Get to Know Arooj Aftab

Vrinda Jagota at Pitchfork:

Aftab’s new album Vulture Prince honors and remagines centuries-old ghazals, a form of South Asian poetry and music that she grew up listening to with her family. The artform meditates on the intense longing caused by separation from God, and Aftab either sets this poetry to original music or entirely transforms existing songs, eschewing the frenetic South Asian instrumentation typical of the originals for minimalist orchestral arrangements. She is insistent that people not oversimplify or misunderstand her practice: “People ask, ‘Is this an interpolation? Is this song a cover?’ No, it’s not. It’s very difficult to do this, it has taken a lot of time and energy as a musician, so it’s not a fucking cover. I’m taking something that’s really old and pulling it into the now.”

The care she pours into her solo work translates to her musical collaborations, too. Acclaimed jazz musician and Harvard professor Vijay Iyer met Aftab at a show where they spontaneously started playing together and, in his words, “created this thing that felt like it was meant to exist.”

more here.