Coke Studio India came back with a bang in season 3 last year, when they brought Ram Sampath to bring two very divergent singers together for “Kattey” – rapper Hard Kaur and folk singer Bhanwari Devi.
After the growing pains of its first two seasons, Coke Studio India hit its stride in season 3 when they recruited composers like Ram Sampath, AR Rahman, and Amit Trivedi to showcase their style outside of film soundtracks. “Kattey” was such an innovative song, because on paper Hard Kaur and Rajasthani folk musician like Bhanwari Devi would seem like an odd pair, but Sampath made it work admirably.
The song signals a breakthrough for Hard Kaur, who has been largely stuck in the role of go-to rapper for Bollywood songs, where the material doesn’t do justice to her hardcore attitude. In “Kattey,” she lets it all out and talks about experiencing sexual abuse and her place in a male-dominated music industry. It makes me wish that she’d opt for songs that reveal her edginess than the material she’s often given in Bollywood. Kudos to Sampath for harnessing Kaur’s talent in such an outstanding way, since the song comes off as a complete stunner.
“Kattey” is an interesting song because the lyrics are so haunting and electric that they stay with you after the song has finished. The arrangements are outstanding too, with wicked guitar riffs that have you head-banging when it crescendoes around Devi’s voice. That attention to the lyrics as well as experimentation in soundscapes is why I have this song on my most-played list.