Past week has been devastating for sufi music and the future of Qawwali in Pakistan because of the Legendary Amjad Sabri’s untimely death. He was assassinated in Karachi by unidentified gunmen and the news came in as a shock for the whole country. Amjad Sabri was a happy go lucky person with a natural talent and such powerful voice. He will be remembered in our hearts for his soulful performances and iconic Qawwalis.
It is kinda bitter sweet to know that the biggest Fusion music platform, Coke Studio has recorded a song with Amjad Sabri just days before his demise. This is going to be the most memorable Coke Studio presentation ever featuring late Amjad Sabri with Rahat Fateh Ali Khan in qawwali , Aj Rang Hai.
With the duo of Bilal Maqsood & Faisal Kapadia of Strings as Executive Producers, the Season will bring together multiple music directors, delivering music of different genres will bring forth the talent of some of the most accomplished and major names of the industry including Noori, Shani Arshad, Jaffer Zaidi, Shiraz Uppal, Faakhir Mehmood and Shuja Haider.
Although Amjad Sabri did not feature in previous seasons of Coke Studio, Tajdar e Haram was performed in Season 8 last year by Atif Aslam, as a tribute to the original performers, Ghulam Farid Sabri and Maqbool Ahmed Sabri. Amjad Sabri had also helped Coke Studio on this rendition. The rendition gained worldwide fame with over 33 million views on digital media. Speaking about his kalaam during the recording in May, the late Amjad Sabri had stated, “About 40 years ago, my father and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan read this kalaam at a dargah in Karachi and 40 years later, Rahat and I are reading it again (on Coke Studio Season 9).”
“Coke Studio is the ultimate manifestation of Coca-Cola’s music strategy and Season 9 will further strengthen Coca-Cola’s cultural leadership, celebrating diversity while bridging barriers relevant to the youth of today,” stated Rizwan U. Khan, General Manager of Coca-Cola Pakistan, and added, “It is very distressing that Amjad Sabri himself will not be with all of us to see Season 9 go on air in August. His death is a huge national loss.”
The vast talent on the music direction and production side will be matched in Season 9 by a dazzling array of artists, many of whom have performed in previous Coke Studio seasons, as well as several upcoming and talented singers performing for the first time in Coke Studio. While national icons who have performed previously include the likes of Abida Parveen, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Sanam Marvi, Umair Jaswal, QB, Saieen Zahoor, Ali Azmat, Noori, Zeb Bangash, Faakhir and Meesha Shafi to name a few, the new artists include Shilpa Rao, Mehwish Hayat, Momina Mustehsan, Natasha Khan, Ali Khan, Rizwan Butt, Basit, Rachel Viccaji, Nirmal Roy and of course the maestro of qawwali, Amjad Sabri.
“We’ve always believed in collaborations because this is how the industry grows. After the monumental response of season 8, we decided to bring onboard 6 of Pakistan’s leading music directors to be a part of Coke Studio. Our vision since season 7 has been to involve more and more people from our music industry and make this platform a collective dream. When we presented the idea to Coca-Cola, they loved it and were fully supportive. It was a challenging task and our guidance was required throughout the process, but today we are extremely satisfied that we took this initiative.” Strings commented.
The unrivaled success of Coke Studio over the years in connecting deeply and emotionally with the people and especially the youth, is evident from its immense digital footprint with 6.3 million fans on Facebook, more than 170 million YouTube views and 7.5 million plus audio streams. It is viewed by fans in some 150 countries and has been exported to 20 countries. In Pakistan it has proved to be a unique platform for high profile projection of everyone associated with the music industry, including singers, back up vocalists, composers, producers, musicians and technical persons of every possible specialty, without whose invaluable contribution no Season could have been produced.