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What Coke Studio Missed in Atif Aslam’s Tajdar-e-Haram

My grandmother had just died, I was very close to her. She was kinda like my best friend. It was Sehri time in Ramzan, and Sabri Brothers’ Tajdar e Haram was playing on TV. It had tremendous effect on me. It filled me with loss, sadness, then hope, and love.

Speak to any Pakistani, and they would tell you how this Qawwali has made their eyes wet, gave them goose bumps, or evoked strong emotions of love, devotion, and hope.

Tajdar-e-Haram is an emotional roller coaster, and Sabri Brothers steer you skillfully with the help of chants, tabla, harmonium, style, narration, and wonderful fusion of Urdu, Persian, and Arabic verses.

I appreciate Coke Studio‚Äč for trying and would praise Atif Aslam for trying. They were just simply out of their depths.

Not that I am any kind of expert, but generally speaking, In Qawwali there is great emphasis on devotion, poetry, and chanting. Atif Aslam’s piece was missing devotion and chanting.

It had the same poetry as the original Qawwali. But Atif Aslam was unable to put the emphasis on just the right words at the right time. He even failed to pronounce Urdu words properly like ShoQ and Kidhar.

The instruments were great but they were not as beautifully coherent or as artistically incoherent that they would make you swing and sway. A good combination of sounds is not always good music. Pitching at high nodes is not always good singing.

I liked it, and it was beautiful effort to recreate something so beautiful. They just didn’t get it quite perfect and that’s alright too.

4 Comments

  1. You have just posted my thoughts on this song. The song lacks that devotion, these guys made it too much festive. The music was excessive and overloading, if it would have been delicate it might be liked by the original song lovers, may be Rohail Hyatt could get something more out of it.

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  2. I like this review. I was lost in the soulful words of this Qawwali. Tajdar e Haram is gift of Sabri Brothers to the world. These poetic words cannot be written by a writer, but, God delivers them to those poets.
    Atif is a master of music. He is a legend. In the BTS of this Qawwali performance, he declared that he can’t even reach to the first base of Sabri Brothers. It is considerate to be a part of this specific poetry that takes breathes of many listeners. I was pleased with the way Atif expressed his feelings about how happy he was to perform this Qawwali and to be in the list of those who performed it. It is a great tribute to the legend brothers and Coke Studio won it in impressing me.

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