Almost the first thing we asked Wasim Basir, Coke's director of marketing, was: What took you so long? He laughed. "There are a lot of reasons why now is the right time to bring it here, but I guess the best way to apologise for the delay is by giving you some great music!"
Coke's breathless press release says that Coke Studio @ MTV (to give the show its formal name) aims to "reinvent the way music can capture the spirit of a nation, opening hearts and minds, and of course, Happiness!" The effervescence is forgivable when one looks at the list of performers in Season One. mtvindia.com/cokestudio/artist.php will give you the full list. Here's a sampler: Advaita, Bombay Jayashri, Colonial Cousins, Kailash Kher, Shaan, Shafqat Amanat Ali, Shankar Mahadevan, Shruti Pathak, Sunidhi Chauhan, the Wadali Brothers. Plus a crack studio band, and some guest musicians, all held together by musical director Leslie Lewis, veteran singer, musician, composer and producer.
"I'm not the technical director, or the mentor or the judge or the anchor," he says, laughing. "Just making sure you know that." Apparently he's been called all those things by journos unused to nomenclature outside that of reality TV, which is the only reference point they have to slot the show by.
The challenge, Lewis says, was in "keeping to our roots. At the same time it's not a folk show or a cultural music programme.' It's contemporary, very modern; it's what young people will understand
11:48 AM, Jun 18, 2011