Read Pitchfork's interview with Arooj Aftab, "the Defiant Singer Who’s Reimagining Traditional South Asian Music for Today"

Read Pitchfork's interview with Arooj Aftab, "the Defiant Singer Who’s Reimagining Traditional South Asian Music for Today"

Sat Jun 26th
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Performing at Le Guess Who? 2021 as part of her first ever European tour, the Pakistani singer Arooj Aftab, listed by NPR as one of the top 100 young songwriters, talks to Pitchfork for an in-depth interview about her new album 'Vulture Prince', her inspirations, family, and the journey to escape the obvious.

Inspired by the work of Sufi poets and musicians that came before her, the Berkeley-trained musician listened to semi-classical Pakistani music during her childhood. It was normal to invent melodies and sing them around the house. Now, her sound floats somewhere between classical minimalism and new age with danceable jazz structures. 

On 'Vulture Prince', Arooj Aftab honors and rethinks century-old ghazals; a form of South Asian poetry and music she grew up listening to with her family. When outlining her composition process, Arooj explains she is always thinking about what the main instruments will be, with harp featured in many songs on the album. Read the full interview here

“What is heritage?” Aftab asks at one point. “It is the culture you inherit. So if you’re moving to different societies, you’re inheriting these things that become your heritage, become what your music sounds like, become what you move around like.” Her music, then, exists in the Pakistan of her youth and the Brooklyn of today, in the loss of a loved one and the people you are before and after that too.” - Pitchfork

Arooj Aftab performs live at Le Guess Who? 2021 together with a.o. Alabaster dePlume, Beatriz Ferreyra, Ghalia Benali, Mazaher, L'Rain, Siti Muharam, Lori Goldston, Brigid Dawson & Sunwatchers, and many more.

Photography: Soichiro Suizu

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