by Medha Reddy
Noori, a Pakistani band that is two decades old, became popular with their first album “Suno Ke Main Hun Jawan” in 2003. Started by Ali Noor and his younger brother Ali Hamza, the band is considered as a pioneer of pop rock music in Pakistan. Last year, they were introduced as one of the music directors for Coke Studio season 9 (Pakistan edition). The five songs that they composed for the season are a musical treat to the listeners.
The first song, “Aaja re more saiyaan” sung by Zebunnisa Bangash, is an original composition. The song was composed by Ali Hamza when he was 16. His vocals set the base and mood of the song, followed by Zebunnisa’s classically trained voice,making the song mellifluous. Zehra Nigah’s catchy lyrics add to the beauty of the composition and “Mohe Rang de…” is the best part of the whole song. “Aaja re more saiyaan” is like a bouquet of flowers that can lift your mood up.
“Paar chanaa de” is a soulful song featuring Indian singer Shilpa Rao who is known for songs like “Khuda jaane” from Bachna ae Haseeno and “Ishq shava” from Jab Tak Hai Jaan. The tragic folk song was passed on to the Noori brothers by their ancestors who were also musicians. Just like “Aaja re more saiyaan”, Ali Hamza sets the ground for the song but Shilpa Rao takes the song to another level. When she sings “Yaar noon milegi ajj laash yaar di”, you are likely to find tears in your eyes. Ali Noor’s vocals are also very captivating. Noori brother’s mother Noor Zehra’s performance on the sagar veena is sheer brilliance and will give you goosebumps. The Indie-pop folk song is very addictive and every time you listen to it, you will discover something new and beautiful. It’s undoubtedly the best song of Coke Studio season 9.
”Baliye (laung gawacha)” is a fusion of an original track composed by Haroon Shahid and an old Punjabi folk song “Laung gawacha”. It’s a peppy,foot-tapping number with elements of rock and folk music. The “Laung gawacha” part is sung by Quratulain Baloch. Her rustic voice complements the song but fails to outdo the Nucleya version of Laung Gawacha. Haroon Shahid fairly does a good job with vocals but the energy of the song comes from the instruments. The song has some great guitar riffs and you can definitely play this number while shedding a few calories!
The song “Main raasta” features Momina Mustehasan and Junaid Khan, who also penned the lyrics for the song . The song starts with an 80s brass sound followed by brilliant guitar riffs and drums.
The lyrics are inspirational and strike a chord with youth.
“Main raasta aur main hi safar,
Hon manzilen rukh na paaye magar,
Chalta rahe sabse befikar,
Yeh silsile ruk na paaye magar”
I am the path, and I’m the journey as well
Nothing can make us pause in this journey
Oblivious to everything, our journey continues
Nothing can stop us in this journey*
Momina, who is known for her beautiful performance in the song “Afreen afreen” which also featured Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, lacks energy in this song. “Main raasta” has Noori’s orginal rock element. It is the kind of song that you would want to listen to while going on a road trip with a bunch of friends.
“O re” is a love song with both the Noori brothers as lead singers. Unlike their earlier compositions “Paar chanaa de” and “Aaja re more saiyaan”, “O re” sounds like a typical Bollywood song. But nonetheless, “O re” is a soulful track which can boost your mood. Noori brother’s guitar skills and the background chorus are the strong points of the song. You might not like the song when you hear it for the first time but you are likely to fall in love with it the third or fourth time.
To conclude, one can feel the Noori brothers’ passion towards music in their compositions. The bottom line: if you are tired of mainstream Bollywood music or just want to hear something fresh, Noori is a band to look out for.
* Translation taken from http://www.lyricsmint.com/2016/09/main-raasta-coke-studio-9.html
Pic from Google Images