LAHORE-Following the announcement of its eleventh consecutive season with ‘Hum Dekhenge’, Coca-Cola Pakistan proudly launched the first episode of Coke Studio Season 11, featuring over 70 diverse artistes in this landmark season.

Spearheaded by producers Ali Hamza and Zohaib Kazi, this season intends to bring back a musical fusion of exciting elements and diverse influences, ranging from traditional Eastern, modern Western and regionally inspired music featuring a wide array of languages and a multicultural sprawling list of artistes, folklore and poetry from across Pakistan.

The first episode of Coke Studio Season 11 features “Shikwa/Jawab-e-Shikwa” by Fareed Ayaz, Abu Muhammad Qawwal & Brothers and Natasha Baig, “Baalkada” by Jimmy Khan, Naghma and Lucky, “Rap Hai Saara” featuring Lyari Under Ground and Young Desi and “Main Irada” by Haniya Aslam, Rachel Viccaji, Shamu Bai, Ariana and Amrina.

‘Shikwa/Jawab-e-Shikwa’ – the timeless and unforgettable poetry, penned in 1909 and 1913 – offers a glimpse into the profound world of Allama Iqbal. The angst filled words performed with just as much prowess by Fareed Ayaz, Abu Muhammad & Brothers alongside Natasha Baig – is the debut of Iqbal’s work being performed on Coke Studio.

The hard-hitting emotions transcend the entire duration of the track. The intense melody embellished with choruses explores the genre of rock and the signature sound of the qawwali in its most authentic form. An original composition by Munshi Razi Uddin, the track also features the work of Amjad Hyderabadi and Omar Khayyam.

On this collaborative single, ‘Baalkada’– the trio: Jimmy Khan, Lucky and Naghma display their playful and entertaining self at their best. A folk tune with a ‘tappa’ style composition, the track has been contemporized using modern synth and a whimsical bass line. A groove that’s full on funk paired with humorous lyrics, and a catchy hook plays into the success of ‘Baalkada’. In the first appearance of transgender individuals on Coke Studio, Lucky and Naghma really showcase their signature style with a lot of grace. In their first collaborative endeavor: Lyari Under Ground (L.U.G) and Young Desi’s ‘Rap Hai Saara’ is a full on hip-hop/rap single featuring two components: the hip-hop beat and the rap verses – in Balochi, English, Urdu and Punjabi all of which come together seamlessly.

Street rap threaded together with desi sensibilities, the standout element of ‘Rap Hai Saara’ is the beat which is usually looped and sampled on traditional tracks but is played live by the house band for this song. The chemistry of L.U.G and Young Desi is fully realized on ‘Rap Hai Saara’as they take over the main stage in their effortless styles and confident swag.

There are several elements at work in making ‘Main Irada’ an iconic women’s anthem. A straight forward pop-rock track, it features empowering lyrics whilst including a wide array of female voices of varied backgrounds.

From Haniya and Rachel’s textured earthy vocals to Shamu Bai’s unrestrained pitch-perfect voice, paired with Ariana and Amrina’s bright and chirpy chants. The first song comprising equal number of men and women performing on stage in Coke Studio’s history ‘Main Irada’ creates a canvas to allow different types of women to be included and celebrated in the same space.

 The song also features guest musician Rakae Jamil on ‘surbahar’, also known as bass sitar.