Singing and dancing are two things that spread their effect more when escorted by passion. Fittingly, this season Coke Studio features seven episodes comprising thirty-one artists, thirteen musicians and twenty-eight songs.

Kicking off their much awaited season’s first episode with Atif Aslam’s much talked about, Tajdar-e-Haram, the masses were hooked, pretty early on. It is always a gamble to emulate the Qawali Kings of Pakistan, whether it be Nusrat fateh Ali Khan or the Sabri brothers. Some of their Qawalis and songs are treasured by the maestros and are forbidden fruit for the newbies. Even though most of us felt that Atif Aslam, was not able to recreate the magic created by Sabri Brothers, but it was a good short version of the 24 minute long mystical Qawali. Overall Tajdar-e-Haram was widely appreciated as a tribute to the duo of Sabri Brothers.

Another standout from episode one was Bewajah by Nabeel Shaukat Ali, the song was melodious and lyrical – the best combination possible. Some of us were a bit lost with Aankhali Pharooka, but I’m sure it found its audience too. There is no doubt that both the singers of Sammi meri waar have immense vocal power and range, but some of us felt that the rock fan in Umair Jaswal  just couldn’t keep it simple at times.

Sakal Ban and Rockstar  were bold additions to the playlist. It feels as though Ali Zafar has explored his Stephen Tyler like high pitched vocals this season. All of us have hailed the rock-star in our chocolate-boy singer. But Chiryaan da chamba, was in the class of its own.

With the heartfelt narration of a letter from a daughter by Anwar Maqsood, the song made most of us wipe a tear or two, strengthening our faith in cultural classics. Umraan Langiyan once again was a good shorter version, with Ali Sethi winning us over again with his soulful vocals. Arif Lohar’s Rung Jidri was a monotonous addition to his previous Coke Studio ventures. The band Seige’s Khari Neem was a rendition in its own right. Originally sung by Mai Bhagi, the song was effortlessly carried by the lead singer, Junaid Younus.

Other performances by Mulazzim Hussain and Ustaad Hamid Ali Khan were also much appreciated by audiences.

The duo of Strings, who made their debut as producers for Season 7, have brought the magic back to the juicy and experimental format of Coke Studio. With three more episodes to come, we’re all expecting much more than before.

Coke Studio fans are all ears!