Next Performing Arts | Music

Arooj Aftab

Arooj Aftab in a black shirt with arms behind their head.

Be among the first to welcome Pakistani-born, Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Arooj Aftab to the Wex as she tours following the release of her critically acclaimed album, Vulture Prince.

Arooj Aftab’s liminal sound floats between classical minimalism and new age, Sufi devotional poetry and electronic trance, jazz structures and states of pure being. NPR praised her single “Lullaby” as one of the “Greatest Songs By 21st Century Women+”; the New York Times called her “Island No. 2” one of the “25 Best Classical Music Tracks of 2018”; and—if that’s not enough—Barack Obama just added Aftab to his 2021 Summer Playlist.

On Vulture Prince, the composer’s remarkable voice, backed by a team of renowned musicians, transports listeners to worlds once known. “Vulture Prince is about revisiting places I’ve called mine, places that don’t necessarily exist anymore,” Aftab says. “It’s about people, friendships, relationships—some relationships that were unexpectedly short term, and how to deal with that.” While composing Vulture Prince, Aftab lost her younger brother, Maher, and she dedicates this album to his memory—a signal of her gradual emergence from loss and grief.

Aftab’s signature songwriting style has an uncanny ability to produce layer upon layer of instrumentation that somehow still feels light and uncluttered. Similarly, her vocal quality is both ethereal and heavy—like a cloud crossed with a boulder.

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Arooj Aftab in a black shirt with arms behind their head.

Arooj Aftab | Photo: Diana Markosian

A black and white photo of Arooj Aftab standing at a microphone

Arooj Aftab | Photo: Soichiro Suizu

About the Artist

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Composer, vocalist, and graduate of Berklee College of Music Arooj Aftab channels artists from Terry Riley to Abida Parveen and has played New York City venues from Lincoln Center to (Le) Poisson Rouge to the Museum of Modern Art. In 2020, Aftab composed music for the Academy Award–shortlisted film Bittu and sang on Residente’s Latin Grammy Award–winning single “Antes Que El Mundo Se Acabe.” On Vulture Prince, she is backed by an all-star cast, including Badi Assad, Maeve Gilchrist, Jamey Haddad, Kenji Herbert, Shazhad Ismaily, Juliette Jones, Petros Klampanis, Nadje Noordhuis, Gyan Riley, and Darian Donovan Thomas.

The Wexner Family
Greater Columbus Arts Council
Mary and C. Robert Kidder
L Brands Foundation
American Electric Power Foundation
The Columbus Foundation
Ohio Arts Council
Bill and Sheila Lambert
Adam Flatto
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Nationwide Foundation
Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease
Arlene and Michael Weiss

Carol and David Aronowitz
Michael and Paige Crane
Axium Packaging
Fenwick & West LLP
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
M/I Homes
Ohio State Energy Partners
Regina Miracle International Ltd.
Washington Prime Group
Alene Candles
Lisa Barton
Fuel Transport
Russell and Joyce Gertmenian
Liza Kessler and Greg Henchel
Nancy Kramer
Matrix Psychological Services
Paramount Group, Inc.
Bruce and Joy Soll
Clark and Sandra Swanson
Business Furniture Installations
E.C. Provini Co, Inc.
Garlock Printing & Converting
New England Development
Our Country Home
Performance Team
Premier Candle Corporation
Steiner + Associates
Textile Printing
Andrew and Amanda Wise



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Arooj Aftab