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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Arooj Aftab


The Old Church / Portland / Music

“What is heritage?” the Pakistani composer Arooj Aftab asked in a recent interview with Pitchfork. “It is the culture you inherit.” On her 2021 album Vulture Prince, Aftab draws upon the sounds, scenes, and words of her youth in Lahore, Pakistan, as well as the abstract, minimalist, jazz-inflected work she came into contact with during her time at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. On the album, which is dedicated to the memory of her brother, Aftab sings mostly in Urdu and takes inspiration from Sufi devotional poetry. Aftab was nominated for Best New Artist at the 2022 Grammys and had a song selected for Barack Obama’s 2021 summer playlist. She’ll take the stage in Portland at the Old Church. —S.K.

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