Pakistani-American singer Arooj Aftab's rendition of “Mohabbat” won the prize for Best Global Music Performance at the 2022 Grammys. The Brooklyn based singer won the category ahead of Femi Kuti (“Pà Pá Pà”), Wizkid and Tems (“Essence”), Angélique Kidjo and Burna Boy (“Do Yourself”) and Yo-Yo Ma and Angélique Kidjo (“Blewu”).
The lyrics of "Mohabbat", part of her album "Vulture Prince", go like this: "mohabbat karne vaale kam na hoñge/ tirī mahfil meñ lekin ham na hoñge ". It is a ghazal originally written by Hafeez Hoshiarpuri.
تیری محفل میں لیکن ہَم نا ہونگے
یہ غم ہو گا تو کتنے غم نا ہونگے
|Pakistani-American Urdu Singer Arooj Aftab Wins Grammy. Source: Yahoo News|
“I think I’m gonna faint. Wow thank you so much. I feel like this category in and of itself has been so insane,” Arooj said, accepting her award at the Grammy Award 2022 show in Las Vegas, Nevada. “Burna Boy, Wizkid, Femi Kuti, Angélique Kidjo—should this be called Best World Music Performance? I feel like it should be called ‘yacht party category.’ But, anyway, thank you so much to everyone who helped me make this record, all my incredible collaborators, for following me and making this music I made about everything that broke me and put me back together. Thank you for listening to it and making it yours.”
Arooj Aftab was born in Saudi Arabia, raised in Lahore and now lives in the United States. After an early taste of viral fame with a tender cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah when she was in her teens, she won a scholarship to attend Boston’s Berklee College of Music, ranked among the top music schools in the United States. She earned a degree in music production and engineering at Berklee. Graduating in the throes of the 2008 recession, she landed in New York to begin her career, according to The Guardian newspaper.
Arooj sings mostly in Urdu. Her lyrics come from centuries-old poetry. Her music draws from seemingly everywhere. She brings in non-traditional instruments like synthesizer and lever harp to a traditional South Asian poetic form like the ghazal. She's even given her style its own name: neo-Sufi, according to an interview with the PBS. "It's not South Asian classical music with — like fused with jazz. It's like it's living in its own world of, like, a marriage of many roots and heritages. So I was kind of like, I need to, like, name this right now, you know?"
Here's Arooj Aftab's rendition of "Mohabbat":
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