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Vulture Prince

by Arooj Aftab

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  • Vulture Prince 12" Vinyl
    Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Vulture Prince on black 12" vinyl, in a card sleeve.

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    Includes unlimited streaming of Vulture Prince via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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  • Vulture Prince Perfume Oil

    This perfume oil is an olfactory accompaniment to Vulture Prince, created by Dana El Masri. Clary sage captures the cylindrical cloud that weaves through each song and the soothing nature of Arooj’s vocals—embodying ideas about holding space and repetitive sound shapes. Wet earth, ripe stone fruit and a faint smokiness tell a story about the color purple and all its beautiful scents amplified by monsoon season. 

    Ingredients: Clary Sage, Labdanum, Stone Fruit, Wet Earth, Nagarmotha, Vetiver, Ginger, Bergamot, in fractionated coconut oil.

    Caution -- This oil is for external use only. Do not use if allergic to coconut. Place in cool, dry place and never put oil on skin and go into direct sunlight.

    Size -- 5ml/0.17fl oz

    Dana El Masri is a perfume and interdisciplinary artist with a musical background and experience in a lot of cross-modal practices. Dana listened to Vulture Prince in its entirety, made notes, and felt out which sounds corresponded to scents. During the process, Dana asked Arooj for colours, shapes, feelings and memories. She interpreted all of this into scent with the hope that this album and its scent brings people closer to Arooj and her message.
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Inayaat 07:47
Last Night 05:58
Mohabbat 07:42
Saans Lo 07:31
Suroor 05:12


"Vulture Prince" is the third album from Brooklyn-based Pakistani composer Arooj Aftab. Championed by NPR, who praised her composition as one of the “Greatest Songs By 21st Century Women+,” and the The New York Times, who celebrated her work as one of the “Best Classical Music Tracks of 2018,” Aftab’s liminal sound floats between classical minimalism and new age, Sufi devotional poetry and electronic trance, jazz structures and states of pure being. On "Vulture Prince," the composer’s remarkable voice, backed by a team of renowned musicians, transports listeners to worlds once known.

“'Vulture Prince' is about revisiting places I’ve called mine,” says Aftab, “places that don’t necessarily exist anymore. It's about people, friendships, relationships—some relationships that were unexpectedly short term, and how to deal with that.”

While writing "Vulture Prince" Aftab lost her younger brother, Maher, and she dedicates this album to his memory—a signal of emergence from loss and grief. “E quindi uscimmo a revider la stelle,” as Dante says at last, out of the inferno, “and thence we came forth to see again the stars.”

Acting as a second chapter to Aftab’s 2015 debut, Bird Under Water, Vulture Prince opens with a new composition of “Baghon Main,” a track from her first album. The lead song, along with the avian album titles, serves to tie the two records together. “The Tower of Silence comes to mind,” says Aftab, “the Parsi funeral structure where their beloved deceased are left to be consumed by vultures, thus returning to the cycle of life. These sort of shapeshifting elements, the burning desire to embody and lead this mystic ancestral power, growth as a person and musician, all led to Vulture Prince.”

Of course, Aftab’s signature songwriting style also led to Vulture Prince. The composer has an uncanny ability to make music with layers upon layers of instrumentation, yet somehow it all feels very light, uncluttered, minimal on the ears. Aftab’s music then mirrors her voice, ethereal yet heavy—like a cloud crossed with a boulder.

A graduate of Berklee College of Music, the composer channels artists from Terry Riley to Abida Parveen, and has played venues from Lincoln Center to (Le) Poisson Rouge to the Museum of Modern Art. In 2020, Aftab composed music for the Academy Award-shortlisted film Bittu and sang on Residente’s Latin Grammy Award-winning single “Antes Que El Mundo Se Acabe.” On Vulture Prince, she is backed by an all-star cast, including Badi Assad, Maeve Gilchrist, Jamey Haddad, Bhrigu Sahni, Kenji Herbert, Lady Jess, Jarvis Benson, Malcom Parson, Jorn Bielfeldt, Shazhad Ismaily, Juliette Jones, Mario Carrillo, Petros Klampanis, Nadje Noordhuis, Gyan Riley, and Darian Donovan Thomas.

So here is "Vulture Prince"—beautiful, powerful, dusky, and, above all, thoughtful. Included on the new album are singles, “Mohabbat” and “Last Night,” an old Rumi poem Aftab often sings live, but has never before released. Tucked subtly into "Vulture Prince" is “Saans Lo,” a song with words penned by the composer’s late friend Annie Ali Khan, who gently advises us to breathe—to move on. After seven minutes, “Saans Lo” fades into a washed-out drone before opening up into the colorful jazz-oriented closer, “Suroor”—a dynamic new world of possibilities.


released April 23, 2021

01 Baghon Main
Maeve Gilchrist - harp
Darian Donovan Thomas - violin
Petros Klampanis - double bass

02 Diya Hai Feat. Badi Assad
arr. by Magda Giannikou
strings arr. by Juliette Jones
strings performed by Rootstock Republic:
Juliette Jones - violin
Lady Jess - violin
Jarvis Benson - viola
Malcom Parson - cello

03 Inayaat
Maeve Gilchrist - harp
Petros Klampanis - piano and double bass
Darian Donovan Thomas - violin
Nadje Noordhuis - flugelhorn

04 Last Night
Bhrigu Sahni - guitar
Mario Carrillio - double bass
Jorn Bielfeldt - drums

05 Mohabbat
Jamey Haddad - percussion
Gyan Riley - guitar
Maeve Gilchrist - harp
Nadje Noordhuis - flugelhorn
Shahzad Ismaily - synth

06 Saans Lo
Kenji Herbert- guitar
Shahzad Ismaily - synth
Annie Ali Khan - lyrics

Written, Sung and Produced by Arooj Aftab
Mixed by Joshua Valleau
Mastered by Damon Whittemore

Photography by Vishesh Sharma
Photo Editing by Anum Awan
Album Artwork by Micah Blacklight
Art Direction and Design by Vandana Jain


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Arooj Aftab Brooklyn, New York


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