Who is Najma, and what did she contribute to music?

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Najma Akhtar was born in Britain and is an actor, songwriter, and vocalist. She grew up absorbed in all things Bollywood, the entertainment industry of India. The music and showmanship of Bollywood always fascinated her, and she began to sing as a hobby.

In college she studied for a degree in chemical engineering; she also entered a UK music contest at the urging of her family and friends. As a result, she got to record a solo album which proved to be the launching of her musical career. The album was recorded in India and was a mixture of Bollywood pop music as well as the light music of India and Pakistan. 

Since that album, she has recorded many more, both solo efforts and collaborations with creative and unique international musicians, and her work has been highly acclaimed for its originality.

Najma is a self-taught musician, and she is always looking for new sounds to inspire her. Her music exhibits elements of blues, classical Indian, folk, jazz and semi-classical music. In 2009, she introduced a new element to her music in the form of psychedelic sound. Her music is eclectic and unique, making Najma one of the most celebrated young musicians in the world. She has received acclaim from many sources, including The Rolling Stones magazine, MTV and a wide variety of celebrated musicians.

Her concerts and personal appearances are always well received by her audiences, and she has participated in nearly every significant international music festival in the world.

She has

achieved a place in “World Music” history. Her music and work has been recognised and acknowledged as pioneering, as she has been the first person to create a new musical genre, using subtle jazz arrangements, vocal harmonies, vocal counterpoints and other nuances with the traditional South Asian vocal ‘Ghazal’ style....

Her music is haunting and memorable and would be significant even if it were not groundbreaking in its content and style. Najma offers something the world has never seen or experienced, and her music continues to grow and change in the best of ways. 

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