Almost five years ago, in June, 2008, the Pakistan Music Television Series, Coke Studio, made headlines all over Asia for its dynamic and out of the box concept. Founded by Rohail Hyatt, the series brought together the best of Pakistani Music icons on a single platform, and gave them the opportunity to explore their own music, bringing a new cult with it. Today, Coke Studio has become a household name, with youngsters avidly following every episode. The emergence of a few favorites is but obvious, and here’s a list of the top 10 singers one must listen to.
10. Ali Zafar:
While most people would know him well as the ‘Channo’ Boy, who dazzled the pop world of Pakistan with his first album ‘Huqa Pani’ in 2003, he’s more than just that. He’s a youth icon, a composer, an actor and of course a singer and performer. With massive fan following both domestically and internationally, he also put the stage of Coke Studio on fire with numbers like ‘Janne Na Koi,’ ‘Channo,’ ‘Rangeen,’ and many others. He also collaborated with Tufail Ahmed with for ‘Allah Hu,’ lending the classic with his melodious voice.
9. Kailash Kher:
With a voice that is most earthy and strong, Kailash Kher is one of the most cherished Coke Studio artists from India. His popularity with the masses in both countries, India and Pakistan, set the stage for some ravishing performances at Coke Studio India sessions. He re-created the magic with his original numbers like ‘ Dilruba,’ ‘Teri Deewani,’ ‘Piya Ghar Aaeinge’ and many other tracks.
8. Zeb and Haniya:
One of the most popular cult bands that performed at Coke Studio, Zeb and Haniya, the two artists created magic with a spectrum of music styles through the innovative use of instrumentation. From art alternative, folk to ethnic blues, and from cheery pop songs, to the more venerable Pashto songs, they really did bring it all on a single platter to offer to the audience. For Coke Studio sessions, they’ve staged songs like ‘Chal Diye,’ ‘Chup,’ ‘Rona Chod Diya,’ and others. Their duet with Noori, ‘Tann Doley’ has become one of the most memorable of Coke Studio numbers.
7. Abida Parveen:
A legendary singer with an international repute for singing the most soulful Sufi Strains, Abida Parveen is still remains faithful to the classics. She brought with her a different grace to the Coke Studio sessions. An exponent of the Kaafi genre, her ghazals like ‘Ramooz-e-Ishq,’ ‘Nigah-e-Darwaishaan,’ and ‘Soz-e-Ishq,’ set the stage for pure sufi magic at Coke Studio.
6. Atif Aslam:
The singer most popular for his vocal belting technique, Atif Aslam is the biggest Super Star in Pakistan. Earlier only known for his crooning pop ballads, Coke Studio brought out a new more serious dimension of the artist’s talents. He explored his own range of musical creativity through the platform, and sand numbers like ‘Wasta Pyar Da,’ ‘Dholna’ and ‘Jal Pari,’ which became cult songs after Coke Studio happened.
5. Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia:
Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia, the band members of the internationally acclaimed band Strings have always been on the list of the most coveted Pakistani singers. Their soulful music has always won the hearts of the people across borders. Compositions like ‘Dhaani,’ ‘Duur,’ ‘Titiliyaan,’ and ‘Anjane’ graced the stage of Coke Studio sessions. The sound of their music clearly shows the intermingling of western music with eastern classic. Riffs of guitar with tranquil classic notes always brings them to the top list of performers at Coke Studio.
4. Shafaqat Amanat Ali:
Pakistani Singer, Shafaqat Amanat Ali, is the forerunner of the Patiala Gharana. He is best known for his versatility in transcending from a classically trained singer into a contemporary artist. When it comes to Coke Studio, once again he brought to the fore, the best of his numbers like ‘Khamaj,’ ‘Ankhoon Ke Saagar,’ and ‘Mahi Ve.’ What really sets his music apart is how he blends and fuses the Classic with the several genres, including rock, pop, and more.
3. Ali Noor and Ali Hamza:
The duet of the two brothers, Ali Noor and Ali Hamza share an inseparable identity with their band, Noori. They started spilling their magic with the second season of Coke Studio, Pakistan. Their first Coke Studio number was ‘Aik Alif,’ a Sufi Rock song, sung in duet with Saeen Zahoor. In the next season, the third, they came up with ‘Jo Meray’ and then in the fourth they rocked the stage with ‘Saari Raat Jaga.’ The brothers made the fourth season of Coke Studio even livelier when they collaborated with their mother, Noor Zehra Kazim for the song ‘Hor Vi Neevan Ho.’
2. Arif Lohar:
An extraordinary artist from Pakistan, Arif Lohar, is one of the most jovial personalities one can come across. Always sporting a grin on his face, he’s always seen carrying his trademark ‘chimta’ with him. Bequeathed by his father, today the chimta and Arif Lohar are inseparable. His most cherished Coke Studio number, ‘Jugni,’ still ravishes the audience with its valor. Sing in collaboration with Meesha, the song takes to a different level of Sufi Folk.
1. Meesha Shafi:
One of the most dynamic artists that were featured on the platform of Coke Studio is Meesha. With her super woman iconic personality and whimsical looks, she gives her music the same taste. Her duet with Arif Lohar, ‘Jungi Allaha Wali’ got more than 10 million YouTube views, making it the most viewed Coke Studio Song till date. She also collaborated with Chakwal Group for ‘Ishq App Vhe Awalla’ which was another massive hit. Her solo songs like ‘Chori Chori’ and ‘Dasht-e-Tanhai’ were no less, and put her on the top of the Coke Studio Charts.