For the love of Coke Studio
Dear Coke Studio team,
I was going to write to you directly on your page, but I figured you disabled the ‘posts by fans’ feature, so I decided to write this on my personal account with a big hope that it somehow reaches you.
I am not speaking on behalf of your army of fans. I am speaking for myself, a die-hard fan of South Asian -authentic- music and a die-hard fan of your program.
I am sure the idea of creating a platform such as Coke Studio was first commercial, then patriotic. We all know that the end objective of any brand is to increase sales, and Coke Studio was undoubtedly one of your most creative Marketing actions, have a cookie for that. I am also sure that your team had a lot of doubts and fears before launching the idea to the public. You didn’t know how the younger generation was going to react to -odd- fusions such as Qawwali-Rock, but the response was unprecedented. You have succeeded to literally revive folk and traditional music in the youngest child in every South Asian family and even beyond.
Coke Studio started as an experimental idea and has become, in the span of ten years, the ultimate source of original fusions for millions of fans across the world. You have made of Coke Studio the ambassador of peace and tolerance that emerges right from the heart of a country long viewed as a threat to the international security (hold on a second, I need to laugh at that).
Coke Studio has become one of Pakistan’s most sacred assets that’s shared and loved by everyone, including your neighbors. Take any Pakistani or Indian video on YouTube, go to the comments section, grab some popcorn and watch the folks fight, except on Coke Studio videos. Do you even realize what that means? Do you even realize the power that this platform has on people? The power of love. The power of peace. The power of art.
Now that we spoke about the importance of Coke Studio in millions of people’s lives, let us talk a bit about the sudden spike in negative feedback on recent releases.
You guys have created a legacy. A legacy that started with Rohail Hyatt who had brilliantly and happily carried it throughout the first years and then proudly bequeathed it to Strings. Strings are one of Pakistan’s most respected bands. We all had high hopes for them and I am sure that they themselves felt the kind of responsibility that weighed on their shoulders. Rohail Hyatt set the bar way too high and if today, after ten years, everyone is expecting the same level of originality and sharpness to create masterpieces, it’s nothing less than normal.
We will keep criticising if we honestly think that you ruined a national heritage such as Laal Meri Pat, we will rebel if your instruments are completely out of sync. We will get furious if you let nepotism invade your platform. We will not be happy if you replace rural folk bands by fulaan ki bacchi. You have deeply engraved Coke Studio in our hearts, so do not be surprised if, after ten years, we lash out at you if we notice the slightest incoherence in your productions. We criticise you out of love. We love what you guys do and we want you to keep the same standards as before.
Coke Studio is no longer Coca-Cola‘s product, it’s now owned by the audience. Please understand that.
By Salma Elmo