Very unpopular opinion. I should shut the blog down now.
I’ve tried to like Coke Studio’s productions, and I cannot. [Now you know you can just ignore me]. Yes, I am an old nostalgic fuddy-duddy. I probably lack true musical appreciation. But I keep looking for older, simpler productions of the same desi songs. I really feel like the voice quality is better. Or is it something about the entire commercial process that does something to the sound and the entire experience of sound? Idk.
Every time I listen to a Coke Studio re-do of an old song, I stop midway and go back to the old one. Like my friend Zara’s sitar rendition of Amir Khusro’s ‘Ambva taley dola rakh de’ sent me looking for youtube videos. I tried Coke Studio – because they are so ubiquitous. I tried. I couldn’t finish it.
Then I found an Indian rendition, contemporary, but simple- and wow, the voice and musical training.
I think the first rendition I heard was one by Bilquees Khanum et al (it’s at amazon). The recording is not great but the voice is beautiful and something about it is real. I wish someone who’s not Coke Studio would re-do these songs. The old recordings are terrible to listen to on the internet. But do them in a simpler fashion. Fewer instruments? With trained classical singers. Not commercial artists. — Though ironically many of the commercial artists are classically trained.
There is no adequate ‘market’/public for this kind of listening.
And something is lost. I was one of those who pooh-poohed our classical music tradition. Until, of course, I met my Chishti Sabri pir, who told me about the spirituality of the ragas.