Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, & Shahzad Ismaily Announce New Album With “To Remain/To Return”

Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, Shahzad Ismaily

Grammy-award winning singer and composer Arooj Aftab, together with talented musicians Vijay Iyer and Shahzad Ismaily, drops the lead single of the upcoming album Love in Exile. The song is called “To Remain/To Return” and comes off the record that is to be released on March 24 via Verve. 

The trio also confirmed a tour that will kick off in Knoxville, Tennessee, at Big Ears Music Festival, on March 31. Aftab, Iyer, and Ismaily had first united together for a surprise performance in NY in 2018. 

Speaking of their collaboration, Iyer says: “Our music is a process. This fragment of ‘To Remain/To Return’ reveals not just the melody but the birth of a song. I hear Shahzad and myself establishing these haunted cycles, then slowly and delicately transforming them, as Arooj glides across like a dark moon.”

Aftab also reveals, “This piece holds, at its core, the delicately unfolding emotion of separation anxiety induced fury (see: love, self exile) between two people who are deeply connected. One is leaving and the other is asking them to stay. The former is saying ‘I will leave but I will also return’; in better form for the both of us.”

Meanwhile, Ismaily adds,  “We all provide the best we can. In my case it’s Euclidean rhythms, crystals to hold the oceanic beauty of Vijay’s keys and the silent raven of Arooj’s voice. We grow to the company that we keep; I am both fortunate and grateful.”

Arooj Aftab last performed “Udhero Na” with Anoushka Shankar at the 2023 Grammy Awards. The 37 year old has won a Grammy for Best Global Music Performance for “Mohabbat,” which comes off her 2021 album, Vulture Prince.

See the full tracklist of  Love in Exile below:

01 To Remain/To Return 

02 Haseen Thi 

03 Shadow Forces 

04 Sajni 

05 Eyes of the Endless 

06 Sharabi 

07 To Remain/To Return (Excerpt)

Watch the visualizer for “To Remain/To Return” below: