Rohail Hyatt

His biggest magnum opus yet has yet to go on air but since Instep saw Coke Studio being shot, we unanimously decided to make Rohail Hyatt the hotstepper of the week. What we witnessed there has been amazing. A live sound. A mix of pop, rock, classical and folk elements of our incredibly diverse musical culture. So when the project eventually airs, got Rahat Fateh Ali Khan performing with Ali Azmat, the Strings performing with Ustad Hussain Baksh Gullo and Ali Zafar singing ‘Allah Hoo’ with Tufail.

And Rohail got the most incredible team of core musicians. He got the best drummer in the country Gumby, the best electronic synthesizer/ keyboard player/ turntable master Zeeshan Parwez (Sajid and Zeeshan) and he got Omran Shafique (Mauj) for guitars and Mannu for bass. Mannu is playing on Ali Azmat’s next record, Klashnifolk.

For extra flavour there is multi-percussionist Shezi who also includes the brilliant sound of chimes to set the ambience and Babar Khanna on dholak and matkas for the Strings. Rahat Ali, who is Shaukat Ali’s nephew and has a keen understanding of music is helping Rohail out too. He is responsible for roping in the lewa musicians for Lyari. These are Abdul Lateef and the Baloch boys as we like to call them and as the days went by at Coke Studio they got their groove on.
And while, most of these names may not strike you as familiar celebrities, they are the reason why Coke Studio is so different. It is a coming together of minds and genres of music to create a sound the like of which we haven’t really heard before. What this process is also doing is that it is kickstarting is a dialogue between musicians. While Abdul Lateef is seeing where it’s at in the tech savvy pop world of the country, Omran Shafique can see what the folk sound can for pop music. This melding of traditions as it were is a scintillating process to witness and indeed projects like these are what is needed for Pakistan to perfect live sound.

And Rohail is our hotstepper of the week for having envisioned it, getting everyone on to one platform and letting the band play on!