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Baliye (Laung Gawacha) by Coke Studio – Fusion, Where art Thou?

Over the years tunes from Coke studio have found their way into the hearts and minds of the listeners. The uniqueness of the show has been its ability bring together musicians of different genres and musical proficiency and create a fusion of some memorable compositions.

A sane strategy currently taken up by the show’s management is to add an array of musical directors for the different tunes being performed. This is indeed a refreshing step, and will allow not only the display different kinds of musical genres and an assortment of musicians performing, but will also bring forth a variety in musical directions being taken. Hopefully, this approach will probably result in a better quality of music direction since now more than one set of directors will be ‘calling the shots’ for the content.

The show has entered its 9th season and one of its current offerings is Baliye (Laung Gawacha) with Haroon Shahid and Quratulain Baloch (QB) as the lead vocals. The song finds the veteran rock band Noori at the helm of its music direction. The track takes a promising start with a melancholic opening and then launching into strong rock riffs on the guitars accompanied by heavy drumming and baselines (total Noori signature sound) as Haroon tries a strong vocal attack accompanied by QB and the house band.

Two minutes into the song and you realize you have a feisty upbeat track that might have been a head banging (hard rock/heavy metal) track originally, which has been given the signature Coke studio treatment with additions of keyboards, harmonium and string section. Despite everyone putting in a brave effort the exercise comes across as quite mediocre. An overwhelming combination of instruments and vocals gives an impression of ‘too many cooks spoiling the broth’ feel. It appears that nearly every instrument available in the studio was squeezed into the song, without any one instrument making a real impact.  Halfway through the song, you start wondering whether ‘Laung Gawacha’ was really part of the song, as you were expecting.

This query gets answered, as suddenly the initial phase of the track comes to a sudden closure and a more mellow sound of Laung Gawacha starts to take shape. The transition from Baaliye to Laung Gawacha appears abrupt and ill-planned, and the listeners get an impression of two separate songs being sown together back-to-back. As the tune nears its end, it re-launches into a hotchpotch frenzy of instruments, leaving the listeners just as confused and bewildered as they were before.

Perhaps it might have been wiser to treat these two tunes as separate songs (which they appear to be) and recorded separately. The ‘fusion for sake of fusion’ exercise should be avoided.  At the end of the day, the track appears more like an opportunity wasted. It may end being a filler track in the coke studio collection that one skips in order to listen to the better tracks.

Coke studio has had its fair share of hits and misses. It appears that this tune falls in the latter category. It comes across as a brave effort but leaves much to be desired.


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