We gathered on a freezing Sunday night, inside a barrel-vaulted church designed in the 1890s by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, to witness a cresting wave. Vulture Prince, the third album by the Brooklyn-based Pakistani singer, composer and producer Arooj Aftab, was one of the most accomplished and interesting records of last year. A keening song of loss, dedicated to her late brother, Vulture Prince is almost impossible to pin down. It’s a flood plain of merging musical streams, a genre-phobic blend of jazz, minimalism, Sufi devotional music, acoustic textures and torch song. Sung almost entirely in Urdu, its beauty and import are immediate, its emotional pull universal.
Following two Grammy nominations and a fat wodge of critical acclaim, Aftab’s stock is in the ascendant.