Coke Studio 2020: Dil Tarpe by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan Ft. Zara Madani

Dil Tarpe from Week 2 of Coke Studio 2020 is a tarana written by the great Rahat Fateh Ali Khan himself. Tarana is a Persian word meaning ‘song’ that consists of a main melody, usually short, repeated many times; it. It is an important feature of North Indian classical music and may also make use of syllables from a sitar or a tabla. Explaining the concept, Khan said, “A tarana is a language derived from classical music – there is a grand display of vocal ability put on show in a tarana.”

Dil Tarpe by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan ft. Zara Madani

Video Credits: Coke Studio

This song is performed by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan featuring classically trained singer Zara Madani.  “I don’t think anyone has ever experimented with a tarana the way that we have tried to in this season,” said Khan.

Since the song borrows heavily from Qawali, it carries this quintessential South Asian genre’s unique aesthetic of being able to amalgamate different ethnic flavors and instrumentation, hence also qualifying as ‘world music’. For instance, the song includes funk keyboards played by the Serbian, Goran Antovic fused with our own indigenous sounds of the sitar and rabab by Shehroze and Nawazish respectively. Moreover,  the song which is in ten beats, fuses different rhythmic styles together to incorporate the eastern jhaptaal and the ‘jurjuna’ or ‘curcuna’, a unique 10/8 beat pattern found in certain Middle Eastern cultures but particularly in Armenian, Turkish and Syriac music.  The jhaptaal is being played by Babar Khanna while the ‘jurjuna’ is being played by Lebanese percussionist Elias Abboud. 

The song goes into a departure to introduce a different style of tarana in Madani’s voice and is then taken over by Khan into a more complex form. In the meanwhile, the backing vocals take on the traditional role of ‘hum nawa’ of singing in unison, bringing a Qawaali-like flavor to the track! Zara Madani, who composed her own part in the tarana, explains “Ordinarily, taranas double up in timing, but in this one I am slowing down to capture the emotions I am meant to emit.” 

In the song itself, the protagonist is exhibiting his/her distress by emotionally imploring their beloved to have mercy on the heart; longing for the comfort and peace of their beloved’s company. 

Madani, whose voice emanates the calmness in the emotional turmoil being expressed by Khan says, “This song is about longing with a very special spiritual connotation; a conversation taking place between a person and their inner self where one pleads for help from the Almighty.” 

Performed by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Zara Madani, the backing vocals are by Kumail Jaffery, Nimra Rafiq, Shahab Hussain and Wajiha Naqvi. The house band includes Asad Ahmed on the electric guitar, producer Rohail Hyatt himself on the acoustic guitar; both Hyatt and Serbian musician Gora Antovic on keyboards; Shehroze Hussain playing the sitar; Nawazish Nasri on rabab; Abier ‘Veeru’ Shan playing percussions and Babar Khanna on Eastern percussions. Other international musicians featured include Siddharta Maharjan on bells percussion from Nepal and Lebanese musician Elias Abboud plays percussion on the Darbuka, Riqh and Bendir.

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