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Sunday, February 21, 2016

An Evening with Arooj Aftab (Philadelphia Museum of Art's Art After 5)

 On Friday night I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art after work because I wanted to see their Art After 5 program. I knew since last month when I saw a neo-Sufi singer from Pakistan was going to perform, I wanted to go.

I left work at 3 PM and caught the 3:15 train to Philadelphia (I usually get done work at 3:30, but I worked extra on Thursday and went in earlier yesterday). I arrived at 3:45 and had a good forty-five minutes to kill; I went to FYE because record stores are my downfall. I ended up walking around FYE for a good half an hour and walked out with two CDs. I did good, though, by only walking out of FYE $20 short.

I caught the bus to the Art Museum and I was about 10 minutes early. Since I pre-ordered the ticket online, they asked if I wanted to become a member because the ticket I bought would go towards that membership. I became a member. All the programming going on, it's well worth becoming a member. It was only $32 - admission is often $20/visit (after I become a member, I get in free). I walked around the museum a bit and then found my spot to sit. I picked a spot center stage and I was sitting underneath Ghost! Ghost is my favorite Alexander Calder mobile! This made me happy.

Before the show started, two women asked if they could sit with me. It was only me at a big table and I said it was no problem at all. We introduced ourselves and we became friends. They treated me to dinner and we just had an amazing time. (They were retirees.) We all enjoyed the music. I had to leave after the first half since it takes an hour to get home and I had to be up early for the plunge. During intermission, before I left, I bought Arooj Aftab's CD, she signed it, and we took a picture together. We talked for a bit. I told her how much I loved her singing and I tried to see if I could make out what she was saying. Urdu has some similarities to Arabic and I could understand some of the spiritual (Sufi) concepts from books I have read.  She was such an awesome woman.

There was just something about the performance that made me feel great. It brought back wonderful memories of traveling to these types of events for my Arabic class. I felt like I wanted to belly dance and just something about her music touched my spiritual core. I felt good during the performance.

Before I left, I met the other singer that was with her. She's from Jordan and is strictly an Arabic singer. I guess one of the women I was sitting with told her my interest because she knew right away. She said, "you should come see me perform! I perform mostly in Arabic." She gave me her card. We started talking about art, Arabic, and I mentioned I was writing a book. Her friend is a writer and we exchanged cards as well. I added her on Wesley's Facebook profile. They both want to check out my book when it was done. I felt like I was in my element and it felt good. I can't wait to listen to Arooj's CD and I can't wait to upload it to my iPod.


  1. Sounds like a wonderful evening. You have a gift for making friends with strangers.

    1. I've started to notice that. I consider myself an introvert, but I can make friends... I just prefer a small group.

      The night was amazing! I really enjoyed myself. :)