Laura Jahanara Mangus doesn't feel like a musician. No, really.

Never mind that her piece "ABWOON, Call to Prayer" -- a haunting rendition of "The Lord's Prayer" in the ancient Aramaic tongue spoken by Jesus -- is featured in the soundtrack to Ben Affleck's Oscar-nominated film, "Argo."

Though raised in Denver, Mangus has deep local roots, with great-grandparents who lived in Louisville and Boulder. She herself has lived in Boulder "off and on since 1989," a time of searching.

"I'd done every kind of spiritual workshop, explored every path," says Mangus, 46. "I thought I'd come back to Boulder and go to Naropa (University). I thought, 'I really like Buddhism and meditating. What the heck?' "

What she didn't expect was to be mesmerized by Aramaic when she encountered it while researching a paper. At the time, her sister was working at Boulder's Sounds True, a multimedia publishing company, which had just hosted Neil Douglas-Klotz, an Aramaic scholar and teacher of Sufism. (Though commonly understood as a mystical branch of Islam, the practice's origins are actually much older.)

"He is the one who really brought the Aramaic of Jesus to the public," she says.

Although Mangus had no musical background, on her first day of meditating at her teacher's retreat space in Edinburgh, Scotland, a melody began to come to her -- very slowly, trickling in a little bit at a time. Douglas-Klotz told Mangus that this was her work. All told, it took her about nine months to get the piece just right.

"I wanted to be able to sing the prayer just like an Imam would sing in Arabic," she says. The song begins with the pastoral tinkling of antique bells borrowed from Immersive Studio in Boulder, where she recorded the piece. The mesmerizing drone of a human chorus serves as the canvas upon which she layers her lyrics.

"I wanted to evoke the land and the sense of the people living on the land, being called to prayer like animals being called into a barn," she says.

The song eventually was included on an album, "Aramaic Sound Pilgrimage -- Holy Wanderings in the Ecstatic," and its discovery by the music editor hired by Affleck was a matter of more than a little serendipity.

Mangus had entertained offers to use the piece in other films, but the approaches felt out of sync with the spirit of her work. She was sitting in the Albuquerque, N.M., airport one day wondering if a better offer might come along when she received an auspicious email.

The editor "formally asked if they could use the music," she says. "It was a totally different feel."

In "Argo," based on a true story, Affleck plays a CIA agent posing as the producer of a low-budget science-fiction movie to spirit a group of Americans out of Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis.

Mangus' piece ended up serving as the backdrop for a tense, quiet scene in which Affleck's character is alone in his hotel room on the night before his harrowing scheme is to begin.

The producers had called that section of the film "a call to prayer," and when they Googled those words, they found Mangus' musical meditation.

"It was a needle in a haystack," she says.

Nonetheless, it got her name stitched to a successful project.

"Argo" has been nominated for seven Oscars -- Best Picture, Best Original Score (Alexandre Desplat), Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Supporting Actor (Alan Arkin), Best Film Editing and Best Adapted Screenplay. At the Golden Globe Awards last Sunday, "Argo" won two awards -- Best Motion Picture/Drama and Best Director (Affleck).

Mangus is busy these days in Boulder, working in a women's choir that helps dying people, making and sewing Mongolian felt and teaching Aramaic. She is a Sufi who often participates in the Dance of Universal Piece and has written a piece for the Beatitudes -- from the Sermon on the Mount in the New Testament -- in Aramaic.

"Much of what I do is leading people in experiences," Mangus says. "But there is so much to learn and so much more music inside me . . . I am in love with the holy in the ground."