Following highly successful seasons in Pakistan, Coca Cola’s critically acclaimed music property finally came to India in 2011. Dubbed Coke Studio@MTV, the Indian edition’s first season saw ex-Colonial Cousin Lesle Lewis take on the role of producer and mentor for over 30 artists. Season two of the show saw eight producers create music for an episode each, and resulted in some stunning material. The season saw episodes that featured Amit Trivedi, Nitin Sawhney, Clinton Cerejo, Shantanu Moitra, Eshaan Noorani and Loy Mendonsa, Karsh Kale and Hitesh Sonik (read our episode-specific interviews with each producer here). Now, the franchise is back for a third season which will start airing this August.
“For Coke Studio, we discussed what would be the theme for season two and we came up with two words that came up very strongly – celebrating diversity, and celebrating originality. We wanted a different sound, where Coke Studio is the sound of India which is a variety of sounds. Then, we needed to go to people who had different interpretations of what the Coke Studio sound meant to them. Therefore, the idea to have multiple producers.” Aditya Swamy, EVP & Business Head of MTV India, who conceived season two, told us last year. “The filter was about people who are known to experiment, who have dabbled in diverse kinds of music. For example, the fact that Clinton (Cerejo) had started doing gospel music, then did ad films and then Bollywood and Tamil films, that to me was the exciting part about why we chose Clinton, not just because he’s a great producer. The fact that Karsh (Kale) is known for Table Beat Science and then the DJ circuit with electronic music makes Karsh an interesting proposition for me. The fact that Amit Trivedi is the next wave of sound today in Indian cinema – like what Rahman had brought in the mid ’80s, and he had a signature sound for Indian film music. Today’s modern, edgy film sound is actually Amit Trivedi,” he said about his choice of producers for season two.
Watch a performance of ‘Madari’, produced by Clinton Cerejo for season two, below.
This year, the show, which is scheduled to start airing in August, follows the same format with eight producers each producing original music for an episode of the season. While Clinton Cerejo, Hitesh Sonik and Amit Trivedi will return to Coke Studio@MTV for Season 3, the 2013 edition also features some of the country’s best producers including Papon, who has been a featured musician on both seasons of the show before, Bollywood composer duo Salim-Sulaiman, Mumbai ad and film music producer Ram Sampath, and, undoubtedly one of the country’s best musical talents, AR Rahman.
Each producer working on the show brings radically different visions and sounds to the table. For example, on season two, Clinton Cerejo strived to create something different from the material he’s normally known for in the advertising and film realm, while Amit Trivedi used Punjabi and Rajasthani folk elements to bring out, as he explained to us, the “crux of the country”. This year too, we can hope to see some interesting collaborations, with each producer pushing the boundaries in terms of the artists they choose and the music they create for the show. Each episode also sees performances by artists curated by the producer, and season two saw the likes of Harshdeep Kaur, Swanand Kirkire, Piyush Mishra, Vishal Dadlani and Benny Dayal, among others, perform on various episodes of the show.
The last episode of the season is a multi-producer medley, and features six upcoming artists from around the country. Last year, Bangalore Carnatic rock act Agam, Hari and Sukhmani and Papon were among those featured on the season finale. The finale of season three will also be a multi-producer episode, with six young artists working together to create original music for the show. This year, Coke Studio@MTV also teamed up with Blue Frog for leapFROG to Coke Studio, an initiative that gave one fusion act the chance to perform on the season three finale. After a month of heats, Mumbai singer-songwriter Winit Tikoo and his ensemble won leapFROG to Coke Studio, and will feature on the eighth episode of the upcoming season. We spoke to Tikoo about his band’s big win at leapFROG here. Check out a video of his performance of ‘Paagal’ for leapFROG to Coke Studio below.
Season 3 of Coke Studio@MTV starts airing in August 2013. Stay tuned for more news and interviews from the TV show, and read all our previous coverage of the show, including extensive interviews with each producer, here.