Born and raised in Pakistan, Arooj Aftab was an entirely self-taught guitarist in a culture where opportunities for music study especially for women are severely limited..Arooj was one of four recipients of Berklee Music’s first merit-based scholarship, allowing this innovative musician to receive a formal music education at the acclaimed college.
Arooj Aftab innovates off classical Pakistani, Sufi & pre-partition South Asian music, creating original compositions honoring ancestral roots,for a sound that is fresh, graceful, and musically complex. Paying homage to classical sufi legends such as Abida Parveen and Reshma; neo-soul and jazz icons such as Sade and Ella Fitzgerald; and contemporary world musicians such as Marisa Monte and Fat Freddy’s Drop, Arooj presents an original, interactive sound embraced by young and old, South Asian and beyond.
Originally from Lahore, Pakistan, Arooj moved to the U.S. in 2005 to study Music Production and Engineering at Berklee College of Music. Having completed her education and now based in New York, Arooj is working as a fulltime performing artist, music composer and sound editor.
Through exposure to diverse musical genres and incredibly talented artists in Boston and in New York City, Arooj is inspired to continuously develop her art and deepen her understanding of the possibilities of music. Layering subtle, intricate, dynamic vocals over acoustic instrumentation, Arooj skillfully re-imagines indigenous soul with signature ‘cool.’
Arooj will soon be releasing her debut album as part of Rebuild Pakistan, an initiative she created to promote a vision of peace and healing for Pakistan, inspiring a global community to rebuild perspective on Pakistan, and urging the people of Pakistan to actively engage in rebuilding their homeland. The album and the initiative harness collective creativity to express solidarity with politically stigmatized, economically marginalized, culturally and spiritually powerful people across the earth.
Arooj Aftab started this during the Pakistan Flood Crisis , featuring exclusive music,live shows to promote a vision of peace for Pakistan.