Arooj Aftab w/ Zomes
Event Type: music/performance
NISA/Women Kickoff Event!
Tonight is the kickoff of our 6-part series Nisa/Women: Muslim Cultural Identity-Six Women on Stage and in Conversation. Six women artists with roots in Muslim communities in North and East Africa, the Middle East, and the United States will perform and engage in public conversation with audiences at the Creative Alliance and in Baltimore schools and universities.
TONIGHT: Arooj Aftab, a young neo-Sufi singer originally from Pakistan, combines the Sufi tradition by incorporating an open-minded approach to sonic matter in a style reminiscent of improvisational jazz. Arooj and her band will be collaborating with Zomes, a Baltimore electronic experimental music duo.
About Arooj Aftab:
Born and raised in Lahore, Pakistan, Arooj Aftab came to prominence in Pakistan in the early 2000s when she developed a style that combines Sufi-mystical poetry with the spirit of independent rock. This sound catapulted her to stardom from a then fledgling underground and online music community in Pakistan. She eventually moved to the U.S., earned a degree at the Berklee School of Music, and now lives in New York City.
Her music is inspired by the poetry and musicality of Rumi, Abida Parveen, and other Sufi poets as well as the reworking of classical Pakistani and North Indian forms like khayal and kafi. She says Sufi words have impacted her writing: “It is very much about the feeling that (Sufi poetry) leaves you with: calmness, peace, patience, simplicity. And then sadness, longing, wandering, searching, openness, oneness. I try to take all these qualities and weave them into my music.” She is adamant that her music not be defined as retro; instead, she’d prefer that her music be understood as a new approach to an old form. She says her music is, “something new that’s both musically and politically resonant for the contemporary moment.”
It all began when Asa Osborne, a veteran musician who played with the legendary Baltimore band Lungfish, was performing at the Perspectives Festival in Sweden where Hanna Olivgren was working. During Osborne’s performance, Hanna heard melodies and sounds that she wanted to sing with his songs. They immediately recognized that they had a natural musical affinity. A few days later, Hanna then joined Asa on stage for an improvised performance in a Stockholm art gallery. Asa then invited Hanna to Baltimore, which was the beginning of a trans-Atlantic exchange of ideas that eventually became Zomes, their musical duo.
Now living in Baltimore, Hannah and Asa continue to refine the Zomes aesthetic, an open and natural collaboration between like-minded individuals. While there are certainly obvious musical connections to Osborne’s work with Lungfish, the duo of Asa and Hanna have built on this considerable foundation and have expanded the form to glorious new heights.
Lite fare included with ticket
This project is made possible through The Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Arts Building Bridge’s Program.
The mission of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art’s Building Bridges Program is to advance relationships,
increase understanding and reduce bias between Muslim and non-Muslim communities
FRI OCT 6 | 8PM | $12, $9 members (+$3 at the door)
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