I know the title sounds somehow clichéd but I cannot think of a better one in the current circumstances. There was a time when all was good and like many others, I was a die-hard Coke Studio fan (let’s not go into those details). Season 11 was the last nail in the coffin for me, it was horrendous, it was an epitome of nepotism, and it was a disgrace to music. After the downfall of Coke Studio, Nescafe Basement rose as a knight in shining armor and filled the massive void for original and soulful music in Pakistan.
It’s not that we don’t KNOW that Nescafe Basement is producing quality music, it was more about the persistent habit of listening to Coke studio and considering Nescafe Basement as a side kick. Boy, were we wrong, (and boy, how well does marketing work to convince us to latch on to a substandard product)!
Episode 1 of Nescafe Basement left us awestruck and it seems like Xulfi (Zulfiqar Jabbar Khan) was successful in unearthing hidden music gems; from eight-year-old Hadiya to Shahzad Ali. The song variation, superior vocal tone and texture of the artists left us wanting more and I seriously can’t get enough of ‘Ranjhna’.
The story of the rise of Nescafe Basement is an epic depiction of the tale as old as time; the story with the moral that hard work always pays off. Xulfi worked hard to identify singers with talent and potential, polish them, and provide them with an opportunity to shine bright like diamonds. He kept his down and worked with a single-minded purpose, (minus the drama and showsha). He let his efforts speak for him.
Nescafe Basement personifies quality and talent … It’s the same concept Coke Studio started its journey with; a keen sense for music, value for talent, and the need to generate the best music ever. This journey has now been taken up by Nescafe Basement and that’s all that matters: “The show must go on!”
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Talking about season 5, the selection of talented artists left us mesmerized. I am writing this article while listening to ‘Bol Hu’, the passion and soul of this recitation is stuck in my head and the vocals of Hadiya, … ladies and gentlemen – we have a LEGEND in the making! She can claim to be the youngest celebrity and given the right platform she can rule the music world. For me, she is the next Abida Parveen!
The tones are so diverse that everyone can enjoy Season 5 of Nescafe Basement. While on the topic of diverse tones, how can we forget about Shahzad Ali, who won the audience over with ‘Ranjhna’. Punjabi is my preferred language for soulful music, the passion and the delivery of emotions by Shahzad Ali were on point and it is the latest anthem of lovers! Next comes ‘Pyar Diyan Gallan’, sung by an all-kids band – Yes, an all-kid band reflecting the talent in Pakistan. They have a message of love and peace for the world and they delivered this powerful message beautifully!
‘Mehbooba’ is another mega-hit and it was even approved by Haroon! It is exciting to see seasoned artists supporting new talent. Nescafe Basement is showcasing the best of our music industry and finally, someone is getting it right, and that is Xulfi. This is the sole reason people including me are ditching the farce of Coke Studio and opting for Nescafe Studio for quality music!