…ka spoojmai shwa poh hala ke… (که سپوژمې شوه پا هله کی)
for string quartet
Written for the Vaughan String Quartet for the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity Evolution: Quartet in summer 2022.
The title, ‘…ka spoojmai shwa poh hāla ke’, comes from a longer poem written by the medieval Pashtun Sufi poet Abdul Hamid Baba. The line roughly translates to ‘like the halo around the moon’ and in the context of the poem is a simile the narrator uses to describe the newly grown beard stubble framing the face of her lover — a sign of their love’s maturity reflected in nature. This piece falls in a line of recent projects that have been in service of uncovering, deconstructing, and reinventing my relationship with my cultural heritage as a queer Afghan-American man. Musically, the piece seeks to aestheticize the boundaries of the unknown, find beauty in the shadows of the sound and the rub between sonorities rather than in the rhetoric of the sonorities themselves. The piece is night music or a nocturne in that sense, not with a sense of fear and trepidation, but rather acceptance and discovery of the darkness, halo, and fog.