Fariha Pervez is the perfect vessel for Rohail Hyatt’s production. Her vocal performance in all Coke Studio performances so far displays exquisite technical mastery. The precision with which she sings repetitive melodic phrases make the performance sound simple, because the structure of the song does not seem to change. Infact, varied melodies are often easier to carry as a singer because imperfections are less obvious. So while sounding simple structurally, the effective delivery of repetitive melodic phrases require greater technical skill. While Fariha Pervez constructs a hypnotic environment on the surface, a subtle yet dense instrumental underpins the song. The guitar work on this recording is particularly special.
I will not lie, that I am pulled to this recording repeatedly because of Ali Noor’s cameo. Pushed down by the weight of so many unreleased recordings, delayed albums, disappearing bandmates, I get the sense that Ali Noor has so much he wants to get out. On his own album, and on Noori’s third, you felt that the songs moved quickly to the parts where he could belt. That is what we remembered of him, and slowly that image was taking over. But there is a more restrained Ali Noor, and this performance showcases the low ends of his vocal range. And to match Fariha Pervez, a careful precision. He belts maybe for a few seconds, but the restraint leading up to it makes it truly special.
Ali Noor’s cameo here reminds me of his appearance on Junoon’s Ghoom Tana, another triumph singing from the same vocal register. Coke Studio’s description of Jaag Rahi suggests this is the first time Fariha Pervez and Ali Noor have collaborated, when in fact they did Jhoom Ja together many years ago. It is exciting to see the artistic growth both have demonstrated on Jaag Rahi.