Coke Studio 2020 Episode 3: Pardesiya by Zara Madani

Written by lyricist Asim Raza and performed by classically trained singer Zara Madani,Pardesiya is an experimental, eastern classical inspired raga rock track, in which the principles of eastern classical music are being applied to contemporary music. As part of week 3 of Coke Studio 2020, Pardesiya was one of the first melodies composed and structured for this season, and was originally to be one of the tracks for Zara Madani’s debut album, also being produced by Rohail Hyatt. 

Coke Studio Episode 3: Pardesiya by Zara Madani

Video Credits: Coke Studio

Explaining the concept of the song, Zara Madani said, “In life, as humans, we are constantly in search of something. We await the arrival of something bigger, some form of an answer. This thirst for an answer or an impending destination is common to us all.”  In the context of this song, ‘Pardes’ is a spiritual term, a place where we come from and where we have to go; a place that exists beyond the material world but also represents a longing between lovers in the physical world. In some holy scriptures, the word ‘Pardes’ also refers to an orchard or a garden. Therefore, in spiritual terms, this song is about one’s search for God, and the longing for peace which one prays to the Almighty for in times of distress.

This down-tempo song is flavored with a bluesy feel giving it a pentatonic minor feel and has been sung in madh layastyle of eastern classical music, borrowing from Raag Bhimpalasi. For a madh laya (slow tempo), vocalists use a slower definition of time than instrumentalists. Raag Bhimpalasi has originated from thaat Kafi and is considered to be the Shanti Rasa (a conscious cultivation of inner balance, equilibrium, wisdom, and serenity) of Indian classical music. Exhibiting the suppressed longing of a lover, but serene, with dignity, and yet throbbing with deep emotion, Bhimpalasi is a raag usually sung from late afternoon to sunset. The raag is poignant and passionate, filled with yearning.

The singing starts with a 32-beat cycle, doubles into teen taal and rises into a peak which musically represents the peak of this longing. “Perhaps this is the story of one’s search for God, or maybe it is about someone’s search for a lover. The song is about longing… be it God, peace or a loved one,” said Madani.  

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