Freshly awarded Grammy winner Arooj Aftab transcends cultural boundaries and musical centuries with transcendental folk – surely for the last time in a small club setting.
2700 years after Homer wrote about the deathly Siren Song, Arooj Aftab released an ambient record. On »Siren Islands« in 2018, the musician, who grew up in Pakistan and trained as a composer at Berkley College, made it clear how mystical seduction can sound today from a feminine perspective. In 2021, she released »Vulture Prince,« her third album, which landed her on Barack Obama’s summer playlist and has now won her a Grammy (after two nominations). The album is nothing less than a milestone of trans-global compositional technique and of a musical depth that makes it a pure listening pleasure. Singing largely in Urdu, Aftab writes songs that make the distinction between American folk and classical Hindustani music disappear. Her softly plaintive voice is in the foreground, while the sparse background of strings and percussion evoke memories of South Asian classical music, the history of jazz and electronic music. Her music is about principles similar to those in Sufi poetry, as Aftab once explained: »Calmness, peace, patience, simplicity. And then sadness, longing, wandering, searching, openness, oneness.«