Updated 04 Apr, 2022

Singer Arooj Aftab won a Grammy on Monday for Best Global Performance. However, she won our hearts way before that with her music. Her unique take on Sufi and jazz music has us jamming along as the world celebrates her achievement.

Aftab has released three studio albums, the latest being Vulture Prince that made it to former US president Barack Obama's 2021 summer playlist with the song 'Mohabbat'. It then made it to Grammys where she won an award and became the first Pakistani to have ever received one.

Here are five songs that we enjoy by the artist.


A rendition of a famous ghazal is never taken lightly and often critiqued heavily. However, Aftab made it easy to sing along to, something to relax with and also hum along to with her rendition. With light guitar strumming in the background, 'Mohabbat' is indeed one of her best works.

The ghazal was originally written by Hafeez Hoshiarpuri and was sung by Mehdi Hasan and Farida Khanum. The original has nine couplets while Aftab only made use of three.


There's not one artist who hasn't tried the maestro Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's (NFAK) 'Halka Halka Suroor' but in Aftab's case, her putting her own spin on the ghazal captured our hearts.

The ghazal was written by Sufi poet Anwar Farrukhabadi and was sung by NFAK in 1996 for his album Sangam. Aftab's rendition can't compare to the legendary qawwal but its uniqueness and minimalism draws you in.

'Baghon Main'

Considered an Urdu classic, this ghazal was written by Ustad Ghulam Ali and performed by many in the field, including Aftab, who fuses her minimal jazz music with Sufi poetry. 'Baghon Main' features the singer's husky notes with soft harp and guitar strings in the background.

'Udhero Na'

Written by the singer herself, 'Udhero Na' also shares a similar vibe to her other songs — soft vocals paired with instrumental sounds. It's a collaboration with Indian singer Anoushka Shankar who, like Aftab, also performs various genres.

According to Aftab's Instagram post, the song was originally written by her in 2005 and later became part of her album Vulture Prince. All the songs in the album are about emotions and grief and 'Udhero Na' means to undo, hinting at the painful memories and the past.


This list would be incomplete without her collaboration with Coke Studio. Aftab's collaboration with Asfar Hussain, 'Mehram', had the artists sing about the emotional carnage brought on by loss.

The song is a blend of Aftab's soft notes with Hussain's high notes with soft instrumental playing in the back. The song is described as "a revelation of emotions, abandonment, and conflicting yet heartfelt conversations". In the song, the word 'Mehram' is a person that you trust completely.

Aftab's latest album has been a hit solely for her take on Sufi poetry. In an interview with WYPR the singer had said that her interest in Sufism grew when in college she started to read 13th century poetry by Rumi. Ever since the artist's inspiration can be seen or heard through her songs that are rendered from famous ghazals be it Ghulam Ali or Hoshiarpuri.

Her musical journey has just begun as the artist is ready to take over Coachella, a music festival in California starting from April 15 till 24. Aftab is the first Pakistani to perform at the festival and will be playing alongside Harry Styles, Lil baby, Daniel Caesar, Phoebe Bridgers, Big Sean, Grupo Firme, Louis the Child, Baby Keem, Snoh Aalegra, City Girls, Madeon, NIKI, Peggy Gou, Carly Rae Jepsen, The Martinez Borthers and Bishop Briggs among many others.


M. Saeed Apr 04, 2022 05:20pm
Is she even better than Meesha Shafi, ???
Syed Nadeem Ahmed Apr 04, 2022 06:14pm
What rubbish how could she win grammy
Akbar Azam Apr 04, 2022 06:15pm
Ali Apr 04, 2022 06:41pm
Lyrics by Hafeez Hoshairpuri , tune by Mehdi Hassan . All she did was add a few modern instruments to it and then Obama liked it . So I guess you don’t have to be original to win a Grammy .
Shampee Apr 04, 2022 07:12pm
Pakistan is full of talent, even a street kid sings better than this.
Arif Khan Apr 04, 2022 07:21pm
One of her songs was on President Barack Obama's annual summer playlist in 2021. You can connect the dots on how she was found...Great song but i think we have better singers.
Anas Apr 04, 2022 07:50pm
@M. Saeed almost everyone is better than Meesha Shafi
Dr. Q USA Apr 04, 2022 08:36pm
Very soothing, rythmic and slow paced which provides ample time for imagination. Music merge with vocal sounds like a confluence of two water streams resulting a perfect blend.
Factsmatter Apr 04, 2022 09:52pm
Gifted singer. Congratulations on the award. Well deserved.
I. Ahmed Apr 04, 2022 10:23pm
Congrats to Arooj on achievement. There must be something in her album that I did not get and Grammy's did and hence the award. To me it is like playing all the great classical songs of yester years in a husky voice and at a very slow speed/rhythm - like a mismatch of RPM on the vinyl disks of yesteryears!!!!!
Krishna G Upadhya Apr 04, 2022 11:02pm
Love from India! What a voice! Soul soothing! Deserves Grammy
Bella Apr 05, 2022 12:09am
Nothing original in her work. Just as Instrument used by the US to advertise that they promote diversity and inclusion. Our own desi singers are much better.
Alexa Apr 05, 2022 12:10am
Her songs are so monotonous that I doze off listening to them.
Waqar Apr 05, 2022 12:43am
References do work.
Syed Qutub Apr 05, 2022 01:33am
This version of Mohabbat is an assault on our ears. Sorry, but the original is in a different league altogether.
skb Apr 05, 2022 01:33am
Syed Apr 05, 2022 03:47am
Their must be some agenda for the blind Grammys in the future, I don’t see anything there.
Mazhar Apr 05, 2022 03:57am
Congratulations, Arooj Afnan. You made Pakistan and urdu proud of producing fantastic and globally accepted music.
Syed Hasni Apr 05, 2022 05:00am
@Syed Nadeem Ahmed And just like that She won…
MAK Apr 05, 2022 05:22am
May be for professional, savvy but not for street, pop music lovers
M Emad Apr 05, 2022 05:35am
Never heard this name.
AJ Apr 05, 2022 07:48am
Lol…she sings very well..
TR Apr 05, 2022 08:11am
Wife of Dr Salaria Apr 05, 2022 10:34am
@M. Saeed I think Meesha is better, at least she has her own original tracks.
Ann Apr 05, 2022 12:22pm
People here in comment section came to know about Arooj Aftab after she got the Grammy award but seem fit to judge her years and years of work as "sings someone else's song in slow tone" lol Maybe google her work so you wont embarrass yourself.