Let me repeat something I wrote last year: Rohail Hyatt’s Coke Studio is one of the best things that has happened to Pakistan music in a long time. Needless to say, I remain a big fan. Arieb Azhar’s Husn-i-Haqiqi is something that still mesmerizes me every time I listen to it: and I listen to it every time I can. The big hit from this year’s (Season 3) Coke Studio is Arif Lohar’s (with Meesha Shafi) singing Jugni: “Alif Allah Chambay di Booti“
This is an absolutely captivating song from Coke Studio. In many ways this may be the ultimate Coke Studio song. Like so many other Coke Studio productions, but maybe more than most others this song would just not have happened this way were it not for Rohail Hyatt and Coke Studio. The fusion is not just in the instrumentation, the composition and the set, it is in every sound and every placement of emphasis of the song. It remains Arif Lohar’s song to its core, but it would just not have been the same without Meesha Shafi. For all of this one has to thank Arif, Meesha, and of course Rohail.
But in some ways, we must also thank – and remember – Alam Lohar with this song. I have been meaning to write about Alam Lohar for a long time (and let me say, that I still owe him that post). In essence, Alam Lohar was the ultimate showman. A giant in a generation of great folk artists (here, here, here). And the Jugni was one of his signature songs.
I must confess that I have never ever heard anyone sing the Jungni without Alam Lohar’s (Arif’s father, for those who may bot have guessed) sound track playing at the back of my head. For those who are unfamiliar with the great showmanship of that soundtrack, here is a dusty glimpse. The quality is not that good – one just wonders what Alam Lohar could have done in Coke Studio! – but the mastery is all too evident.
If Alam Lohar was alive today, I am sure he would agree that his son has done him proud!