Coke Studio Explorer – Best of Pakistan’s Hidden Talent What's Happening Now!

This year, Coke Studio takes its viewers on a journey of discovering untapped talent and unheard voices from the vast cultural soundscape of Pakistan. Coke Studio, the biggest and leading music platform in the country, will be doing this through a brand-new module called Coke Studio Explorer. Spearheaded by Zohaib Kazi and Ali Hamza, Coke Studio Explorer digs deeper into the cultural DNA of Pakistan to deliver the most authentic sounds from across Pakistan.

“Coke Studio Explorer is a story of people and resilience. It sparks the broader conversation of diversity and language. The program is centered around a number of hugely talented and driven musicians whose songs will do Pakistan proud. With Coke Studio Explorer, we hope to discover, archive and narrate these songs and stories in an urbanized 2018 soundscape. We hope Coke Studio Explorer will help foster more love and amity and unite people using the tremendous power of music.” said the producers of Coke Studio Explorer and Season 11.


Coke studio explorer opens with “Pareek” featuring a Kalash-based duo of friends, Ariana and Amrina. Kalasha people – known for their unique yet vibrant culture and diverse language. Born in the Bamburet Valley, Ariana and Amrina have been exposed to music and folklore as part of their culture and tradition, since birth. Their love for music is so deeply embedded that Ariana, named Farsi Gul at birth, changed her name earlier this year after being inspired by the music of international star, Ariana Grande.

Recorded inside a small wooden cabin in freezing temperatures, ‘Pareek’ marks their first commercial collaboration. The age-old folklore is a story of love, persuading the companion to ‘Pareek’, translating to ‘let’s go!”. As new recording artists, the sense of excitement and passion for the art reflects in the flickering of Ariana and Amrina’s eyes, and innocence that is radiating and pure adding further to the allure of this untapped genre of folk music making its debut on Coke Studio Explorer.

The song can be viewed at: and


Coke Studio Explorer released its second song ‘Faqeera’ featuring the brother-sister duo of Vishnu and Shamu Bai. It is a glance into a world of wanderers – invoking a feeling to which anyone can relate. The fierce devotion of Shamu’s voice is paired with Vishnu’s warm and humid vocal tones as they drift into the soul-stirring chords of the Benjo, accompanied by a further layer of light electronic beats. The groove of the modern electronic beat follows the ethnic rhythm of the dholak – making ‘Faqeera’ a brand-new take on Sindhi folk.

Shamu and her younger brother Vishnu were the only two that had an incomparable vocal prowess as well as a passion to pursue it more seriously. Shamu’s voice conveys an acute sense of intimacy which is forceful and emotive. Whereas Vishnu, 14, the youngest artist to make his Coke Studio debut this year.

Indeed, ‘Faqeera’ is a showcase of grace and humility, by Shamu Bai and Vishnu, all while paying homage to their land with this instant and classic track.

The song can be viewed at: and


Coke Studio Explorer proudly released its third song ‘Naseebaya’ featuring Nar Sur (Throat Singers) Mangal, Darehan and Shayan from Balochistan. The vast landscapes and high mountains of Balochistan have resonated with the unique sounds of ‘Nar Sur’ – deep, cyclic, low overtone vocals – emanating from Mangal’s throat since almost three decades. ‘Naseebaya’, is an ode to the peculiar vocal art that continues to survive within the remote mountains of Balochistan.

Born in Dera Bugti, this genre that traces its roots back to the nomads in Central Asia and Eastern Europe has become a staple of Mangal’s identity. Mangal is one uniquely gifted vocalist. As soon as ‘Naseebya’ begins, the textured and loopy sound of the ‘Dambora’, played by Darehan and Shayan. 

The Balochi riff harmonized with the modern electronic arpeggiated sounds allow a peaceful resolution between the art of ‘Nar Sur’ and urban-electronica.

‘Naseebaya’ a replayable tribute to a widely unknown genre. Every one of ‘Nar Sur’s’ folklore tells a story, and to better understand the deeper meaning of these conversations, it is important to know where it all started from. Their performance on Coke Studio Explorer aims to do just that.

The song can be viewed at: and


Coke Studio Explorer released its fourth song ‘Tere Bin Soona’ featuring the Instagram star Mishal Khawaja from Punjab. Born in Sialkot, Pakistan, and raised in Toronto.

Tere Bin Soona’ is a gentle, mid-tempo love ballad that finds the bedding for its lyrics in melodic guitar chords and a gentle rhythm. Recorded inside a minaret, against the majestic Lahore fort – the idea was to record the reverb and resonance of the space to capture the essence and cultural heritage of Punjab.

Mishal Khawaja first discovered her vocal capabilities while humming a Toni Braxton song around a friend.Over years of songwriting, performing and creating a fan base, Mishal Khawaja has been able to hone her craft on Instagram – the very grounds where she was ultimately discovered by the producers.

In ‘Tere Bin Soona’, Mishal Khawaja’s voice offers a slow dreamy feel, riding on a tender acoustic guitar by Ali Hamza on this original track which is written as well as composed by her.

The song can be viewed at: and


Coke Studio Explorer released its fifth and final song ‘Ha Gulo’ featuring Qasamir from Azad Kashmir.

‘Ha Gulo’, Qasamir conveys a deeply emotional aura and transports you to their home ground: the scenic valley of Muzaffarabad in Azad Kashmir. Produced by Zohaib Kazi and Ali Hamza, ‘Ha Gulo’ is a song comprising all the hallmarks: Mahjoor’s moving words of lost love, Altaf Mir’s emotion-packed vocals anchored by the unconventional tempos of the ‘Sarangi’ played by Ghulam Mohammad Daar; the straight-ahead tones of the traditional ‘Tumbaknaer’ by Saifuddin Shah, alongside the stripped-down beats of the ‘Garha’ by Manzoor Ahmed Khan; it all makes for an overwhelming experience. The raw texture of the Kashmiri language envelopes you.

In their very first commercial appearance on Coke Studio Explorer, ‘Qasamir’ grips the audience by their hearts, and introduce them to a previously unchartered realm of music. The modern musical instruments effortlessly seep into the mix, as the groove of the electronic beats enhances the Kashmiri rhythmic section on ‘Ha Gulo’.

Indeed, ‘Qasamir’ is Kashmir’s true representatives of Kashmiri folk music: effortlessly maintaining a style of singing, using traditional age-old instruments; and influencing a great impact through timeless poetry.

The song can be viewed at: and

Nudrat Iqhlaq

Nudrat Ikhlaq

I tweet @nudrat_v & @thenudrateffect.