June 18, 2023 will mark 40 years since 10 Baha’i women were hanged in Shiraz. Their only ‘crime’ was their refusal to renounce their beliefs in a faith that promotes the principles of gender equality, unity, justice, and truthfulness. This collection highlights Baha’i Blog content relating to the ongoing persecution of Baha’is in Iran.
When I heard Heart to Heart’s album, Inspired By, I felt that it was a musical expression of Baha’u’llah’s words “the earth is but one country and mankind its citizen”. Its global and diverse sounds are genuine and a credit to the band’s name. Thankfully the Baha’i community is so interconnected that, with the help of the internet, it was easy to find out more about this musical collaboration. I was able to hear from Alex Christensen about this multi-cultural, rich, and heartfelt album. Here’s what he shared with me:
Baha’i Blog: Could you please tell us who is involved in Heart to Heart?
Heart to Heart is a collective of artists living in the Vancouver area who are learning to create music inspired by their own stories and their involvement in community building efforts. For this album, the artists involved were three brothers: Eric, Alex, and Dan Christensen.
Baha’i Blog: What was the inspiration behind the album?
This album was inspired by the Baha’i Faith, the people we’ve met, and the places we’ve lived, and was driven by our love for creating music. It was developed and nurtured in our living room, and was recorded in our spare time at a local public library.
Baha’i Blog: Could you tell us a little about the opening prayer on the album?
“Sifi Pou Mwen” is a prayer we used to sing as children in Les Cayes, Haiti. Our adaptation includes an English version of the prayer and accompanying drums.
Baha’i Blog: What is the story behind the two-part song “The Pupil of the Eye”?
Having grown up in numerous countries on the African continent, these two pieces were inspired by the struggles, the strength, the resiliency and the hope that are embodied by many of the souls we encountered. The title comes from a few quotes where Abdu’l-Baha refers to people of African descent as the pupil of the eye.
Baha’i Blog: The album features such an awesome diversity of sounds and feels very global. Could you tell us a little bit about that?
The primary genre of this album is rap, but the global sound comes from the many styles of music we grew up listening to, such as soukous, kompa, Coupé-Décalé, and Afrobeats. We enjoyed bringing these different styles together within the same song, such as in “We Call It Home” which features rap lyrics on a soukous beat.
Baha’i Blog: Thank you so much for sharing this with us! You can find ‘Inspired By’ here on Spotify, Soundcloud, and iTunes. Happy listening!
In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a stay-at-home parent and a bookworm with a maxed out library card but professionally she is a museologist with a background in English Literature. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.