Witnessing the recording of Coke Studio's Aik Alif

Friend of the show Abid Hussain was invited by Ali Hamza to the recording of Aik Alif on Coke Studio 2 in 2009. Abid wrote about the experience then, and allowed me to reproduce a section here:

Although it took a while for the house band, and the main performers to gel together and decide on the arrangement and timings. Repeatedly starts faltered and retakes were done. But once the timing was sorted, and Rohail gave thumbs up for the first full take – the gang just elevated themselves to an entirely another planet. In one fluid motion, the entire place was swept over by the haunting chants of Allah Sayyan, the crashing cymbals, the violins, the rhythm, and ofcourse, Hamza’s banjo.

Believe me when I say, it was nothing short of divine. That single take, that 10 minute long performance, it was straight from heart. You can even see it in the video. By the end of the song, from 5:11 onwards, the smile on the faces of Noor, Gumby, Hamza … and the joyful final chant by Saeein, you could just feel the sensation, the hair raising tingle, that welling up of emotions, you could just feel that it was nothing but divine wizardry from men who were on absolute peak of their powers, who knew exactly that they attained the zenith of perfection in this single performance.