I can’t tell everyone how excited I am to be posting this right now! About six years ago, Ine (pronounced ‘eeeneh’), who’s been like a little sister to me for the longest time, and who was one of the members of the Baha’i-inspired Pacific Island group I spent a good decade working with called MANA, decided to write an album based on the Baha’i Writings.
Originally from the Cook Islands and currently living in Sydney, Australia, Ine is one of those people who’s never really had any formal music training, but she can pick up a guitar, or get behind a keyboard, and start jamming. Her hip-hop producer husband, Navid B, is just the same, and so when the three of us got together to make this album happen, we wanted to make sure that Ine’s talent for catchy melodies was coupled with fat beats that really kick, but in a way that still felt somewhat meditative.
Fast forward six years: after a wedding, two children, dozens of trips to Sydney, and countless nights on Skype reworking each hi-hat and kick drum, Ine, Navid B, and I, have finally released Ine’s album called Listen, where the Baha’i Writings are put to catchy tunes. I have to admit that it’s a little weird to be conducting this interview with Ine after being so intertwined with this album, but I’m so excited about its release and I wanted to let everyone know as soon as possible, so here we go!
Baha’i Blog: Okay Ine, can you tell the readers a little bit about the album and why you decided to do this?
Initially it was a Junior Youth project I started back in 2009 when attending a Junior Youth camp in Yerrinbool, Australia. As one of the facilitators at this camp, I was asked to teach a song to a small group of Junior Youth, so thinking I’d teach them something new, I sat in a room alone with my guitar, I opened a prayer book and saw “I am a Child of Tender Years” – Perfect! So I quickly put the words to music and soon fell in love once the JY group learnt it – very quickly I must add. By the end of the camp, everyone had learnt the song including the facilitators – which I had filmed and posted on YouTube. The room was filled with happiness and unity as everyone sang, and it was this moment that made me realise what I wanted to do. After the camp I came home and started almost immediately with the help of my husband, to produce more songs for a JY album. Although we had all the songs ready, it was harder than I thought to practically get JYs together, so I decided to go solo though a huge part of me will always think of it as my JY project.
Baha’i Blog: What kind of effect do you hope this album will have on its listeners?
I hope it will affect listeners in a positive way. The Baha’i Writings themselves are beautiful and powerful, and I think putting them to music not only makes it more beautiful, but more accessible to everyone around the world. As Baha’is we can use it as a tool to teach others but also simply just listen to and enjoy. I hope that people will love the album as much as I did making it. It has been a very long journey, a lot of hard work from all who were involved in the project since day one.
Baha’i Blog: You were also one of the members of MANA, and you produced their last album based on Ruhi book 6 called ‘Teaching the Cause’. How has your experience with MANA helped you both on your musical journey, and personally as well?
I would say that being apart of MANA has played a huge part in how I have lived my life so far and it has motivated me to pursue my music. We toured around Australia and also overseas, and performing on these journeys I was able to make many friends from all parts of the world. Our bond as a group not only grew, but we also grew stronger as individuals. We learnt to love and appreciate music even more and gained confidence while performing in front of small and large crowds. One of the best parts of this journey was the overwhelming positive feedback from all around the world saying how uplifting and enjoyable our music has been, and also how it not only helped people memorise the quotes in the Ruhi books, but it was a great teaching tool to reach out to others who haven’t heard about the Baha’i Faith. That always made me happy to hear.
Baha’i Blog: You’re originally from the Cook Islands. Do you think this heritage has influenced you musically?
I have definitely grown to love music from a very young age due to my cultural background as well as being brought up in a musical family. I owe it all to my granddad, “Papa Ta”, who encouraged, inspired and hoped that music would continue in our family, which it has. I’m sure it’s also in our blood to have some musical talent! “If you don’t want to sing, pick up the guitar”, was something my granddad would definitely say.
Baha’i Blog: The lyrics of all of the songs are taken from the Holy Writings of the Baha’i Faith, but what style of music were you trying to achieve?
I like all genres of music, but I listen more to Soul and RnB and sometimes hip-hop. So with the album you can hear a mix of genres in there. I guess what I really aimed to do though, was produce something that would appeal to a wide range of age groups, and the wider community. There’s a bit of a softness or mellowness to it, but also a bit of a kick and “oomph”. I don’t know, but if just one person likes it and it affects them in a positive way, then that’s good enough for me I guess.
Baha’i Blog: Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview, Ine. I’m so glad we’ve finally finished this album and I’m excited about what’s coming next!
You can listen to and purchase both a physical copy or a digital download of Ine’s album Listen here.
You can also watch Ine singing the song “Listen” on Baha’i Blog’s Studio Session here: Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions: “Listen” by Ine.