Here is the complete list, photos, profiles and Promo of the Houseband Members of Coke Studio Season 7
Aahad Nayani, Babar Ali Khanna, Imran Akhoond, Jaffer Ali Zaidi, Khalid Khan, Momin Durrani, Rachel Viccaji, Sara Haider, Sikandar Mufti
Watch now the second Promo of Coke Studio Season 7, Starting from 7th September, produced by Strings
Aahad Nayani is a Karachi born musician who belongs to a family with a background in music. His father, who is also his primary inspiration, used to play the drums when he was young, which influenced his passion for the percussion instrument. Talking about his earlier childhood he says, “Since I was born, I have been hearing my own beats over roller pins, different utensils, beating on the sofas and finally on the drums!” Other drummers who inspire him include Dave Weckl, Vinnie Colaiuta, Dennis chambers, Mike Portnoy and many more. A completely self-taught artist, Aahad is attracted to the western style of music because of its grooves, variety of genres and the creativity one can employ to create a beat. He enjoys his music and aspires to be the leading Pakistani drummer on a local and international level.
Regarding Coke Studio, Aahad believes it is the nation’s premier music focused platform and provides aspiring artists the opportunity to highlight their talent locally and internationally. He feels that the platform is particularly well known for its fusion approach to music and feels that fusion features the blending of two or more “musical souls” together, which creates something unique, powerful and harmonious.
Talking about his Coke Studio journey Aahad says that he faced some initial challenges, particularly with respect to playing alongside other musicians, but after practice and hard work he grew accustomed to the Eastern style of percussions and grew to appreciate it. For Aahad Coke Studio has become a family away from his family and he’s cherished the chance to perform alongside fresh talent and industry veterans, all of whom worked together to create beautiful music.
Aahad is grateful for the opportunity to appear on Coke Studio and looks forward to making his debut on the platform in its 7th Season. He hopes that the opportunity will create awareness of his talent and he will use the acclaim to enhance the repute of Pakistan.
The individual that keeps musical timing intact at Coke Studio is Babar Ali Khanna. An integral part of the House Band, Babar is a seasoned Dhol and Dholak player who has received awards for his performances and has played with a myriad of musicians both within Pakistan and internationally. He can be credited for bringing the wealth of Eastern percussion to Coke Studio. Today Babar is regarded as one of the country’s finest Dholak players due to his sense of musical diversity and finesse. Eastern percussion became his lifeline through his family history, the learning of which led him to take on the craft professionally – initially making a mark in the music scene due to his work with Jawad Ahmed, Abrar-ul-Haq and Shazia Manzoor, among others. Years later and with much acclaim to his credit, Babar now runs his own music academy in Lahore where he teaches the Dholak.
‘It’s not easy to put Western and Eastern together because some parts of Eastern rhythms need to be understood in depth before you attempt to do so. It is sensitive. Yet there are grooves in Eastern that are like Western but people in the East don’t realize that this feel is Western. Now as you change an instrument, the sound changes so while Western and Eastern feels do meet, it is difficult but Eastern has some feels that you’ll feel are Western. It is only because of my experience that I’m able to recognize or understand this.’
With a journey that spans over twenty years, Babar’s work demonstrates a deep and ever growing understanding of eastern rhythm.
Coke Studio is proud to welcome Babar back to the mix this Season with his treasured Dholak
The Coke Studio house band is renowned for introducing promising new talent and Imran Akhoond is no exception! Imran Akhoond is a self-taught musician who honed his talent by watching the DVDs and music videos of western artists. He is particularly inspired by the guitar work of Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, Eric Johnson and Larry Carlton. He continues to perfect his skill for the love of learning and playing music and firmly believes in reforming music through the fusion of eastern and western music stile. He is also open to exploring and researching innovation in his musical abilities. Akhoond is particularly fond of performing in front of live audiences and musical alterations while playing live are a special thrill for this talented guitarist.
Through the years his vigor and enthusiasm for the musical voyage took him to perform in diverse locations, including Hollywood in 2013. Imran Akhoond has the special privilege of being part of a live jamming session with Slash and Matt Sorum, the guitarist and drummer of renowned heavy metal band Guns ‘N’ Roses.
Coke Studio welcomes Imran Akhoond to Season 7 of the musical platform.
Jaffer’s interest in the music stems from his family’s tradition in the performing arts. His mother is the legendary Nayyara Noor and therefore Jaffer naturally grew up with music in his life. With over twenty years’ worth of experience, Jaffer has reached a position where his musical expression is both refined and varied – not only has he found his forte in the Piano but he is also the Composer and Vocalist for his band Kaavish which was featured in Coke Studio Season 4 for its deeply introspective sound with the song ‘Nindiya Re’.
As sensitive an instrument as the Piano is, Jaffer is in his element with the keys and it is evident through his craft that not only does he demonstrate the soul of the music while he plays, he does so with the flair that only an able musician can emanate.
‘I think and I’ve always felt that this has been the best platform for our musicians to present their work in a new dimension, to promote the Eastern side of music. It was more West meets East and not East meets West as the primary objective was to ensure that the essence of Eastern music stays intact. Even in my experience as a piano player, many times I’ve had to play stuff that may not be considered as typical Western piano playing at times. I’ve had to play based on Eastern trends which has just happened to come together well with the overall sound.’
