KARACHI: Season 9 of the signature fusion music platform ‘Coke Studio’ will be remembered by fans for all time to come, as Amjad Sabri, who passed away tragically on Wednesday, will be seen performing in this season. In what is probably the last studio recording, Amjad together with singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan read the qawwali “Aj rang hai”. With the duo of Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia of Strings as executive producers, the season will bring together multiple music directors, delivering music of different genres and will bring forth the talent of some of the most accomplished and major names of the industry including Noori, Shani Arshad, Jaffer Zaidi, Shiraz Uppal, Fakhir Mahmood and Shuja Haider. Although Amjad did not feature in previous seasons of ‘Coke Studio’, “Tajdare Haram” was performed in season 8 last year by singer and actor Atif Aslam, as a tribute to the original performers, Ghulam Farid Sabri and Maqbool Ahmed Sabri. Amjad had also helped ‘Coke Studio’ on this rendition. The rendition gained worldwide fame with over 33 million views on digital media. Speaking about his kalaam during the recording in May, the late Amjad had stated, “About 40 years ago, my father and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan read this kalaam at a dargah in Karachi and 40 years later, Rahat and I are reading it again.” “‘Coke Studio’ is the ultimate manifestation of Coca-Cola’s music strategy and season 9 will further strengthen Coca-Cola’s cultural leadership, celebrating diversity while bridging barriers relevant to the youth of today,” Coca-Cola Pakistan General Manager Rizwan U Khan said, and added, “It is very distressing that Amjad Sabri himself will not be with all of us to see season 9 go on air in August. His death is a huge national loss.” The vast talent on the music direction and production side will be matched in season 9 by a dazzling array of artists, many of whom have performed in previous ‘Coke Studio’ seasons, as well as several upcoming and talented singers performing for the first time in ‘Coke Studio’. While national icons who have performed previously include the likes of Abida Parveen, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Sanam Marvi, Umair Jaswal, QB, Saieen Zahoor, Ali Azmat, Noori, Zeb Bangash, Mahmood and Meesha Shafi to name a few, the new artists include Shilpa Rao, Mehwish Hayat, Momina Mustehsan, Natasha Khan, Ali Khan, Rizwan Butt, Basit, Rachel Viccaji, Nirmal Roy and of course the maestro of qawwali Amjad. “We’ve always believed in collaborations because this is how the industry grows. After the monumental response of season 8, we decided to bring onboard six of Pakistan’s leading music directors to be a part of ‘Coke Studio’. Our vision since season 7 has been to involve more and more people from our music industry and make this platform a collective dream. When we presented the idea to Coca-Cola, they loved it and were fully supportive. It was a challenging task and our guidance was required throughout the process, but today we are extremely satisfied that we took this initiative,” Strings commented. The unrivalled success of ‘Coke Studio’ over the years in connecting deeply and emotionally with the people and especially the youth, is evident from its immense digital footprint with 6.3 million fans on Facebook, more than 170 million YouTube views and 7.5 million plus audio streams. It is viewed by fans in some 150 countries and has been exported to 20 countries. In Pakistan it has proved to be a unique platform for high profile projection of everyone associated with the music industry, including singers, back up vocalists, composers, producers, musicians and technical persons of every possible specialty, without whose invaluable contribution no season could have been produced.