Ali Sethi is one of the most celebrated Pakistani musicians who is loved across the world. Loved by millions, he has been a fan-favourite on Coke Studio Pakistan. Apart from this he also loves to entertain his fans on social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and others, by uploading videos or live streams. He needs no introduction!
Coke Studio Pakistan is one of the top sources for emerging artists and legendary musicians under a single roof, since 2008. This year, in its 14th season, the bar has been raised even higher.
One of the most loved songs this season is Pasoori by Ali Sethi and Shae Gill, with over 72 million on Youtube. With an unheard mixture of various musical genres, the song is being appreciated regardless of language barriers, especially for the heartbreaking lyrics paired with dance music.
We love Ali Sethi as much as everyone, and here are some of his songs that are not for the ears…but for the soul.
1. Chandni Raat
The beautiful song has been composed using only the violin, horn and a 130-year-old piano, according to Sethi. “No digital instrument has been used in this song, everything is hand played. That’s the story of the music.” A song of dreams, hope, peace and perseverance, the song feels like a hug from a loved one after a tiring day.
2. Gulon Mein Rang | Coke Studio
Ali Sethi is known for performing iconic ghazals and putting his spin on them. Gulon Mein Rang is a nazm (poem) written by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, and previously, famously performed ghazal by Mehdi Hassan. Sethi’s voice enhances the melancholy of the lyrics, making the listener feel happy and sad at the same time.
3. Ranjish Hi Sahi | Coke Studio
Another nazm originally written by Faiz Ahmed Faiz and performed by Mehdi Hassan, Sethi performs the tear-jerking piece in an unprecedented way. The “Maana ke Mohabbat” verse was later added by Mehdi Hassan and is arguably the most beautiful part of this performance. Covering heartbreak, hope and love, the song explores the phrase “love for love’s sake” and not for receprocation.
4. Chan Kithan
The creative decisions in this song are at par with the song itself. It is recorded in a way that sounds like an old song playing on a record player, almost like a hazy memory one forgets about in the speed of life. The music video is a hauntingly beautiful reminder to be yourself and let go of toxic love. It is the best song to listen to while on your way back from work (especially on the metro).
Although not loved in Pakistan, Rung is a beautiful song showing various shades and forms of love. The music video featured transgender and queer presenting people swaying in the peripheries of celebrations. It also offers comfort and support to queer couples in love, rejected by traditional groups. It has become an anthem for Pakistan queer people who wish to celebrate the spectrum of LGBTQIA+ identities.
Ali Sethi collaborated with music producer Noah Georgeson on this song. Sethi embarked on a beautiful journey, sonically and visually. The song is about rebirth or a miracle awakening after a spell of darkness that is powered by love that liberates you.
7. Dil Ki Khair
Dil Ki Khair is another such Ali Sethi song featuring Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poetry. Sethi has termed it the “first-ever reggaeton ghazal”. It will make you nostalgic while being music to your ears and dance to your feet.
8. Dil Lagaayein
The song channels a deeper, darker almost wondering state of love, with direction, cinematography and editing by Umar Riaz. It explores the mindset of agony, ecstasy of indecision and lack of perspective until it is gained. The music evokes nostalgia and is strongly reminiscent of the 60s and 70s music, which has become synonymous to Sethi’s style.
9. Mahi Mera ft. Jamaldin
Mahi Mera is a collaboration with the folk artist Jamaldin, based on a beloved’s longing. It is catchy and overflowing with emotions of sadness and painful love. Sethi describes melancholy through cheer and acceptance of reality in a place where life is ruled by poverty and deprivation. Love is often a privilege and the song captures that perfectly.
10. Yakjehti Mein | Nicolas Jaar
This track was made for Radio Alhara and broadcast live from Bethlehem, in solidarity with the people of Palestine. Yakjehti Mein is a song of fight, hope and solidarity against an unjust regime.
Khabar-e-tahayyur-e-ishq is a ghazal by Siraj Aurangabadi, who writes about a state of bekhabari, meaning unawareness. Ali Sethi’s voice adds his signature charm to it and also feels like a comfortable space in uncertainty. It is another one of his collaborations with Noah Georgeson.
12. Mundiya | Ali Sethi & Quratulain Balouch | Coke Studio
What’s better than an innocent banter between two clearly in-love characters? One sung by the talented Quratulain Balouch and Ali Sethi. The dynamic duo took over the stage in Mundiya on Coke Studio, giving voice to the flirtatious banter between two playful characters from the 1980s film Mukhra. The perfect song to send to someone in the early stages of a relationship.
Bonus Ali Sethi video because nobody can get enough of him
He is known as the musical maestro born in the wrong generation and we could not agree more with that sentiment!