taking place, and limits the playing of music in cafes and pubs like it is all over the world, but we’ve got this one big internationally acclaimed thing that everyone watches and everyone aspires to. It’s a lot of responsibility.”
Sara Haider will be performing as a featured artist and backing vocal for the first time on the Coke Studio platform.
Hailing from a musical family background, Usman’s passion for music was inspired primarily by his grandmother who was versed in the classical genre of music. A vocalist and ‘percussive guitarist’ who also plays the Piano, Usman Riaz has performed live for audiences at prestigious events including the Celesta International Cultural Arts Festival held in Lucknow, a musical performance for Calvin Klein at Port Grand and on a diversity of television and radio shows.
Having previously recorded his work entitled Flashes and Sparks, Usman is known for his versatility as a writer, composer and for recording a series of new musical compilations. Having successfully experimented and polished his skills with other upcoming local musical platforms, Usman is all set to make his Coke Studio’s debut in Season 7 as a piano player and guitarist.
Ustaad Rais Khan:
Ustaad Rais Khan, born at Indore in 1939, belongs to one of the oldest and renowned musical families that still exist today. He is a direct descendant, through thirty generations, of the court musician to the Mughal Emperor in the 15th century. Khan Sahib’s compelling presence and a unique and inimitable style of playing has captivated audiences all over the world. His music has an intriguing if not hypnotic effect even on those listeners who are not aware of the complexities of the Sitar. The fact that Khan Sahib is an accomplished vocalist also adds to his popularity. At the end of his recitals, he often sings and demonstrates the same on the Sitar which thrills his listeners. They immediately see how vocal music closely relates to instrumental music.
Ustaad Rais Khan’s forefathers settled in Indore and hence the stamp of “Mewat Gharana Baaj” to his style. His father, Ustaad Mohammed Khan, started giving taalik to his son when he was only two and a half years old by presenting him a coconut shell Sitar. At the age of five, Khan Sahib gave his first public performance at the Sundarbhai Hall in the presence of the then Governor of Bombay Sir Maharaja Singh and his wife. By the age of nine he became an established artist of Hindustani Classical Music. In 1955, he was selected from a huge list of competitors from all over India to represent the Indian Nation at the International Youth Festival in Warsaw. At this event he won the Gold Medal in the string instruments category in which there were 111 competitors. This is the only gold medal received by an Indian in this category till today. Since then, Khan Sahib has been touring extensively throughout the world and delighting packed audiences at major capital cities. Ustaad Rais Khan has also been involved with the Indian Film music for about 30 years. Khan Sahib is married to the one of the most popular singers of Pakistan, Bilquees Khanum. He is the first Indian to have a recital televised on the PTV network in 1985. Season 7 will mark Khan Sahib’s debut at the Coke Studio platform.
Ustaad Tafu Khan:
A part of a musical legacy that spans seven generations, Ustaad Tafu Khan of the renowned and musically acclaimed “Tafu” Ghrana will be making his Coke Studio debut this Season. Born in Lahore, the musician lists Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Noor Jehan and Lata Mangeshkar as individuals who inspired him to pursue a career in music. Ustaad Tafu is a musical maestro who is adept at playing almost all varieties of instruments, but will be showcasing his Tabla playing skills at the Coke Studio platform this season.
Expressing his experience of working in Coke Studio, Ustaad Tafu Khan said, “I think Coke Studio has helped in discovering many talents who were not mainstream and not as valued as they should have been. Coke studio has brought such talents in the limelight by showcasing their true potential. Working with Strings was a great experience and I found the environment to be very welcoming and warm. Bilal and Faisal are like my sons and they gave me a lot of respect”.
Coke Studio welcomes Ustaad Tafu Khan to the platform and looks forward to seeing him demonstrate his musical talent in the 7th Season of Coke Studio.
A Coke Studio House Band grad and now a successful solo vocalist from its last season, Zoe Viccaji returns to Season 7 of a platform which has been a corner stone of her musical journey. Music has always been an integral part of Zoe’s personality since she first dabbling in the art at the early age of 15. At the age of 17, Zoe performed with her first band named ‘Ganda Bandas’ following which she experimented with other bands and acted in the critically acclaimed musicals ‘Mamma Mia’ and ‘Chicago’ in Pakistan. While painting is an art that Zoe majored in, the artist maintains that music is where her heart feels most at home. While studying Art in New York and later at the Glasgow School of Art, Zoe still focused on the musical side to her personality and made time to write songs in between. Now based in Karachi, Zoe has set up her own home studio where she records her own music and collaborates with numerous producers.
Zoe stepped up her role in Coke Studio as a vocalist in season 6 of the platform, after participating on Coke Studio as a Backing Vocalist for the previous 3 seasons, an experience that equipped her with an understanding of Eastern Classical styles and traditional folk that this region represents. This training and exposure to the diversity of sounds led Zoe and her fellow backup vocalist and sister Rachel to train formally in the Eastern tradition of music. Zoe’s work has primarily featured Western stylized music mostly sung in English, however through her experience in Pakistan, she has now shifted her focus to Urdu and is currently producing material that features Eastern sensibilities.
‘Being a part of the Coke Studio House Band has had an influence on my musical interests. I returned to Pakistan from abroad in 2008 and up until that point, I didn’t really listen to Eastern music. Being a part of Coke Studio opened up an entire arena for me where they were exploring all these Eastern Classical songs. At first I had no interest in it, my interest primarily lay in learning about the production side of things. However in all these years, inevitably the way I’d listen to music was affected and I started to feel rooted to our traditional music. I began to explore the music that came before me. I felt that I needed to also stay true to our sound when writing my own music. So now that influence remains to be seen in the work I’ll now be producing.’
Through a series of constant training, learning and experimenting, Zoe is now a featured artist for a second time on the Coke Studio platform.
Sub Continental pop icon, Zoheb Hassan is a prominent musician who rose to fame during the late ‘80s as part of a duo act with his sister Nazia Hassan. Nazia gained popularity with her single “Aap Jaisa Koi” and then Zoheb and her started producing music together. They catapulted to fame with their fun, upbeat songs and became one of the biggest pop sensations of their time.
Hailing from Karachi, Zoheb moved to London with his entire family during the mid-‘70s. During their early years in Pakistan, Zoheb and Nazia participated after school in Sohail Rana’s programme “Kaliyon Ki Mala” but he was not really interested in music or singing at that time. It was in London that both Zoheb and Nazia developed an interest in music after listening to pop music on the radio. Zoheb was given a guitar by his uncle, which inspired him to start learning music and to write his own songs. Later he asked the famous musician Alamgir to give him some lessons, but Zoheb was largely self-taught.
Once he launched his career with his sister Nazia, the duo became icons in the industry, not only in Pakistan but even across the border in India. Zoheb’s song “Disco Deewane” was instrumental in establishing himself as a serious singer in India. He further produced albums for films apart from his own music.
Zoheb took a leave from music after the tragic demise of his sister Nazia in 2000. However, he is now re-establishing himself in the music industry and is now appearing on Coke Studio for the first time ever.
“Having lived both in Pakistan and England, fusion music came very naturally to us. Coke Studio is definitely a world class platform for such musical creativity. It was wonderful having worked with Bilal and Faisal as well as the wonderful array of musicians and singers that are featured in this season,” says Zoheb of the upcoming Coke Studio season.
He will be revamping many of his iconic songs for this season of Coke Studio and will be launching an album later this year to be followed by a concert tour.