Coke Studio 2020: Gall Sunn by Ali Pervez Mehdi ft. Meesha Shafi

This Punjabi folk song was co-written by lead singer Ali Pervez Mehdi and his brother Ahsan Pervez Mehdi, sons of the late renowned Ghazal singer Ustad Pervez Mehdi. Brought in as a demo by Zain Ali, a musician also part of Coke Studio season 12’s house-band, the song is a catchy, upbeat folk song with a contemporary funk element. “This is an incredibly energetic song; it’s a beautiful song with all the dance vibes. It’s groovy, it’s funky, and I love this style of music,” said Ali Pervez Mehdi. 

Gall Sunn by Ali Pervez Mehdi ft. Meesha Shafi

Video Credits: Coke Studio

Funk is a genre of music that originated in the African-American communities back in the 60s. And like much other African-inspired music, funk typically consists of a complex groove with rhythm instruments playing interlocking grooves that create a toe-tapping and danceable feel. In this particular track, along with a groovy bass line, a few Serbianbrass players have also been incorporated playing the trumpet, tenor saxophone and trombone enhancing the funk feel to this desi melody.

Mehdi said, “I actually dance to this song, the groove is amazing. I believe if I’m not enjoying the song, then no one else will enjoy it either. It is a fun song and I would love to see people dancing to it!” The song represents the longing between lovers and consists of Mehdi repeatedly calling out to his beloved who he lovingly refers to as “Dhola Dhola/Sweetheart, Sweetheart”.  The funk element is brought about using brass instrumentation while retaining the essence of folk.

The backing vocals are used throughout the song as an instrument providing vocal flavors to the funk groove.  In the middle of the song, rhyming poetry, called dohra is written by Punjabi poet Manzoor Jhalla which further accentuates the song’s message giving it a spiritual/Sufi perspective through the analogy of separation between a lover and his beloved.

In the song, while Mehdi longingly calls out to his ‘sweetheart’, Meesha Shafi’s voice responds with the female counter narrative saying that indeed she is listening and God is witness to the love she has for him. Meesha’s part is written by Asim Raza and composed by Zara Madani. This narrative is one of the girls telling the boy her side of the love-story. Talking about the song, Shafi said, “This song has a lovely flirtatious vibe.”

Talking about the song lyrics, Mehdi said, “In these times, going through [with Covid19], I wanted people to listen to something positive and fun. That is why I created this song.” Adding that the song gave him hope, Mehdi said, “I dance to it and I want everyone else to dance to it too. I truly believe that God willing, everything is going to be okay very soon.”

Gal Sunn has been performed by Ali Pervez Mehdi and Meesha Shafi , and is produced by Rohail Hyatt. From the Serbian brass band, the trumpet is played by Marko Djordjević, on the trombone is Kosta Vukaąinović and on the tenor saxophone is Ljumbomir Turajlija. Producer Rohail Hyatt himself, along with Goran Antović, are on keyboards, on electric guitar is Asad Ahmed and Serbian musician Goran Antović. Turkish musician Volkan Öktem is on the drums, Kamran ‘Mannu’ Zafar on bass guitar, Shehroze Hussain playing the sitar, Nawazish Nasri on rabab, Abier ‘Veeru’ Shan playing percussions and Babar Khanna on eastern percussions. The backing vocals are given by Kumail Jaffery, Nimra Rafiq, Shahab Hussain and Wajiha Naqvi.

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