With Jaffer’s immense talent in creating a space within his work where Eastern sensitivity meets Western harmonies, Coke Studio welcomes him back to Season 7 to demonstrate yet again the rich art of the Piano.
Born in Karachi, Khalid Khan is a bass guitarist with more than 15 years of experience in his art. Growing up, he was influenced by numerous international and local artists including Geddy Lee, Billy Shehaan, Jaco Pastorius and Aamir Zaki. Khalid is a self-taught musician and looks forward to develop his talent further by directing his talent towards composing and music production.
Expressing his thoughts regarding the platform, Khalid said “Coke Studio has done a great job and gives access to audiences outside of Pakistan to our local music as well. It is one of the best and most consistent platforms that every musician aspires to feature in. Another Season of Coke Studio means that there is still a lot of untapped talent and room to grow for Pakistani music”
Khalid will be making his first appearance in Season 7 of Coke Studio and will exhibit his bass skills to the nation as he joins forces with some of the best music talent of the country.
Momin Durrani is the voice behind some of the most successful TVCs and jingles in Pakistan over the last 8 years. The artist has made his mark in the entertainment industry through voiceovers and jingles in genres of soulful, romantic, comical and soft tones modulating his voice cord to suit almost every mood or character. The artist is all set to explore new horizons in music and will be making his Coke Studio debut with Season 7.
Expressing his thoughts on Coke Studio, Momin said, “Coke Studio is the only platform which has kept the hopes of singer/ musicians alive. It can be called a singer/ musicians’ Paradise. The artist gets a chance to give his best as there are no restrictions and limitations imposed on him. Words cannot express the feeling of immense grandeur that one gets being attached to this prestigious platform”.
Coke Studio looks forward to welcoming this versatile artist to the platform this Season.
Rachel returns this year to take part in the next evolutionary step of Coke Studio. This being her third year as a backing vocalist, Rachel found herself amongst a wide variety of musical influences, both local and global – something that she was greatly intrigued by considering her own multi-faceted musical influences.
A psychology undergraduate at Szabist, Rachel grew up in a musical home – her early years were spent singing hymns in Church and caroling at Christmas. Several years of gigs and musicals later, Rachel stepped into the limelight with her performance in the musical ‘Mamma Mia’ staged in Karachi. With Coke Studio, Rachel has been able to connect her knowledge of music with the sounds of the soil – an experience that she feels has enriched her understanding of music as a universal language.
With a childhood spent listening to rock and pop music, Sara Haider is a Karachi born artist who believes that everyone teaches you something in life. While she grew up with western musical influences such as The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Sara also explored eastern styles, including the music of Nayyara Noor, Geeta Dutt and Nazia Hassan. For Sara, music is something that represents who we are thus transitioning from rock and pop genres to traditional music was always a challenge she set for herself.
Having started her musical career though composing her own original music and performing at various café’s, Sara is majorly a self-taught musician who also benefited from the support and guidance of other artists over the years. Sara believes that one can learn on the job, while performing on stage and working in a studio, which is where she picked up the Tanpura to enhance her musical aesthetics. For Sara, fusion music as a genre is a strange term as for her all music is fusion based, where you cannot have one without the other, even pure jazz or pure Hindustani classical are combinations of so many different things.
Sara aspires to create music for the sole purpose of leaving a mark on her listeners and to produce a sound that is an expression of her life and thoughts. Sara believes in the spirit of collaboration and has worked with many different people to learn more from their experiences and in the process, learn something about herself. Being the youngest member of the Coke Studio family, she believes she has learnt the most from her participation at the platform.
Regarding Coke Studio, Sara says, “Coke Studio gives us what we need; a goal. For people who were 15 when the first season came out its all we know of big budget, mass appeal music. Maybe the prevailing security situation prevents huge live rock concerts from taking place, and limits the playing of music in cafes and pubs like it is all over the world, but we’ve got this one big internationally acclaimed thing that everyone watches and everyone aspires to. It’s a lot of responsibility.”
Sara Haider will be performing as a featured artist and backing vocal for the first time on the Coke Studio platform.
In Coke Studio’s House Band yet again this Season is the rhythm savvy Sikander Mufti. What began as an attraction to beats developed into a lifelong bond with the craft that is Percussion. Through the years, Mufti has experienced a series of learning’s which has led him to perform with some of Pakistan’s finest musicians to date, including acclaimed musicians such as Ali Azmat, Overload, Zeb and Haniya, Mekaal Hasan Band, which is testament to the diverse range of percussive skills he has adapted to. With his extensive work as a percussionist and drummer it was in Season 3 that Mufti joined Coke Studio as a part of the House Band and from that point onwards he has proven his mettle in the unique ability and has successfully adjusted to varied musical styles.
‘To me this can only go more global. Logically, this makes sense. Coke Studio has a style and sound through which it has been established. You can recognize it when you hear it. The sound is still here this Season but what’s interesting is taking that consistent sound and adding all the international influences. We’re maintaining that. I really like what I’ve heard so far.’
A veteran musician, Sikandar Mufti returns to Coke Studio in Season 7 to bring the rhythmic influence of instrumentation into the fold.