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“Coke Studio Pakistan: An Overview of the Longest-Running Music Show”

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Pareeshe Fatima

Coke Studio Pakistan, a prominent part of the global music franchise, is a celebrated television program that showcases studio-recorded music performances by both established and emerging artists. Since its establishment in 2008, it has earned the distinction of being the longest-running annual television music show in Pakistan. The program’s roots can be traced back to Brazil, but it has transcended borders, leaving a lasting impact on the international music scene.

The show’s unique blend of musical influences is a true reflection of Pakistan’s rich cultural diversity. It spans across traditional Indian classical, folk, Sufi, qawwali, ghazal, and bhangra music, as well as contemporary hip hop, rock, and pop. Notably, it actively promotes Pakistan’s multiculturalism by inviting artists from diverse regions and languages to collaborate musically, fostering a sense of unity and celebration of diversity among its viewers.

Originally initiated in Brazil in 2007 as Estúdio Coca-Cola, the music project aimed to blend the styles of two Brazilian artists. This concept was adapted by Nadeem Zaman, Marketing Head of The Coca-Cola Company, in partnership with Rohail Hyatt, a former member of the Pakistani band Vital Signs, to create a Pakistani version of the show in 2008. The inaugural season, which premiered with a live audience, was met with immense success. Production was overseen by Hyatt, his wife Umber Hyatt, and Nofil Naqvi, a Pakistani cinematographer.

From its inception, Coke Studio Pakistan has undergone significant changes in its production format. The show initially adopted a live-audience format in its first season, which was then transitioned to a closed-studio format for seasons two through thirteen. Season fourteen marked a notable shift towards pre-recorded music videos, with each song being accompanied by its own dedicated video, showcasing the show’s adaptability and evolution over time.

The show’s dynamic nature is evident in its evolution of format and production teams. Rohail Hyatt served as the executive producer of the show until season six, after which Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia of the band Strings took over, bringing their unique vision to the show. Subsequently, Ali Hamza and Zohaib Kazi produced season eleven, and following this, Rohail Hyatt returned to produce seasons twelve and thirteen, adding a fresh perspective. Xulfi then took over production for the fourteenth season, continuing into the fifteenth season, showcasing the show’s commitment to innovation and keeping its audience intrigued.

Each episode of Coke Studio features artists accompanied by a house band and guest artists. The show’s tracks are officially available on various platforms, with an emphasis on live recordings. The televisual style highlights close-ups of performers, primarily focusing on the lead singer or singers while also showcasing the collective contributions of the ensemble.

Musically, the format presents a captivating blend of Western instruments with traditional instruments from the Indian subcontinent. Notably, the show has remained consistent throughout its thirteen seasons with each episode presenting multiple songs. However, a shift in format occurred in season fourteen, with individual songs being released instead of multiple songs within each episode.

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