Coke Studio India, is in it’s second season. The popularity of Coke Studio Pakistan made MTV think about starting the series in India. While Pakistan is itself rich in it’s folk music but still can’t match the variety that India has to offer. It needed a visionary like Rohail Hyatt to make use of the wide variations in folk music available in India, though I might want to add that it wouldn’t have been an easy task.

Coke Studio India season 1 had Leslie Lewis as it’s producer. Leslie Lewis gained popularity at a national level through albums with Asha Bhonsle (Rahul and I) and Hariharan (Colonial Cousin) and has been releasing albums by adding western beats to old film songs. His orientation is more pop and western style and I think his exposure to other forms of Indian music is limited. This showed up glaringly in the music produced by CS India in season 1. Lot of people found it way below the levels reached by CS Pakistan and some songs fell flat on their face. Yet to be fair, songs produced with Shankar Mahadevan last season were the face saver for CS India, though I think that the Music arrangement skills of Shankar himself helped there. I give, what was as per me, one the best songs of Season 1.

Coke Studio in Pakistan, has became synonymous with their culture, while it is well appreciated by a wide audience in India (primarily north), it is also hoped that Coke Studio India could stand-up and reach the levels that we believe CS Pakistan has reached. Understanding the short comings of Season 1looks like CS India decided to make changes in the production team. This time they the music is being produced by young Amit Trivedi. Though I haven’t followed every episode of CS India or heard much about the music produced by Amit previously, yet I have had the couple of songs I had a chance to view, I must say, indicate a marked improvement over what we had last year. Here I give you two of the songs that I thought did justice to the folk music that it was trying to enhance. Folk music itself is quite complete and mesmerizing in itself, so it is the prerogative of the western or pop beats being introduced to ensure that it enhances the feel of the original music and not subdue or overshadow it. I present to you two songs that I think did just that and leave a wonderful feeling and a hope that it will get better than this

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