ساری دنیا

Rohail Hyatt, producer of Coke Studio:

This song has a strange chant-like opening and closing part! I had found this loop somewhere and I had used it as a placeholder for something traditional in the song. When we realized we would not have any traditional artists come in because of covid restrictions, everyone still felt this part had to be preserved. So we got the backing vocalists to sing this as an intro and outro to the song. The original part was in some strange subcontinental language and the only words I understood from it were ‘munda kaka’. Not sure what that was but if someone connects the dots, please do share the info!

This is a meta song about rap itself, reminiscent of Rap Hai Saara from Coke Studio 11. I find it interesting to compare the two because they reveal the very different creative processes of different producers.

On Saari Dunya, Rohail pulls some classic Coke Studio techniques: the addition of a ‘traditional’ or classical element (in this case that chant mentioned above), percussive orchestral instrumentation (from Turkey and Nepal, reminiscent of the only other asynchronously recorded season of Coke Studio, season 6), and a dark break lead by guitar and bass. Rohail’s production also relies on echo, as an effect on various tracks and also in the way the backing vocalists emphasize parts of what Bohemia is saying. I find this particular element of Rohail’s style a little hard to get my head around. Perhaps this is just personal preference, but I get the feeling this does not feel natural in the nature of Bohemia’s music. What makes the song great regardless is that the chorus is one mean hook, and that it is always hard to disregard Bohemia’s charisma.

Rap Hai Saara was produced by Ali Hamza and Zohaib Kazi. The production in terms of personnel is much sparser. A guitar riff and and a very electronic beat form the spine of the song’s first half. The second half is held up with a dhol and a synth. There are no backing vocals, and Ali Hamza remarks in the BTS: “We’re about to break all the Coke Studio rules”. He refers perhaps specifically to the performance but I think the comment applies to the audio production as well. While the vocals take center stage as they do in most Coke Studio recordings, the orchestra hibernates and classical elements are foregone to let the rap shine. The result is a more natural rap tone but one harder to digest for those not into rap beforehand. This reflects not just a difference in style, but a difference in intention. For Rohail, Coke Studio has an ethos that inculcates the artist. For Hamza and Zohaib the desire is to use Coke Studio’s reach to bring audiences to rap.