Multi-percussionist Babar Ali Khanna has been an instrumental part of Coke Studio’s rhythm since its first season, seamlessly tying together the Eastern and Western beats that form the base on which the studio’s experiments are built. The grandson of Ustad Inayat Hussain Nagarchi, the last percussionist to professionally play the zeen nagara instrument in Pakistan, Babar began his formal training when he was 13 years old. His musical career started when he was just a year older, at a wedding event where he performed solo, and received Rs. 500 for his performance. Now, in a career that spans over 20 years, Babar’s repertoire includes work with Madam Noor Jehan and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. He has also featured as a solo act at the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and has released a solo album.
The only musician to appear on all of Coke Studio’s seasons, Babar returns once again this year, his dholak forming the glue that binds together the harmonies and melodies of the season.