Afreen-Afreen on Coke Studio 9

By Bushra Hassan.

Coke Studio for nine years has been impressing its viewers and has provided a new life to Pakistan’s Music Industry. The collective and joint performances in the Coke Studio during a song are best met as per desired SOP that actually makes Coke Studio worth listening, watching and enjoying. People wait eagerly every year for the launching episodes of forthcoming seasons. It is, without any doubt, a best platform for all the singers to execute the innovative ideas by recreating old legendary songs into something extraordinary. It is indeed a best platform for the newcomers to awe inspire the world through their talent and capabilities. Here, recreation doesn’t mean that the old song is sung again as it is, but recreation here means that the old song is recreated by adding and composing it in an innovative manner keeping the essence of old version alive.

The second episode of this year’s Coke Studio went on-air on 19th Aug and the song Afreen-Afreen sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and debutant Momina Mustehsam literally stole the show, which was previously sung by Ustaad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Coke Studio thus decided to give tribute to the legend. After the release of this song, it became viral and was appreciated by not only a few but by Pakistan as a whole, but there lies differences as well. Some being a fan of original version did not like Rahat-Momina version. Some also appreciated to the extent that the considered this song as the best possible tribute that can ever be given to the legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

There is something that needs to be highlighted that both versions have something different in them. The lover talks to himself in the original version of Afreen-Afreen, whereas Rahat-Momina version has turned the song into an appreciation and a praise of the beauty. It might look a bit odd when we theoretically study the concept of comparison of the two version, but comparing after listening both the songs actually makes us understand that inspite of being opposite to each other, both the songs are equally beautiful and full of praising the love of their lives. The uniqueness which we have seen particularly in this song of Coke Studio simply amazes us that inspite of having different concepts, yet the new version of the old song has collectively raised the standards of Afreen-Afreen as a whole.

Addition of a female voice in this song was probably the most notable and best innovation that can be included. Momina Mustehsam sung the song with extreme perfection. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s voice usually looks perfect when he sings alone and if he sings along with the vocals of some female, then powerful pitch and voice of Rahat fades away the weightage of the other voice as has been witnessed on certain occasions. But in Coke Studio’s Afreen-Afreen, the balanced presence of edges of Momina on various pitches in the lyrics made it to match Rahat’s voice in a perfect manner. Momina Mustehsam performed and sung really well and won billions of hearts.

Direction of Coke Studio’s songs is something that creates uniqueness for which Coke Studio is actually famous. The direction has made this song as one of the most beautiful and exceptional recreations. Addition of female voice in the song that was previously sung only by a male-artist has brought a lot of praises and positive notes to the new version of the song. Lines sung by Momina suddenly give notes of the song a beautiful touch through her sharp voice and enhances the beauty of the song’s concept to maximum. Another positive aspect that has been observed in the new version of Afreen-Afreen is that the vocals of Rahat and Momina are not organized in a conversational manner, something that is done most of the time when a song is sung by a duet. But here, the vocals were arranged as parallel solo combination that increases the thoughts and emotions expressed in the song.

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, being as one of the most talented and leading singers of Pakistan’s Music Industry, dedicated himself entirely to the song with his loud, clear and deep voice, considered as his signature singing. People say that he didn’t meet the class of original song. It could be a probable reality but for me, his devotion was there and he has given his best while singing Afreen-Afreen with the fact that he has atleast kept the original essence alive in the song and retained his classical-music talent excellently being inherited from his uncle Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Momina Mustehsam came on screen and had the entire nation going after his beauty and innocence. Apparently she had a little role in the whole song as she had sung only two lines, but the quality of her voice and charming personality has just made her a remarkable screen talent. The on-screen fan-girl moments of Momina with Rahat Fateh Ali Khan contributed beautifully to the overviews of song and reflected respects for legendary singer on a lighter note. Fakhir, the Music Director of the song, worked magnificently with the music management by recreating fast track qawwali into something extraordinary. Thumbs up for the Coke Studio, looking forward for some more exciting stuff.

Bushra HassanThe writer is a Research Analyst and holds a strong command over Entertainment Industry.

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